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Princeton Times

Friday, March 29, 2013 Section I 1

H orizons H ills &


n southern West Virginia, mountains and valleys shape day-to-day life and create the land we all love. Along the way, they also symbolize the challenges we face mounting Princeton Times new initia- Progress Edition tives and March 29, 2013 rising to unique occasions at work, school, church and our own neighborhoods. In our 2013 Progress Edition, we showcase the Hills & Horizons that build our walks of life and drive us to reach the summits of everyday projects and monumental missions.









2 Section I Sunday, March 31, 2013









Princeton Times

Careers & Friday, March 29, 2013


Section I, 3

At the PCH Women’s Center and Oncology Unit, a day at the hospital may be full of joy or sorrow. Either way, two veteran staffers specialize in...

Caring beyond cure By TAMMIE TOLER Princeton Times RINCETON — In the 1998 movie named in his honor, philosophical physician Hunter “Patch” Adams shares a unique perspective on healthcare, revealing, “You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you’ll win, no matter what the outcome.” The same message could easily be used to sum up the guiding principles that help two of Princeton Community Hospital’s most experienced and best-beloved staffers through each day on the job. “When our patients are happy, we’re happy with them. When our patients are sad, we’re always sad, too,” Obstetrics Technician Madge Howard said recently, taking a few moments away from planning for the next baby’s birth and a newborn’s next visit with his or her eager family. On the opposite end of the community hospital, Alan Rice, a licensed practical nurse who is certified in infusion therapy, prepared treatment doses in the PCH Oncology Unit. “It’s very rewarding to work here. It just makes you feel like you can make a real difference in somebody’s life, and that’s very important,” Rice said. ••• Howard is “working on” her 47th year serving patients in Princeton’s hospital. Her experience stretches farther than PCH’s existence. She started working in housekeeping at Princeton Memorial Hospital. Liking the experience at the hospital but craving a different professional experience, Howard sought and achieved a job as a nurse’s aide. After moving into the new Princeton Community Hospital, Howard trained as an OB Tech, and the experience there was quite different than the one modern PCH employees and patients see. “Things are so different,” she recalled. “At the old Memorial Hospital, we had something like four bedpans and two urinals, and all of the staff used those for their patients. If I had a patient who needed to use the bedpan, I’d take it to the patient, help them use it, wash it out and take it back for it to dry; then, the next person would come get it and do the same thing. We only had a few thermometers, and they all sat in the same solution when they weren’t being used.” Needless to say, healthcare and sterilization standards have evolved over the years, much like Princeton Memorial Hospital grew into Princeton Community Hospital. The warm heart and commitment required to care for sick patients or families anxiously awaiting a new baby’s birth haven’t changed that much. Howard is known throughout the hospital for her compassion. During conversation, she stopped a moment to mention the frail older lady she’d seen


Photo by Tammie Toler

Offering a chance to heal... Alan Rice is a licensed practical nurse who specializes in infusion therapy, such as the chemotherapy he administers at the Princeton Community Hospital Outpatient Oncology Unit. Rice says he loves knowing that he does all he can to help patients get better. the day before wearing ill-fitting flip-flops in late winter. “I’ve got tennis shoes at the house that I never wear. I could have given her those, but I don’t know who she was. I don’t know how to reach her,” she said. Prompted by a coworker, Howard shared how she often orders food for families she encounters who can’t afford to eat in the cafeteria on their own, and she remembered a time a while back when she did go out of her way to take care of a patient on her way out of the hospital. “I had taken a patient out through the lobby in a wheelchair,” she said, recalling how cold the day was. The patient’s husband left them to bring the car to the lobby door, and Howard told the patient that they would wait in the lobby a few minutes, allowing the car time to warm up a bit. “She looked at me and said, ‘We don’t have any heat in our car,’” Howard recalled. Unwilling to let the patient leave the warmth of the hospital for a frigid ride home, the OB tech quietly went back to her unit, removed two blankets from a special warmer that heated wraps for new babies, and returned to her patient. She wrapped the woman in the comfortably warm blankets and began helping her to the cold car. “She asked me, ‘Is this going to get you in trouble?’” Howard said. “I told her that if it did, it did, but that I was not about to let her go out without something to keep her warm.” Howard didn’t get in trouble, and she wouldn’t change a thing. She credits the family atmosphere in the PCH Women’s Center for the compassion patients meet there. “We have a dynamite boss. She will do anything she can

