HUNTINGTON -- Geoff Carey isn't a Marshall graduate, but when he read about the Marshall Athletics Spring Fountain Celebration, he knew he had to bring his family on Saturday.
"I was a 16-year-old senior at Huntington High School when it happened," said Carey of Tryon, N.C.
He was home alone that weekend in 1970 when the phone started ringing off the hook. Authorities were looking for any doctor available to respond to the plane crash that took the lives of 75 people including most of Marshall's football team and coaching staff.
Carey's father, the late James "Pete" Carey was attending a West Virginia Mountaineer football game that weekend.
"I was just stunned," Carey said. "I grew up in Huntington. I knew a lot of those people. Dr. H.D. Proctor was our family doctor. I have never been to so many funerals. It was the only time I ever saw my dad cry."
More than 150 people attended the fountain celebration at the Marshall campus Saturday morning including Jack Lengyel, who coached the Young Thundering Herd after the plane crash.
The Memorial Fountain is turned off each year on the anniversary of the plane crash in the fall, and is turned back on in the spring. For the past two years, a ceremony has been conducted when the fountain is turned back on.
A number of alumni activities were planed for the weekend. The Green and White game was set for later in the day.
"I'm always honored to be at Marshall," Lengyel said. "We do this to remember those who went before us. For all of us gathered today, they'll continue to live in our memory forever."
Lucianne Kautz Call, a Marshall cheerleader whose father died in the crash, said Marshall made a difference in her life.
"How do you wish to be remembered," she said. "Set yourself on a course to be significant. Be passionate about Marshall."
Chris Crocker, who played football at Marshall from 1998-2002 and played for several teams in the NFL, including the Cincinnati Bengals, said he still bleeds green and white.
"Anytime I get a chance to come back to Marshall, I'm ready and willing," he said. "We are a tight-knit community. We're here to celebrate the 75 who lost their lives. This weekend is about transcendence and moving forward."
Larry Butcher, a 1966 Marshall graduate, made it back to the spring fountain celebration for the first time. The St. Mary's, W.Va., resident taught biology and coached track and cross country at St. Mary's High School. Butcher ran track and cross country at Marshall.
"The campus is a lot better," Butcher said. "It's really grown and improved. I support Marshall whole-heartedly. It was the centerpoint of my life for four years."
Dick and Julie Johnson of Bluefield, W.Va., came back for the Green and White game and were among those attending the fountain celebration.
"We come up a couple of times a year," said Dick Johnson, a 1974 graduate. "We're season ticket holders.
"I like to come back for the fountain closing celebration in the fall. They have held two of the spring fountain celebrations and we've made both of them."