Sunday, April 28, 2019

            “Dave Schafer is the epitome of giving back and paying forward.”
            Those were the words of OVAC Executive Director Thomas E. Rataiczak when describing one of the behind the scenes heroes of the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference, and for what he means to the Conference,    Schafer has been selected as the 2019 recipient of the OVAC Dennis Magruder Distinguished Service Award by the OVAC Hall of Fame Selection Committee.
            He will be honored at this year’s 16th OVAC Hall of Fame Banquet on Saturday, Aug. 17 at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling.
        Schafer was a charter member of the OVAC Boosters, helping to raise money to benefit scholarships and OVAC programs.  Through the connections he had developed over the years, his support was immeasurable to the Conference.
         “I got to know ‘Schaf’ when I took over this job in 1999,” recalled Rataiczak.  “He wanted to become involved in the OVAC because, as he said, ‘the Conference had such a positive impact on my kids growing up and competing. They had wonderful experiences in the championships and all-star games, and I just want to give back to the Conference.’”
              He’s also become the “weather guru” of the OVAC.
           “From my perspective, the thing I lean on him more than anything is his knowledge of weather and road conditions,” said Rataiczak.   “Hosting events at WesBanco Arena and Ohio University Eastern during the winter months, I am in constant touch with him to find out the shape of the roads so we can get our athletes safely to and from each event.
            “I've found his ‘predictions’ to be spot on and much more dependable than a lot of weather services,” he added.   “When roads are bad in Belmont County, they're horrible elsewhere, because he and his crew do a fantastic job in keeping the highways clean and safe.”
            Schafer is a 1974 graduate of Union Local High School who received an Associate Degree in Engineering at Belmont Technical School.   He worked four years for Tri-State Asphalt and 15 years for RY&F Coal before joining the Ohio Department of Transportation in 1993 working out of Harrison County.   He transferred to Belmont County ODOT in 1995 and became the Transportation Administrator in 1997, a position he still holds today.
            He was an integral part of the Union Local Athletic Boosters, helping athletes in all sports, until it disbanded.
             Schafer resides in Bethesda with his wife, Teresa.   They have three children: Justin, Jeremy, and Andrea, and four grandchildren.
            Past recipients of the OVAC’s Distinguished Service Award include Denny Magruder (2010), Bob Robinson (2011), Carpenters Local #3 of Wheeling (2012), Judge Frank Fregiato (2013), WesBanco Arena Maintenance Staff (2014), Ohio University Eastern (2015); Oglebay Park (2016); Mickey Duffy (2017); and Ron Miller (2018).

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