to accommodate us,” Howard said, referring to Women’s Center Nurse Manager Sandy Counts. “We’re all like sisters in here. We don’t always agree, but we never go away from each other mad.” The doctors who practice in the Women’s Center - Dr. Joe Ellington, Dr. Jamette Huffman and Dr. Lori Tucker — are also part of that family. “I don’t think there’s anything they wouldn’t do for us if they knew we need it,” Howard said. “This is a really good place to work. We have good benefits. The people you work with are your family. It’s a home away from home.” Away from the hospital, Howard keeps a busy schedule with as a worshipper, armor bearer for the First Lady and spokesperson for the Men of Standard choir at the J.H. Easley Tabernacle. And, each Thursday, she has a standing date with her favorite little man - her great grandson. “He is just my pride and joy, other than Christ. Jesus is the first man in my life. He’s the second,” Howard said. ••• Rice has worked at Princeton Community Hospital for 34 straight years, but he hasn’t always been a nurse. In 1974, he started work at PCH as an attendant, which is now known as a male nursing assistance. “That was my first experience in the world of nursing, and I felt a little different about this job than I had in any of the other jobs I’d had,” Rice said. “I knew this job was different. It wasn’t a job anymore. I could make a difference here, and I made my mind up, at that point, that I was going to go to nursing school.” In order to complete his nurse training, Rice had to

leave PCH for a while, so he could take classes in Summers County. After a brief stint as an OR aide at Raleigh General Hospital in Beckley, Rice found his way back to PCH. Between 1978 and 1984, he served as a staff nurse. Since 1984, Rice has specialized as an IV nurse. In 1997, he took and passed the Infusion Nurses Society exam, and he regularly takes part in continuing education classes to stay up to date on new treatments and technologies. In 2000, Rice moved to the PCH Outpatient Oncology Department, where he works with IV treatment, portacaths, central lines, patient education and more. “I love it here. I feel like I’ve found my niche in the world, right here,” he said. “You get to know your patients very well, because you see them on a regular basis. Sometimes it’s months, sometimes it’s years that they get treatment here.” Like Howard, Rice knows that healthcare delivery has

Photo by Tammie Toler

Making growing families comfortable... Madge Howard has spent more than 46 years serving Mercer County citizens at Princeton Memorial Hospital and Princeton Community Hospital. In her current position as an obstetrics technician in the PCH Women’s Center, Howard does whatever she can to make babies’ new arrivals and women’s surgeries simpler. changed dramatically during his time at the hospital, but he believes being a nurse equips him to adapt to the change. “Change is something we’re pretty much used to, because the industry is always changing. There are new treatments and new drugs,” Rice said. Working in the oncology department is not always sunny. Rice knows he will lose some patients along the way, but the successes make the job more than worthwhile. “I get asked all the time if our unit is a depressing place to work, and it is not,” he said. “Not everybody can get better, but we can work as hard as we can to make every patient’s time here the best we can make it.’

After more than three decades on the job, Rice has become adept at leaving work at the hospital. “I divert my attention when things get tough. I don’t just constantly thing about work,” he said. An outdoorsman at heart, Rice enjoys nature the most when he isn’t working. Hiking and Canoeing are two of his favorite pastimes. Still, he enjoys coming to PCH to see his patients. “I guess I’ve always felt like I was really needed, not that I was just here. It just makes you feel good, because you know that what you did has had a positive impact on the life of someone who really needed something good,” he said — Contact Tammie Toler at

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4 Section I Friday, March 29, 2013

Princeton Times

People behind the cameras... Princeton Community Hospital Nuclear Imaging and Cardio-Pulmonary representatives Barbara Akers, LPN; David Lester, RT(R), CNMT, NCT; Peggy Ellis, CRTT, RCS; Patty Riffe, CNMT; Shahid Rana, MD; Nikki Wagner, RRT, MBA; Penny Wood, RT(R), CNMT; Scott Richardson, RRT, RCDS, and Crystal Hall, RRT, RCS showcase one of the new nuclear imaging scanners recently added to the technology available at PCH. Contributed photo

PCH takes a new look at medical imaging Advanced nuclear cameras ease patient experience, improve accuracy of diagnoses By TAMMIE TOLER Princeton Times RINCETON — A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but an accurate, clear image is worth much more than that when life hangs in the balance. Recently, Princeton Community Hospital took steps to insure that patients undergoing nuclear imaging tests would have the best quality scans possible, easing the process for patients, making diagnosis easier for doctors and decreasing the odds of false results. The hospital invested in two new nuclear imaging systems — one for the Radiology Department and one for Cardio-Pulmonary. Both cameras bring the latest in imaging technology to our community. The Discovery NM630 in the Radiology Department and the Infinia Hawkeye 4 in the Cardio-Pulmonary Department are the latest models of GE Healthcare nuclear scanners and offer greater speed and significantly higher image quality. The systems enable confident diagnoses by providing the necessary information in a single image with a single exam that is quick and comfortable for patients. The systems have the power to deliver quality images with a lower dose of radiation (as low as half that of standard Nuclear Medicine protocols). A typical exam takes as little as 10 minutes. The table is ergonomically designed to help patients get on and off easily. It is also very comfortable, which means patients can easily hold still, ensuring quality studies and low likelihood of the need for re-scans. “This camera is newer and faster, so the scan times aren’t nearly as long,” Penny Wood, a radiologic technologist and clinical nuclear medical technician, said. “The patients tend to like us a lot better for that.” Previously, CardioPulmonary supervisor Nikki Wagner explained that stress tests — an exam designed to determine the function of a patient’s heart — required two separate scans. One set of images was captured after undergoing stress or exercise, and another was scheduled separately after a period of rest. “Because of the quality of the scans we’re getting now, many times, we don’t have to do that resting scan,” Wagner said. ••• When a patient is scheduled for a scan, either in the Cardio-Pulmonary Department or Nuclear


