I have lived in West Virginia my entire life-- I was born in Huntington and raised in Williamson. Even when I went away to get my Bachelor’s degree, I chose to stay in-state to attend Glenville State College (a decision I’m glad I made). For 21 years, I’ve heard all kinds of negative stereotypes about my home state. Not one of them is true-- West Virginia is a beautiful state with a rich history and culture, and I am proud that I have spent my life right here.
Nature and History
West Virginia has been a state since 1863, and is notable for being the only state formed by seceding from a Confederate state. In the years since, we’ve been the home of the mine wars and the Hatfield-McCoy feud, both of which occurred near my hometown. Our history is unique and full of passionate folks from all walks of life, and it is a privilege to walk among the same hills they did.
Our mountains, the subject of so many songs and poems, shape so much of what West Virginia is to me. Our history, our culture, and our people are inseparable from the mountains that surround us. I have grown up surrounded by natural beauty-- beauty that I believe is among the finest in the world. (Though some folks might say I’m biased)
A Belief in a Better World
What I love most about West Virginia is our people and the culture we have created. Whether it’s the folk and bluegrass musicians that call the Mountain State home, or the artists and craftsmen who make our world more beautiful, I think every song, book, or piece of art that comes out of this state bears the mark of our surroundings. It’s not the art that makes us special, though-- nor is it the Appalachian manners or home cooking. To me, what makes West Virginia so special is the belief our residents have in creating a better world. We look at the world and see all of the things it can be, and then we try and make it that way.
No matter what I do with my life or where I go in my future, I am proud to be from West Virginia, and I will always carry love for it in my heart.