It is difficult to describe the impact of the Hoppel family on our community. Some would describe them as rough-and-tumble, others as daredevils, but most people will agree, there are few families who can match their work ethic, aggressive spirit and athletic ability.
It all started when the oldest of five Hoppel boys, Herman, was caught in a fistfight outside Central School in the early fifties. Potter wrestling Coach Lou Venditti liked the aggressive spirit of the youngster and gave him the option of coming out for wrestling or going to the principal's office.
The choice was easy for Herman, and an Ohio High School wrestling legend was born. From that date and on to the next century, some 30 members of the Hoppel family competed, winning eight state championships and a host of other titles along the way.
But that is only part of the story. Raised on a farm in Calcutta by parents Everett and Lee Hoppel, who faithfully followed the escapades of their five sons, milking cows and delivering milk came first. When the "Big Snow" of 1950 hit the area, Everett would not be deterred in his effort to get to town with that day's product. With motorized vehicles ground to a halt, he hitched a team of horses to a wagon and off they went, Papee, the boys and the family dog making it to the Golden Star Dairy on Webber Way after several hours. Sadly, the milk was frozen, but a lesson in determination had been learned.
By 1952, the brothers had made an impact on the Ohio High School Wrestling Tournament. Herman was first to place in the State, then Daryl, then Dave, then Jim with two titles and Carl with three, always with their mother and dad cheering them on from a front row seat.
When it came time to construct the East Liverpool Alumni Clock Tower in the late 1980s, brother Jim told the committee that they had better contact Herman. It was the best advice anyone could give. Herman's knowledge of construction, his ability to motivate people and operate equipment helped convert an impossible task into a reality.
Everett and Lee would be proud, just as the Lou Holtz Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame is pleased, to present them with the 2007 Family Heritage Award at this year's event.