Photo by Tammie Toler

Processing the images... Radiologic technologist Penny Wood reviews the images captured during a stress test scan at Princeton Community Hospital. While the camera captures primarily still photos, the processing system at the hospital can merge several of the still images to display an animated view of the organ in question from a variety of angles.

‘This is the latest advancement in hybrid scanners, which combine nuclear imaging with computed tomography (CT). It provides sharp, high-quality images that help us make confident diagnoses. It’s a big step forward in diagnostic confidence and patient comfort. It improves quality of patient care.’ — PCH Radiologist Dr. Afzal Ahmed Imaging, the process begins with the injection of a radioactive tracer — imaging material that may be photographed as it travels through the patient’s body. “They are laid down on the table on their backs, and they have to lay, if possible, with their arms above their heads,” Wood explained. Since the new cameras work more quickly to capture still images that can be converted into brief videos to show different angles of the area in question, the patients’ times inside the imaging device are much shorter than with previous PCH equipment. That is particularly beneficial for patients who may be frightened in tight spaces. “This camera allows the patient’s head to be outside the scanner for most of the test, so patients who are claustrophobic tend to handle it a little better,” Wood said. While there is no pain associated with the scans, she said the new camera simply makes the experience less awkward and troubling

for patients likely already concerned about a diagnosis. ••• This versatile imaging system helps physicians determine both the nature and precise location of disease. It is a powerful diagnostic tool for many types of nuclear studies, especially cardiac and oncology cases. With these new imaging systems, physicians can accurately detect disease that may not be detected by other means, such as with CT scans alone. They can pinpoint where disease is located, distinguish it from normal tissue, and predict where it will go next. By allowing physicians to assess the aggressiveness of disease, the system helps eliminate guesswork and potentially avoid unnecessary surgery, while enabling an appropriate treatment plan for the patient. “This camera delivers a very accurate image quality, using scan time and doses as low as half that of standard nuclear medicine protocols,” PCH Radiologist Dr. Afzal Ahmed said.

“The 4-slice SPECT/CT scanner provides short scan time and optimal image quality. This is the latest advancement in hybrid scanners, which combine nuclear imaging with computed tomography (CT). It provides sharp, high-quality images that help us make confident diagnoses. It’s a big step forward in diagnostic confidence and patient comfort. It improves quality of patient care.” Ahmed added, “CT breast lymphoscintigraphy is performed for breast cancer patients. This helps to accurately localize the lymph nodes where disease could spread beyond the breast. The combination of CT and nuclear medicine studies is utilized to accurately localize the disease process to this specific area of the body.” Director of Diagnostic Imaging Services Sherri Snead said the investment in the two new imaging system showcases PCH’s determination to provide the best care possible to patients and to care for the community.

“The acquisition of the two new cameras shows our continued commitment to provide the most advanced and innovative imaging services to our patients and our physicians,” she said. PCH Cardiologist Shahid Rana, M.D., F.A.C.C., said, “Artifacts (undesired data within an image) have been a great problem for any Nuclear Cardiology Department by hindering accurate interpretation of scans. The new camera in CardioPulmonary has a

built-in ability to correct these artifacts. The most common source of artifacts in female patients is breast attenuation or soft tissue attenuation in front of the heart. This tissue overlapping the heart could look like a heart attack in a conventional nuclear scan. The CT built into the Infinia Hawkeye 4 nuclear camera can correct that. A second element creating artifacts in female and particularly male patients, is the diaphragm overlapping the lower portion of the heart. The third element is soft tissue artifact in obese patients. This camera corrects these artifacts producing a much clearer image of the heart. Princeton Community Hospital is the only facility in the region to provide this new technology.” While no non-invasive imaging is ever 100 percent accurate, Rana said the most recent imaging technology — like the two new nuclear cameras — dramatically improves the accuracy of the test results, allowing patients to seek treatment faster and saving the added worry and expense of added diagnostic testing. “We’re proud to offer this service to our community. We have state-of-the-art equipment, excellent physicians, and highly qualified technologists all coming together to provide the highest quality in nuclear cardiac stress testing,” Wagner said. Princeton Community Hospital’s Rick Hypes contributed to this report. Contact him at PCH by calling 304-487-7339. Contact Tammie Toler at



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Princeton Times

Friday, March 29, 2013 Section I 5

As 1 of 6 Blueprint Communities, McKinney-Blankenship and a committed team embrace challenge of ...

