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Halifax Courthouse nearly ready to welcome back courts

Renovations to Halifax County’s courthouse are nearly complete, setting the stage for court activities to move back into the historic facility in late March.

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New book celebrates life of Jerome Kersey

South Boston News
Jerome Kersey skies to the rim for the Portland Trail Blazers. / December 23, 2020
“Overcoming the Odds: How Jerome Kersey Blazed a Trail from Clarksville, Va., to the NBA” is the working title of a book about one of Bluestone High School’s most famous graduates.

While it may be a little long for a book cover, it certainly captures the story of Jerome Kersey, a Clarksville native, Longwood University graduate and 17-year NBA standout.

Scheduled for completion next fall, the book will be a tribute and celebration of his life. Kersey, who was born in Mecklenburg County on June 26, 1962, died on Feb. 18, 2015 at 52 due to complications from a blood clot.

Book sale proceeds will go to the JK 25 Foundation, a non-profit organization that serves the dental needs of children in the greater Portland community, and the Jerome Kersey 54 Scholarship Fund at Longwood University.

The author is Kerry Eggers, a veteran sports journalist from Portland Oregon, who covered the Trail Blazers for The Oregonian and Portland Tribune before retiring this year. Eggers, who started his journalism career in 1975, has written numerous books on the Blazers, including a biography on NBA All-Star Clyde Drexler.

“This is a project of the heart for me,” Eggers says. “Jerome was one of my favorite guys to cover, both as a player and a person, through 45 years in the business. It’s been a pleasure to tackle this project of telling the story of his life and career.”

Former teammate Terry Porter — now head coach at the University of Portland — wrote the book’s foreword.

“Terry and Jerome came to the Blazers a year apart, both from small colleges, and they were kindred spirits,” Eggers says. “They were teammates for 10 years. Terry couldn’t have been more pleased to write a tribute to one of his closest friends.”

Dementi Milestone Publishing of Manakin-Sabot, near Richmond, is the publisher. Wayne Dementi and his staff have published over 200 books including works on Secretariat and major league baseball player Justin Verlander. Currently, he is working on a book about tennis legend Arthur Ashe. Wayne will coordinate the book design, marketing, and overall project management.

“Jerome Kersey is such a respected athlete. We anticipate a huge fan-based interest in this book. Therefore, we are arranging for it to be available throughout the national marketplace, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble and the independent bookstores,” stated Dementi. “We are also planning for book tours, featuring author Kerry Eggers, in selected Virginia markets and around Portland when the book is released,” he added.

The project is financed by Hoke Currie, who was the Longwood College sports information director from 1979-1997. As one of Jerome’s biggest fans and supporters at Longwood, Currie wanted to ensure that Kersey’s reputation of hard work and a kind demeanor lived on for generations.

“In my 35 years as a sportswriter and sports information director, Jerome was the greatest and hardest-working athlete that I came to know,” said Currie. “The story of how he advanced from Longwood College to the NBA is one for the ages.”

Working with Hoke, Wayne and Kerry is Rohn Brown, a 1984 Longwood College graduate. Brown, who lives in Mechanicsville, was a student assistant for Currie at Longwood during the Kersey years.

“Hoke started this project in the ‘90s and it was important to me to help him finish it off,” said Brown. “In my preliminary discussions with the staff at Bluestone (High School), his former coaches, and members of the community, you can’t help but get even more excited about sharing Jerome’s story.

“It was very important for us to have an author who covered Jerome in Portland,” said Brown. “Kerry has a long-standing reputation and following. And it is a real bonus that he knew Jerome personally. He will bring a lot of perspective and insight for our Virginia readers that don’t really appreciate how Jerome was admired in Portland.

“Plus, Kerry has written high profile books before and has been through this process,” Brown added. “That experience is extremely helpful.

“We have an experienced team and are excited about sharing Jerome’s story with the East and the West Coasts.”

The team is working in coordination with Jerome’s cousin, Clifton Kersey Jr. Known by most as Junnie, he is also a 1980 Bluestone graduate where he starred in basketball, football, and track. Junnie also enjoyed a stellar career on the gridiron at North Carolina Central University where he still ranks seven in career rushing yards.

“It has been a pleasure getting to know Junnie and to understand and appreciate their bond,” added Brown. “In looking back when Jerome and Junnie were growing up, it was Junnie, who was the outstanding athlete. Jerome had a late growth spurt, even after he graduated from Bluestone. Both had outstanding careers in college.”

Eggers is planning a trip to Virginia in March to interview Junnie, former coaches, and members of the Clarksville community that knew Jerome.

A book promotional schedule will be coming out closer to the fall with plans for at least one event in the Clarksville area.

For more information about the book, please contact Brown at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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