Hall of Fame induction ceremony postponed until spring

August 20, 2020

NORTON – The J.I. Burton Hall of Fame induction ceremony has been postponed until the spring of next year.

The hall of fame announced this week that the executive board approved the unprecedented action to delay the ceremony until the spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In these extraordinary times, the Executive Board felt the need to delay the banquet for the induction of the 2020 Hall of Fame class,” Committee chairman Steve Childers said. “Hopefully, things will be better in the spring and we will be able to hold a banquet to properly recognize our inductees from the 2020 class.”

No specific date not site has been set yet for the banquet.

Four individuals were selected to the hall earlier this year.

The 2020 inductees include David Hill Jr., Dr. Preston “P. D.” Miller, Mark Neely and Dr. Kenny Stidham.

Hill is a 1960 graduate of Burton, where he played football for four years, basketball and baseball for two seasons and track for one year.

He was a captain on the Raiders’ football team his senior year and was an all-district and all-state guard in both his junior and senior years.

Hill is also a member of the 1958 District 8 championship team.

After high school, Hill went to Virginia Tech where he received a B.S. in aerospace engineering in 1965. He then received a M.S. in mechanical engineering in 1969 from the University of Tennessee Space Institute in Tullahoma, Tenn.

Hill has earned numerous awards and honors over his 55 years of technical and management experience in research and development and system engineering projects that include flight testing and ground testing projects with NASA and the U.S. Air Force among others.

Miller is a 1956 graduate of Burton, where he played football, and earned second-team All-District 8 honors as an end, behind the first-team selection of NFL great Carroll Dale, of J.J. Kelly.

Miller was also a member of the 1951 Norton Little League All-Star baseball team, which won the Virginia State Little League Championship.

After high school, Miller graduated from Davidson College in 1959 before earning his DDS from the Virginia Commonwealth school of dentistry in 1963 and his certificate in periodontics from Alabama in 1969.

Miller practiced dentistry for 45 years before beginning his teaching career in 2008 at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Renowned in his profession, Miller introduced the concept of periodontal plastic surgery to periodontics and was the first to present a graft procedure and a new recession classification, both which are universally accepted today.

He has published 32 scientific papers, contributed to four textbooks and has lectured to over 250 dental societies including Harvard, Columbia, Penn and internationally in Paris, Rome, Germany, Switzerland, Madrid, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Portugal, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico among many others.

Mark Neeley’s basketball jersey hangs in the hallway near Stan Wilson gymnasium at Burton.

Neeley’s basketball career led him to becoming the school’s all-time leading scorer at the time, but he was perhaps better known for his accolades on the football field.

He was three-sport star in football, basketball and baseball.

Neeley was an All-Lonesome Pine District, All-Region D and All-State in football, as well as being named to the All-Southwest Virginia team.

He was also All-LPD in basketball.

During his football career he set schools record for most career touchdowns as well as most receptions and most receiving yardage in a game.

After his 1980 graduation from Burton, Neeley went to ETSU, where he played wide receiver for the Buccaneers.

He graduated from ETSU with a criminal justice degree.

Neeley has worked in corrections and law enforcement for over 30 years.

He also has volunteered his time as a youth football basketball coach.

Stidham holds his doctorate in ministry from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in Lynchburg, Va.

Stidham, a 1973 graduate of Burton, was a member of the Raiders’ 1972 football team, the only football state championship team the school has had, as a running back and defensive back.

He also was a basketball star at Burton, where he helped the Raiders to a the LPD tournament championship in 1973.

Stidham was an All-LPD, All-LPD tournament and All-Wise County team pick.

He played basketball at Virginia-Wise, then known as Clinch Valley College from 1974-76.

Stidham received his B.S. degree in 1979 from ETSU and later earned his Master of Divinity in 1987 from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth before gaining his doctorate in 2011.

Since 1994, Stidham has served as the senior pastor of the Good Shepherd Baptist Church in Scott Depot, W. Va.