Creating Renaissance Princeton By MATT CHRISTIAN Princeton Times RINCETON — Princeton Native Lori McKinneyBlankenship is working toward improving Princeton’s downtown. Having traveled to many cities, McKinneyBlankenship has watched as those cities helped visitors and residents to focus on their downtown areas. In Princeton, however, she added the focus has shifted toward other areas, such as Stafford Drive and the Interstate 77-U.S. 460 exchange. “Those things are great,” McKinney-Blankenship said. “Mercer Street’s become a weak link, though. A town is only as strong as its weakest link.” One way, she’s looking to help Mercer Street return to prosperity is through the Blueprint Communities initiative. As the Blueprint Communities website indicates, Blueprint Communities is an initiative started by FHLBank Pittsburgh in 2005 to serve as a catalyst for older communities by “building strong local leadership, collaboration and development capacity; serving as a catalyst for revitalization by developing sound local and regional planning skills, which include clear community vision statements, effective goal-setting strategies, comprehensive implementation plans and performance evaluation measures; and encouraging coordinated investments in targeted communities by public and private funders.” McKinney-Blankenship said she was a catalyst in Princeton becoming a Blueprint Community. As a local artist, McKinney-Blankenship sometimes worked with Kent Spellman, executive director of the West Virginia Community Development Hub. She helped create documentaries for the organization. It was there, McKinneyBlankenship first heard about the Blueprint Communities initiative. Eventually, she learned that Community Connections Director Greg Puckett was starting to shift his organization’s attention to community development in order to prevent addictions and other debilitating behavior. Puckett reached out and attended the Create West Virginia Conference. McKinney-Blankenship introduced him to Spellman. “I felt like I could see


Contributed photo

Ready to draft the future... Members of the Princeton Blueprint Communities team include The RiffRaff’s Lori McKinney-Blankenship, New River Community and Technical College’s Steve Wise, City National Bank’s Sherri Anderson, Princeton Times’ Tammie Toler, Princeton City Manager Elke Doom and Princeton Mayor Patricia Wilson. The team accepted the official Blueprint Communities banner during a kick-off event at Tamarack in early February.

‘It only takes one drop of water to create waves throughout a pond. I hope that everyone in Princeton [and the surrounding area] can come [to downtown] and make it theirs.’ — Lori McKinney-Blankenship Blueprint Communities Princeton team leader

sparks fly,” McKinneyBlankenship said of the meeting. “It felt like it was a really special thing to get those two together. Greg and my eyes lit up when Kent talked about the Blueprint Communities.” Even though it was late in the application process, Spellman encouraged them to enter Princeton’s name because the initiative was set to focus on Southern West Virginia. With help from Puckett’s Community Connections, they made the deadline and Princeton was chosen alongside Bluefield, Hinton, Marlinton, Richwood, and Sophia. “The possibilities are just endless,” McKinneyBlankenship said. “It’s really exciting.” Next, team members were added. Princeton’s team includes McKinneyBlankenship, Architect Todd Boggess, Raymond Flores of

Valley College, Greg Puckett, Princeton Mayor Pat Wilson, City Manager Elke Doom, the Princeton Times’ Tammie Toler and others. From there, the group scheduled a meeting to begin planning their project. McKinney-Blankenship’s role hasn’t been limited to the Princeton team, either. Her band, Option 22, has performed at the opening meeting in Beckley and they have composed a theme song for the 2013 Blueprint Communities. McKinney-Blankenship is also getting ready to create an eight wall mural downtown to add to Mercer Street’s beauty. She also hopes to create a community garden to help revitalize Mercer Street. In addition to these projects, she also provides music lessons, a recording studio, and hosts Open Stage every Monday night.

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“It only takes one drop of water to create waves throughout a pond,”

McKinney Blankenship said of her efforts. “I hope that everyone in Princeton

[and the surrounding area] can come [to downtown] and make it theirs.” She also used a flock of birds to describe the situation. As the lead bird tires, another replaces at the front of the flock. If people in Princeton tried to make the downtown better, they would be like birds and move forward at a greater pace. “There’s no limit to what we can accomplish,” she added. — Contact Matt Christian at

Princeton Times

6 Section I Friday, March 29, 2013

Polishing The Bronze Look... Randolph Evans and employees look to expand opportunities downtown By MATT CHRISTIAN Princeton Times



