Richard A. Smith, aka Champ, a retired Potomac State College employee who spends a few hours a day in the Underground playing pool with students, was robbed in front of the Underground of the Student Union Saturday, April 9. In 1992, he was recognized for holding the record for longest employment at PSC with 47 years of service.
Smith started his career at PSC in the kitchen after graduating high school in 1945. He worked for 13 cents an hour in the back before moving to the Student Union in 1963. He then became the custodian of the administration building. Finally, he became part of the security staff in 1977, a position he held until he retired.
Smith was named the recipient of the 1992 Distinguished Service Award at PSC from the Alumni Association and still holds an excellent rapport with students, one of the reasons why this comes as such a surprise.
Anonymous sources say that they saw two men in ski masks outside of the Underground push Smith down and run off with his wallet.
On the afternoon Champ was attacked, four police agencies in the area responded to the incident. No arrests have been made.
Students are concerned about safety and emergency communication. “Texts should be immediate and detailed,” said Zoe Lay. “I did not understand what was happening from what the text read.”
The text sent to PSC Students said, “(Strong Armed Robbery) Near Student Union. Suspects 2 blk males wearing blk jackets and ski masks. Seen going north on Quad Be alert, call 911.” No other information followed.
Campus Police Chief Brian Kerling addressed some of the concerns about
safety on campus. He states that although the campus has cameras, “none were pointed in the area where Champ was attacked.” Campus PD is working toward acquiring more cameras to benefit the community.
Kerling recommends several ways to keep safe. Students with smart phones can download and install the LIVESAFE application, provided free to all students. The app gives a direct connection to the Campus Police Department as well as the Mineral County Dispatch and customized circles of individuals.
Kerling also recommends students avoid dark areas, travel in groups if at all possible, and if they see something, say something-even if it seems mundane.