The Glenville State College Alumni Association has presented Mack Samples of Duck, West Virginia with their Community Service Award.
Samples is a 1964 GSC graduate and a widely-known square dance caller. He works tirelessly to promote and preserve Appalachian folk culture in song and dance by unselfishly giving his time to teach square dancing. He is also active in traditional music and continues a busy schedule with the Samples Brothers Band who tours the festival circuit. They have three CDs.
He and his wife Thelma (Wilson) Samples ‘64 are enthusiastic square dancers. He was presented with the Vandalia Award during the Vandalia Festival in 2003. The award is the state’s highest for preservation of traditional life in West Virginia. As a result, he was featured on the cover of the Spring 2004 edition of Goldenseal magazine.
Samples placed first in the old time banjo contest and fifth in the fiddle contest at the Vandalia Festival in 2006 and is very active in the West Virginia State Folk Festival. In addition to being a talented artist, musician, and educator, Samples is also a novelist. He has written nine books, the most recent entitled 32 Shots: The 1894 Shootout at Boggs, West Virginia. The book is a historical novel about one of West Virginia’s most notorious shootouts which took place in the small town of Boggs in Webster County.
The Samples’ have two children, Tracy and Grayson, who are both graduates of GSC, and two grandchildren. He received his award at the college’s annual Alumni Day on Saturday, April 27th. During the awards banquet, eight other GSC alumni were also honored.