Bronze Look owner Randolph Evans has plans for Princeton. Evans explained recently that he owns two stores and a property management company in Mercer County. The Bronze Look is located in historic Mercer Street, The Bronze Look II is located in Bluefield, and the property management company handles all of the property and marketing for the two stores. Evans relies on his team of Public Relations Director Chris Arverson, Senior Advertising Analyst Gayle Dunn, and Sales Manager Kristen Bailey to help him operate his companies. “This is an employee-managed company,” Evans said. “I rely on them to make sure the companies operate smoothly.” Giving a tremendous amount of responsibility to employees frees Evans from having to handle the day-today operations of his companies. Arverson added, “It’s our job to give Randolph the flexibility to make the bigger decisions for the company. ” Evans adds that he believes that he truly has a team that he can rely on now. With that in place, he can work on larger projects. Two of those projects are the opening of a new store at the former Elizabeth’s Boutique location on Mercer Street and the potential management of the Princeton Railroad. His staff adds that the new store will focus on a unique

Photo by Matt Christian

Working from a new business model... The Bronze Look and Bronze Element owner Randolph Evans’ team includes Public Relations Director Chris Arverson, Sales Manager Kristen Bailey, and Senior Advertising Analyst Gayle Dunn inside The Bronze Look on Mercer Street. If Evans’ plans work out, he’ll soon open a new store at the former location of Elizabeth’s Boutique, and he might soon be managing the Princeton Railroad Museum. subset of wares available for purchase. By getting the Railroad Museum to open more frequently, the staff believes that the number of people visiting the historic downtown will increase. By so doing, the number of people visiting the Bronze Look location will increase. More people mean more money and a more diverse set of wares available. Arverson said, “We’re always looking to increase our business.” Evans added, “A rising tide floats all boats.” For the same reason, Evans tries to shop at all of the stores downtown. •••

The phenomenon of letting responsibility go to employees is known as delegation and is a key characteristic of a successful entrepreneur according to The site notes, “Delegation is the practice of turning over work-related tasks and/or authority to employees or subordinates. Small business owners often have difficulty with delegation for a variety of reasons, from concerns about the abilities of subordinates to longstanding ‘hands-on’ management habits (a common characteristic of successful entrepreneurs).” “Indeed, ‘businesses founded on the creative talents of

the owner often struggle with [delegation] because the success of the enterprise depends on the owner’s style,’ wrote Linda Formichelli in Nation’s Business. But small business consultants warn that owners who do not learn to delegate responsibilities and tasks often end up stunting their company’s growth.” Evans’ staff takes the delegation of tasks very seriously. They each have their own goals set up but must meet team goals as well. “We’re a team,” Bailey said. “The more money we all make for the stores, the more we’re going to earn in compensation.”

As team, Bailey adds that the primary goal of the business is customer satisfaction. As such, Bailey, Arverson, and Dunn each seek to be cross-trained in every area of Evans’ companies’ operations. “We seek to maximize the customers that have a good experience,” Bailey said. “We make our own personal contacts, and if we have down time, we contact them to see if we can help them.” Arverson adds that when people enter the store in historic Mercer Street they are often surprised by the wares available for purchase and by the price that they receive on their unwanted

jewelry. “We’re not going to try to take advantage of people,” Evans said. “We want to be fair to everyone that comes in.” Evans referred to a mutually beneficial transaction with the last comment. Mutually beneficial transactions are the heart of a capitalist system. If a transaction is mutually beneficial the parties involved are more likely to return to make future deals. If the transaction is not mutually beneficial, one party may refuse participate in future deals. Economist Ludwig Von Mises said, “The consumers determine ultimately not only the prices of the consumers’ goods, but no less the prices of all factors of production. They determine the income of every member of the market economy. The consumers, not the entrepreneurs, pay ultimately the wages earned by every worker, the glamorous movie star as well as the charwoman. With every penny spent the consumers determine the direction of all production processes and the details of the organization of all business activities.” “Customers make our business,” Evans said. ••• The Bronze Look has partnered with many other companies as well. Each relationship allows the The Bronze Look to sell unique items that are not available anywhere else. The companies are benefited because their work is being purchased and they have a place to sell it. — Contact Matt Christian at

City manager: City hall move will propel Mercer St. revitalization By JEFF HARVEY for the Princeton Times

RINCETON — New Princeton City Manager Elke Doom sees her role as that of a team member working to improve conditions in the City of Princeton. “As city manager, I see myself as a team member, an extension of Council and Mayor. I oversee city operations and work in cooperation with residents, and city businesses for the betterment of Princeton,” she said. Doom, who started serving as City Manager on Jan. 15, said she was comfortable from her first day in Princeton. “I wouldn’t say it’s been an adjustment so much, but I’ve taken to reading West Virginia laws and local laws. I’ve met with a lot of the local leaders and legislators, both through phone calls and in person. It’s all been very positive all the interaction I’ve had with them,” she said. The new City Hall, she added is a priority for the city to move into this fall. “What I think it’s going to do is to begin the revitalization of Mercer Street with the Post Office, Library and


