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PAGE COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — Last week, 79-year-old Vincent J. “Buddy” Comer passed away, and for a man who has done so much for the community, friends and family say he will never be forgotten. This week, Comer’s family is going through old memories at his home in the town of Shenandoah. The center of his house is filled with photos and mementos from over Comer’s coaching and teaching career. “This is like I said what we call the trophy room, the man cave, it’s a little bit of everything,” Mark Comer, Comer’s son, said. Mark and his dad were the first father and son pair to win state championships in Virginia, photos of that moment, other awards, jerseys, and even pictures of his grandkids are proudly on display. Mark said other than loving his family, his dad had no greater passion than nurturing future athletes. At one time, Comer played minor league baseball for the Washington Senators in the 60s. He would later become a coach for Bridgewater College, and even coach a state championship-winning basketball team for Luray High School in 1971. Fifty years later, Comer would still talk to one of his star players, Bobby Brown, who lives in Luray. “Coach Comer was already a legend at Page County High School,” Brown said. “When coach Comer came to Luray, we just couldn’t believe it, I mean it was just unspoken but he was a caring coach.” The two are still the best of friends, even checking in on each other during the pandemic, and sharing memories from the past. “Have you taken that vaccine shot yet?’ I said, ‘yes I took the first one, but I’m scared to take the second one,’” Brown said. “Coach said, ‘you make sure you do that because this is important.’” Brown said while Comer did so much for other schools, his heart will always be with Page County High School, where he was even a driver’s ed teacher up until last week. Thirty years after his first state championship, Comer brought home the 2001 Boys Track state title for the Panthers. Comer went to Shenandoah High School, the now Shenandoah Elementary School, but his brother was a graduate of the first class at Page County High School. Serving as the president of the Shenandoah High School alumni group for many years, Comer still bleeds blue and white. “I played for him in the early 80s, and even through 2021, he is still involved with kids at Page County High School and that’s a remarkable career,” Keith Cubbage, athletic director for PCHS, said. While the game clock may have run out of time, Buddy Comer will always be known as a legend. “Every one of us who Coach Comer had an impact on, I think it’s important we say thank you,” Cubbage said. Not just as a coach or teacher, but as a friend. “Oh, he will always be my coach. I’ll always be one of his players. But the main thing is that he was one of my best friends,” Brown said. “I know I can speak for the girls because all three of us are proud to be his kids, Buddy’s kids,” Mark said. A celebration of life for Comer will be held for the public on Saturday, April 17 at the Page County High School football field at 2 p.m.
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WEYERS CAVE, Va. (WHSV) — The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Virginia State Police are investigating a small airplane crash that happened near the Shenandoah Valley Airport (SHD) Monday night. The Federal Aviation Administration conducted its preliminary investigation Tuesday. Officials said a single-engine Piper Cherokee crashed while the pilot was trying to land at the airport around 7:20 p.m. Monday, April 12. Virginia State Police say the plane was conducting touch-and-go landings at the time. Two passengers were on board. Police say as the aircraft was attempting to land, the pilot’s controls became unresponsive, which caused the plane to drift left and catch a tree limb. The aircraft then struck several trees just outside the airport property. The plane will be removed and go to the NTSB for further investigation. State police said Monday night that the pilot, a 17-year-old male from Romney, W.Va., was transported to UVA Medical Center for treatment of serious, but non-life-threatening, injuries; and a juvenile male passenger was transported to Sentara RMH for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. The NTSB says it typically takes 12 to 24 months for a complete and thorough investigation to be done, but a preliminary report will be available soon.
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — As part of a state mandate, the City of Harrisonburg Electoral Board tested the accuracy of voting machines on Tuesday to make sure they are ready for the democratic primaries. Director of Elections Mark Finks says they are testing the machines earlier than normal because early voting starts April 23 for the June 8 election. Two of the machines tested will be run in the City Hall precinct. To test the machines, a test stack of pre-marked paper ballots are run through the machine. Officials then make sure the votes were counted correctly. The board of elections members then sign off the machines that are working.
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Local health officials are prepared for some people to be more hesitant about getting their COVID-19 vaccine after the vaccines by Johnson and Johnson were suspended this week. As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced it will cease all Johnson & Johnson vaccine distribution until this investigation is complete. Laura Lee Wight with the Central Shenandoah Health District said just because the J&J vaccine distribution paused, you should not turn away from the Moderna and Pfizer shots if they are made available to you. “We really need to make sure people get the vaccine when they’re eligible for it and as soon as possible because that’s how we’re going to get through this pandemic,” Wight said. “Especially if we want to really avoid a devastating fourth surge.” Wight said if you are worried about which vaccine to get call this number 1 (877) VAX-IN-VA, or speak with your doctor. Upcoming Virtual Town Hall Events are also coming up in English and Spanish where your questions about the COVID-19 vaccine can be answered by health experts.