Martinsburg, West Virginia
Program Coordinator, One America West Virginia
1. You hail from Martinsburg, West Virginia. Tell us about your hometown.
A: There’s so many different things that I can say about Martinsburg as a city. I could talk about the fact that it’s historic, it’s also pretty small compared to most American cities with almost 18,000 people, and it’s one of the fastest growing cities in West Virginia. But Martinsburg to me is home, so in addition to those things, it’s so much more than that.
Martinsburg is the epitome of an American small town. Growing up, everyone knew everyone and seemingly everything about everyone – which can be considered a bad thing, but it can also be a very good thing. It felt like we were all connected in a way, almost like an extended family. We always looked out for one another, and I always knew — no matter where I went — that I had someone in my corner.
The people in Martinsburg offer a support system like no other. You see it from the dedicated fans like my father who go to almost every home Bulldog football and basketball game. You can see it on social media from people who love to share the news about kids who grew up here and went on to do great things. You can see it when tragedy strikes, and people come around to give a much-needed hug or offer a word of encouragement.
I love that about Martinsburg. We’re pretty close-knit.
2. As the Program Coordinator for One America West Virginia, you will be coordinating One America‘s fight against opioids in your hometown and the surrounding area. Tell us about your new job?
A: When I saw the posting for the Program Coordinator position, I immediately thought that it was a perfect fit for me. I think that my desire to work in a more humanitarian environment coupled with that fact that the opioids project is taking place in the Eastern Panhandle, just seemed too good of an opportunity for me to pass up. As many of us know, the Eastern Panhandle (specifically Berkeley County), my home, has been greatly impacted by the opioid epidemic. There was a time where I didn’t go a day without seeing that someone had lost their life or been arrested for selling or doing heroin in Martinsburg on social media, which really broke my heart.
The fact that I actually ended up landing this position is great because now I can do something about it. As the Program Coordinator, I’ll be working with churches, members of the community and anyone who wants to get involved to fight the opioid epidemic by bridging some of the divides that exist among groups in our rather polarized country. I’m really excited about this job because I’ll be coordinating different service projects and events (and event planning is a love of mine) to get people talking and working together to fight a common enemy in my hometown.
3. What do you do for fun?
A: I really enjoy photography. I am by no means an expert, but it’s something that I picked up when I was in college that I really liked. Taking candid photographs of people is my favorite thing to do because you can tell a genuine story in just one image — a story that may be interpreted differently by everyone who views it. Photography is interesting because you can capture moments that will never happen again, but the photograph holds this memory that shows the excitement, joy, sadness or pain that people were experiencing at the time. I guess you could say that photos are almost like little time capsules.
I also love to binge-watch a good tv show. I recently finished Castle Rock on Hulu, which is a new Steven King-inspired show. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s geared me up for the new season of American Horror Story!