City Manager Elke Doom City Hall all down there. In combination with the Railroad Museum on the other end of the street, it’ll bring more traffic and more businesses down there. It’ll give (city workers) a better workspace and give the city a space large enough to house the Police Department with us which is a plus and give us more space for records keeping,” she said. As for the Stafford Drive flood control project, which received $250,000 form the Shott Foundation in January. Doom said the city was again applying for a Small cities Block Grant for funding as well as staying in contact with legislators, sen-

ators and the West Virginia Division of Highways. “We’re all talking about what we can do to alleviate flooding along Stafford Drive,” she said. As for other priorities, she said the city would like to enter into a number of projects including sidewalk improvements and revitalizing Mercer Street to bring in new business and retain existing businesses. “I’ve been taking books out of the library to study the history of Princeton to give me an idea about it. We have to understand history in order to move forward,” she said. — Contact Jeff Harvey at or

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Princeton Times

Wisdom & Friday, March 29, 2013


Section II, 1

Hitting their STRIVE... Unique MCTEC program helps students build careers before graduation By TAMMIE TOLER Princeton Times RINCETON — Learning doesn’t require a traditional classroom. Ann Wells and Beverly Flanigan know for sure that some of life’s greatest lessons may be learned while baking a cake, mopping a floor, riding along in an ambulance and folding laundry at the hospital. The two veteran teachers recently took the helm of the Mercer County Technical Education Center’s Project STRIVE, which aims to educate and encourage students who prefer a hands-on approach to education over a classroom setting. Project STRIVE stands for Service, Technology, Responsibility, Industry, Values and Excellence. It’s a two-credit training program designed primarily for students who wish to explore career opportunities in the hospitality or other service industries. “Often, this program is for the student who isn’t sure what he or she wants to do after graduation,” Wells said. “The traditional classroom is not for every child. Some kids learn much better by doing and seeing what we’re trying to teach them.” There is still a little classroom work involved, each Monday and Friday during the school year. Those are the days that Project STRIVE teachers and students use to plan for the upcoming three days of job placement and to review what they have all learned throughout the week. “During the semester, the students usually have about four different placements,” Wells said. The program that began solely as a training ground for students looking to enter the hospitality industry has expanded dramatically in recent years. work site placements now include Sleep Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Kidz at Hart Daycare, Princeton Rescue Squad, Princeton Public Library, Mother Goose Day Care, Happy Tails Dog Grooming, West Virginia Information Center, Princeton Community Hospital, Mercer County Animal Shelter and more. “Really, anything that is


School outside class... Students enrolled in Mercer County Technical Education Center’s Project STRIVE enjoy hands-on experiences outside the traditional classroom in real-world work sites. High school students enroll in the two-credit program each semester and participate in approximately four rotations through a variety of workplaces. Above, students learn how to assemble a healthy taco salad inside a portion of the MCTEC classroom that features a kitchen. Photos by Tammie Toler and contributed

hospitality- and service-related, we’re willing to work with,” Wells said. Wells and Flanigan made the move from teaching inside typical classrooms to Project STRIVE almost two school years ago. It didn’t take Wells long to realize she had made the right decision. “The kids wear scrubs when they are at their work site placements. That sets them apart a little bit and makes them feel like they have a

uniform that’s special,” she explained. “One student last year, the first time they tried the scrubs on, said, ‘I really feel like somebody.’” That touched the heart of the teacher fast and hard. “That may have been the first thing that opened my eyes to how important these experiences are for many of these students,” Wells said. Every day is different at Project STRIVE. On the day of this interview, students

welcomed a visitor from the West Virginia University Extension Service to prepare healthy salads inside the kitchen that occupies one corner of the class. Lowe’s representatives helped coordinate the purchase of the kitchen fixtures with assistance from a Mercer County Commission grant. Then, students and instructors in the electrical technology and construction technology classes installed

the wiring, appliances and cabinets. Meanwhile, MCTEC welding students got to work creating a metal pot holder, while pre-engineering students started designing cabinet pulls and graphic design students created a logo for Project STRIVE. Dental assisting instructors and students delivered a program on the importance of good oral hygiene, and cosmetology students provided hair

cut and styling services to the students headed for the job site. Because Project STRIVE is such a special class, students can take it as many times as they wish to, provided they still complete the essential high school courses at their home schools. “This provides a place where these students feel safe, and all students need that,” Wells said. “Whether it’s band, choir, sports, or whatever, students need a place where they can feel safe and successful.” ••• According to the outline of Project STRIVE, the curriculum is designed to use classroom instruction, work site visits, guest speakers, computer simulations and workbased learning, to focus students’ attention on: • Personal health choices and their connection to the work and the assumption of adult roles; • Promotion of values and norms that will give students the ability to recognize and resist social pressures; • Preventing risky behavior by serving at-risk students and their families; • Researching and reviewing career options and qualifications in hospitality service and other service industries; • Integrating hospitality skills, food-service etiquette, and the processes used by many enterprises, including individual and group settings, and food environments into hospitality and other services; • Practicing positive human relations skills, including an excellent work ethic, effective communication, and personal responsibility for overall health and safety; • Development of environmentally responsible citizens by teaching ways to reduce, reuse and recycle resources commonly used in the home school and workplace. In addition to the support and funding from by the Mercer County Schools, the program could not exist and be so successful without the support of the Mercer County Commission and various community businesses and facilities, including Sleep Inn,

STRIVE, Page 3

Princeton Times

2 Section II Friday, March 29, 2013

A Commitment To...

