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Updated: Youth Services System Names Tom Burgoyne 2021 Good SamaritanPosted 07/19/21
Updated July 19, 2021
Contact: Betsy Bethel-McFarland, email@example.com
WHEELING — Youth Services System officials has named former FBI agent and Ohio County Sheriff Tom Burgoyne the 2021 Good Samaritan.
In addition to his 39 years fighting crime and drugs, Burgoyne has volunteered as a coach, mentor and community leader, steering local teens away from destructive lifestyles. He credits his own childhood coaches for inspiring him to serve.
“Our Good Samaritan Tribute is all about honoring our hidden heroes for their dedicated hearts to serving others. Anyone who knows Tom will tell you he is one of the most humble people in this community. We are honored to have him as a part of our organization and to have him as our 2021 Good Samaritan. It’s people like him that make our mission possible,” said Terra Crews, YSS development director.
Burgoyne will be honored during the Good Samaritan Tribute Dinner on Thursday, Sept. 16. Current plans are to have a live, in-person event with a remote option.
On July 13, YSS planted and dedicated a red maple sapling in honor of Burgoyne on the grounds of its Samaritan House emergency shelter for boys on Eoff Street. Also as part of his award, Burgyone will be recognized as a Hometown Hero at the July 24 Boston Red Sox home game versus the New York Yankees.
YSS has chosen to honor a Good Samaritan every year since 2008 by hosting a dinner in celebration of the honoree’s remarkable work serving local children and families. Honorees have included founder and former YSS CEO Ronald C. Mulholland, former Oglebay Foundation chairman Randy Worls, former YWCA Wheeling executive director Susan Hogan, and Ziegenfelder Co. owners Barry and Lisa Allen and the Zieggy Tribe. Last year’s Good Samaritan, honored in a remote format because of the COVID pandemic, was Vineyard Church Pastor Chris Figaretti and his congregation.
Burgoyne, 79, was a standout athlete in Lancaster, Mass., a small town an hour outside Boston. He went on to graduate from Saint Anselm College in Massachussetts. He moved to Wheeling in 1967 to join the Wheeling FBI office after serving briefly in Miami and Pittsburgh. He met his wife Kathy here, and they settled in Dimmeydale and started a family. Despite offers to serve in Washington, D.C., he remained here because of Wheeling’s quality of life.
“I saw the sidewalk in front of our house in Dimmeydale and the ball field down the road. I was 10 minutes from the office. So I stayed.” He and Kathy raised three children, Erin, now of Martinsburg, W.Va., Tommy of Salt Lake City and Beth of Boston. He has seven grandchildren.
At the FBI, Burgoyne headed the local drug task force and helped bring mob boss Paul Hankish and many of his associates to justice. After retiring in 1996, he worked for Wheeling Jesuit University’s Office of Law Enforcement Technology Commercialization before running for Ohio County Sheriff. He served as sheriff two terms, from 2000-2008. Since then, he and former FBI agent Dick Ferda have teamed up as private investigators.
Throughout it all, Burgoyne has volunteered, coached and mentored local youth.
He coached boys’ baseball during his FBI rookie year in Miami and later helped create and coach the Dimmeydale Rockets baseball team, even before his children were born. He continued coaching Little League, and he also coached YMCA flag football and girls’ basketball for St. Michael Parish School.
He has been a central figure of Wheeling Central Catholic High School athletics, announcing for the basketball and football teams and serving as volunteer athletic director for two years. He still can be seen on the sidelines encouraging and motivating the football players.
“I’m kind of like a cheerleader. I know the players, and they know me,” he said, adding he was touched when the entire Central football team attended his wife’s funeral two years ago, as did the Wheeling University soccer team, on which his granddaughter plays.
While sheriff, Burgoyne started a program called SWEAT, which stands for Support Wheeling’s Effort Assisting Teens. It started with a handful of sixth-grade boys, whom he picked up every Saturday morning and took to mow lawns in Woodsdale and other neighborhoods “out the pike.” Afterward, he’d distribute their pay and take them to Dairy Queen. He helped them open savings accounts with their earnings. This went on every summer for many years.
“It was a plan because drugs were going strong, and we wanted to teach these kids there’s other ways to make money besides selling drugs,” he said.
He served as a role model for these boys and all the kids he coached. It was after a Dimmeydale Rockets game that he quit smoking cigarettes. His wife Kathy pointed out he was smoking a lot during games. He had tried unsuccessfully to quit.
“So one day, I got all the 8-year-old kids, including my own son, and I said come on, let’s go, Bring the shovel. I dug a hole behind home plate, took the pack of Marlboros out, threw them in the hole and covered it up, and that was it.”
Burgoyne has kept youth at the center of his service activities. He has been on the Central Board of Directors for more than 15 years and has been chair for the past three. He served on the YSS Board of Directors from 1988-2009, during which time Mulholland retired and Moses took the helm. One of his board duties was to help organize the first Celebrate Youth Festival at Wheeling Park. He is now a YSS Emeritus Board member.
He and his late wife ran the children’s games at the Sternwheel Festival at Heritage Port for many years, which is where he got to know local philanthropist and Sternwheel enthusiast Gary West. In 2010, he and West were instrumental in bringing the Drug Free Clubs of America program from the Cincinnati area to Ohio Valley high schools. He remains on that board of directors. He also serves on the Greater Wheeling Coalition for the Homeless board.
“Tom Burgoyne cares about kids and he cares about Wheeling. His life epitomizes the YSS mission, ‘creating better futures for children, families and our community,’” Betsy Bethel-McFarland, YSS communications director, said.
Dinners will be available for eat-in or carry-out, and the event will be livestreamed by West Liberty University's Topper Station. The in-person portion of the event will take place at the Wheeling Park Memorial Ice Rink.
To make a donation to Youth Services System in honor of Burgoyne, go to https://secure.givelively.org/donate/youth-services-system-inc/good-samaritan-2021-thomas-burgoyne
The Good Samaritan Tribute Dinner is sponsored by Fitzsimmons Law Firm and St. Michael Parish School.
About Youth Services System, Inc.
Youth Services System Inc.’s mission is “to create better futures for children, families and our community.” YSS is committed to responding to the complex needs of youth at serious risk. For 47 years, Youth Services System Inc. has reached thousands of youth and their families with our shelter, residential, community-based and professional services. Together with youth and their families, we work to improve their physical and emotional well-being, to address the debilitating effects of abuse, addiction, and trauma, and to build the skills and connections they need to be successful. Accredited by CARF International, YSS is supported by our volunteer Board of Directors, dedicated staff and faithful community, allowing us to make a measurable impact in the lives of youth and the most vulnerable members of our community. For more information, visit www.youthservicessystem.org.