LOGAN, WV (WOWK) — The Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College (SWVCTC) community is mourning the loss of one of their own this week after a much-beloved professor died in a traffic accident.
Students and faculty tell 13 News Professor Charles “Chuck” Puckett loved his job, his students and his school. They say it is a sad and somber day as they remember his legacy here.
“I was in shock, like I still am. It doesn’t seem real,” says Trinity Dotson, a former student of Professor Puckett’s.
“This has broken my heart,” says Dr. Pamela Alderman, president of SWVCTC.
These are just a few of the many people at SWVCTC who are mourning this loss.
According to the Logan County Sheriff’s Department, deputies made contact with Puckett around 7:00 p.m. Saturday evening on Route 10 after other drivers had called in reporting erratic driving.
Chief Deputy Mike Lafauci says he was having some type of medical emergency and crashed into the concrete median on US-119. He says he was airlifted to a hospital in Charleston, where he later passed. Puckett was 51 years old.
Now, those who knew and loved him are left to remember a man who they called a great —and person.
“Anytime you were talking to Chuck Puckett, students was mentioned numerous times, because that was number one to him,” says Bill Alderman, professor of business administration and entrepreneurship at SWVCTC.
“He really enjoyed teaching—you could tell he had a lot of knowledge and he liked to share it…His absence is definitely going to leave a void here at Southern,” says Lisa Bryant, a former student of Professor Puckett’s.
Puckett worked at the college for 22 and a half years. He was an assistant professor of biology, chaired the American College Foundation and the faculty senate, and is remembered as always serving the school and his community.
“I don’t know how many probably thousands, two thousand, three thousand students that have taken his classes over the last 22 and a half years; now they’re doctors and dentists and nurses, x-ray techs, everything,” Dr. Alderman says.
“It makes me very sad because I loved him. He was an excellent teacher,” says Anna Hensley, a former student of Professor Puckett’s.
“When you think of Southern, he’s one of those guys that you automatically think of cause this was his second home,” Dotson says.
Dr. Alderman says they have a group of counselors who will be available to meet with students and employees for guidance during this difficult time.
The college plans to have a memorial in the Savas Kostas Performing Arts Center later in the week.