Photo by Greg Barnett

Members of the 2012 PSHS Tigers Marching Band take the field for a half-time show.

Practice makes magic Kade says secrets to marching band’s success are hard work, desire to be part of the show By MATT CHRISTIAN Princeton Times

RINCETON — It was like magic. That's how Princeton Senior High School Band Director Julia Kade said she felt when she first saw a marching band perform. Kade said that in Rainelle, where she grew up, the local high school band, had a tradition of marching through town before the Friday night football games. “We'd always go to the King Cole Hotel before the games because the band would come through,” Kade said. “I just fell in love with the spectacle of it. It was just magic.” Shortly afterwards, Kade


asked her mother if she could learn to play an instrument. Soon, her mother purchased her a saxophone. The instrument came with a catch. Kade had to continue playing every day until her mother allowed her to stop. To this day, Kade says that she has continued. Each time she visits her mother she asks if she can stop playing the instrument. Each time her mother will refuse. Kade carried her mother's passion for hard work and her own for music into college where she combined them into a Music Education degree. After she graduated, she was named to lead Princeton's Marching Band.

••• One thing that she started to do was have the younger children that will head to Princeton Senior High to watch the band. “We try to get them hooked,” Kade said. She added that getting the students hooked in the band was key to getting them to perform at the level of Princeton's band. They need years of practice beginning in middle school. A few years in, a young Layne Veneri watched the band perform. “I've never really told anyone this before,” Veneri said

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Princeton Times

Friday, March 29, 2013 Section II 3

New River seeks room to grow Community, technical college hopes to add classes, quality of student life By JEFF HARVEY for the Princeton Times RINCETON — New River Community & Technical College is looking for room to grow and expand its role in the southern West Virginia community. “One of our top priorities is that we have sufficient space to grow both in terms of classroom space and space for our students to spend between classes, including space for tutoring and faculty office space. We have a good partnership with the (Mercer County) Technical Education Center, but we both need space to grow,” NRCTC Princeton Campus Dean Steve Wise said. One way of determining future needs, he said, is to organize community focus groups in Mercer County over the next few months to make sure that NRCTC is meeting the needs of the community. “(What) our students who are working need and what our students who are looking to get a jump back into college need, plus making sure that we are doing a good job for folks around here, that's for what we are looking,” he said. Wise added, “We want to make sure that we have a resource group for our programs and meeting the community's needs. With the help of our focus groups, we hope to respond better to the needs of the community, get a clearer sense of direction from our advisory committees, to meet with them on a periodic basis so that we can check on what we need to


Photo by Matt Christian

Passing the test... Mercer Christian Academy students Kristen Shrader and Kristen Farrell work their way through an algebra II exam at the Halls Ridge Road school campus recently.

MCA eyes expansion for special education, agriculture programs By JEFF HARVEY for the Princeton Times



County’s only private grade school, Mercer Christian Academy, is expanding its class offerings to better serve its student body both academically and athletically. MCA Administrator Eddie Niswander said, “Well, we’ve added a special education program, and we’re looking to expand space for it. We’ve also got an agricultural program which is popular, and enrollment is staying steady. Our sports programs are growing, as we now have a full roster girls basketball program and

STRIVE... Continued from Page 1 Holiday Inn Express, Princeton Health Care Center; Princeton Community Hospital; Kidz at Hart; Mother Goose Day Care, Learning Tree House Day Care; the West Virginia Travel Center; Mercer County Animal Shelter, Happy Tails Dog Grooming; Princeton Public Library and the Princeton Rescue Squad. ••• Auston Sayers is a MCTEC student who completed a round of work site assignments at Princeton Rescue Squad early this semester, before taking an assignment in the maintenance department at a local hotel. “In this class, I learn a lot because it’s taught with new Sayers people in different situations,” he said. He enjoyed his ride-along experience at the Rescue Squad, because it offered “the opportunity to get out and help people.” This semester marked Sayers’ first time in Project STRIVE, and he was busy planning to attend college to complete a business degree. Still, he hopes to return to the Rescue Squad as a volunteer. He gave Project STRIVE rave reviews. “It’s a very excellent class. It teaches you a lot and puts you in situations that will be beneficial and help you in the future,” he said. ••• Wendy Halsey is enjoying her second round through Project STRIVE this semester. “I loved how we went out and volunteered to help people,” she said. So far, she has completed assignments at a day care center, Princeton Community Hospital, and Princeton

have added an archery program.” The agricultural program, he added, is seeking to add a greenhouse. In addition, classes in psychology will be added on the high school level and arts and music classes at the elementary level. “It’s the directing of the process of human development towards God’s objectives for man: Godliness of character and action,” he said. For more information, call Mercer Christian Academy at 304-487-1603 or 304-4255671. — Contact Jeff Harvey at or

What did you learn in Project STRIVE? “At my placements, learned a lot of different things, like if you go out in a good mood, you do a better job at what you’re doing.” “I’ve learned responsibility and values while in Project STRIVE. I’ve learned new things. I learned to control my anger and learned to work in a workplace.” “I’ve enjoyed working with others, but I hate to vacuum. But, I did it.” “In Project STRIVE, I learned lots of important things in work sites. Be respectful, be on time and do the best you can.” “In this class, I learned a lot of responsibilities and values. I learned that when going into the work place, you have to be ready to work and to not just stand around an socialize.” “Since I have been in STRIVE, I have learned many things. I have learned that in the service industry, it is a lot of work to keep everything running smoothly. Everyone has to be responsible and organized to get things done properly. If you don’t know how to do something, it is you responsibility to ask someone how to do it. Health Care Center. At this point, she’s working on a round of visits to Sleep Inn. “Personally, I love going to the health care center, to work with the Alzheimer’s residents,” she said. “It’s a really good experience if Halsey you want to go into any kind of nursing.” Halsey lent her hands to whatever work was taking place in the Princeton Health Care Center’s kitchen, where she helped clean and mop. She hopes she’s building a path to a career, maybe not doing the same tasks she’s tackled so far, but moving past the entry level. “It’s a really good experience and a really fun program,” she said. “If you work really hard at the work sites, they tell you you can come back if you ever need a job.” ••• Shantell Dash’s favorite

assignment in Project STRIVE has included working at a day care, where she enjoyed helping the children learn to count, color and play together. “I like it, because I like kids,” she said. Dash thinks she’s learned some valuable lessons as part of the unique program, but she has other plans for her Dash career. “I’ll be going to school here. I’ll be a certified nurse assistant when I graduate,” she said. Her current assignment is at the West Virginia Welcome Center on U.S. 460, where she knows she’ll gain a new perspective on something. “It think it’s great, and it’s a wonderful experience,” Dash said. ••• Bertha Avalos has had a “great time” in Project STRIVE, all while “learning a

New River, new options... Above, New River Community and Technical College student Alyssa Reyesexamines an assignment inside a classroom New River shares with Mercer County Technical Education Center on Stafford Drive. At left, Savanna Beasley and Jeremy Patrick participate in class discussion. Contributed photos

stay on track and stay in constant contact with employers and their needs.” He said, “Community is the second word in our name and we want to be a very active part of the com-

lot.” “The people we meet are the best part of the class. They are just the sweetest people,” she said. Her first assignment this semester was at the Holiday Inn Express. “I pretty much learned how to do everything, from laundry to cleaning the rooms,” she said. “It was fun. It was nice and simple. It kind of Avalos taught me to find myself and how helping others is the most important thing to me.” Avalos is currently enrolled in the MCTEC completer programmer to become a computer engineer, and she has big aspirations. “I want to be big about it. I want to own my own business,” she said. ••• Latasha Ellison has had one of the most unique experiences in Project STRIVE. She got to work alongside her mom, Jackie Compton, at the Holiday Inn Express. She temporarily became part of the housekeeping staff.

munity. “My hope would be that we get the input from our focus groups and advisory committees and have the latter in place to improve what we are doing with


“I think it’s fun. But, it’s a lot of work over there, cleaning the room. It makes you really tired,”

she said. That fact proved to be a reality check, as Latasha realized she only works about two hours at a time, while her mom works at least eight. “I really liked working with my mom and cleaning,” she said. She enjoyed the experience so much and thrived while doing it that the instructors sent her back to Holiday Inn Express for a second rotation. ••• Lisa Sarver will soon complete her third semester in Project STRIVE. She was one of the lucky STRIVE class that got to tour The Greenbrier during the last semester, and she said she enjoyed taking photos of the unique scenery and special place. Sarver is one of the students who much prefers working in a real job site than sitting in a classroom on a daily basis. She is not positive what she

each program we offer to meet their needs.” For more information, call 304-425-5858. — Contact Jeff Harvey at or


wants to do postgraduation, but for now, she’s content working her way through hospitality-based

rotations. “I like cleaning,” she said. ••• Flanigan said she loves Project STRIVE.“It’s just great. I’ve seen kids grow and grow, and grow, and that is amazing for some of these kids,” she said. