Sep 29, 2013

Stegall roasted, ‘takes one’ for the Park District

GREENVILLE – “Mike had to go outside of Darke County to find a wife… thank you, Rose. Thank you so much for taking one for the team!”

Some may have considered that mild compared to a few other comments offered by longtime ‘friend’ Becky James. She took her shots at Darke County Commissioner Mike Stegall in a roast to benefit the Citizens for Darke County Parks on Sept. 19. For instance…

“I’ve known Mike since 1972. I was a sophomore. Mike was a senior. Again.” And from her daughters…

“Mom, is there something wrong with Uncle Mike?” asked her 9-year-old daughter. “Is he like what they call brain damaged?” And…

“Mike has impressed some of the greatest psychiatric minds in the country. In a book covering psychiatric disorders, there is one chapter devoted exclusively to Mike. It’s called Stegalism. There’s a picture of him with shades and pieces of ham up his nose, dancing and singing ‘Sundown.’ Not much written except to say there is no known cure. Be afraid. Very afraid, and most of all, pray.”

For a little over an hour, Stegall sat quietly (except when he couldn’t control his laughter) as about 60 people were treated to an unusual event: people telling stories about him that had everyone laughing, and he wasn’t allowed to say a word in response.

James had other words to say about Stegall… many words… including a comment for those who don’t like crowds.

“When you hang out with Mike, you are almost guaranteed privacy.” She recalled incidents where they would be seated in a far corner of a restaurant, be alone in a swimming pool… even on the golf course.

Randy Breaden started the evening’s festivities at J&J Enterprises Party Facility by crowning Stegall and Rose as the Duke and Duchess of Peterhead, Ireland.

“Not only do you have a commissioner, you have a commissioner who comes from royalty.” The crown was placed on Stegall’s head, presenting an interesting contrast to the tuxedo supplied by Pamela’s Intimates in Greenville.

“He looks like a fat leprechaun,” a public servant said earlier when she saw him in his specially prepared tux.

Breaden then talked about Stegall’s campaign for Darke County Commissioner.

“We decided we had a mediocre candidate. Even worse, he would open his mouth and say something stupid. He’s loud, obnoxious and has a mouth that won’t quit.”

Breaden then noted Stegall – fortunately – had an excellent campaign manager in Betsy Ward. “We decided,” he added, “that when it looks like he’s about to say something stupid we give him a Twix bar…

“Here Mike, have a Twix.”

Breaden offered Stegall several Twix bars before he was finished.

Dave Ernst said Stegall was a great golfer.

“Mike is the only one I know who can talk during his swing… during my swing… during everyone else’s swing. And he never misses an eight-foot putt. In fact he’s so good, he doesn’t even try them anymore.” He takes the ‘gimme.’

Ernst also wondered if they were doing Darke County a favor by voting him into office…

“I mean he’s such a giving man – time, loyalty, friendship… opinion. Everyone in the (Greenville) township voted for him to get him the hell out of there!” Stegall was at the time a Greenville Township Trustee.

When the event started Breaden, Ernst and James were the only three roasters scheduled. Before the evening was over Bonnie Smith, Don Lockhart and Julie Poeppelman had a few words to say. Master of Ceremonies Marc Saluk also took a few shots.

The roast was a fundraising event for the Citizens for Darke County Parks to support the levy in November. According to committee treasurer, Mary Gray Kinnison, it grossed over $700 that will be used to promote the levy.

Music was provided by Lockhart while the chair/throne Stegall sat in was provided by Denny’s Furniture Stripping. Attendees signed a caricature drawn by Paul Ackley. Eileen Litchfield represented the host levy committee.

At the end of the evening Stegall was allowed a closing comment.

“You can tell the quality of a man’s life by the friends he keeps… my life sucks!” He laughed. “We’ve had a lot of fun tonight. I’m grateful for all my good friends.”
Left to right: Julie Poeppelman, Becky James, Randy Breaden, Mike Stegall, Dave Earnst, Bonnie Smith and (hidden) Don Lockhart. Roasters took shots at Stegall in a fundraiser for the Citizens for Darke County Parks in support of the November levy. (Bob Robinson photo)

The only time Mike Stegall was allowed to open his mouth during the roast Sept. 19 was when he laughed, which was often. (Bob Robinson photo)


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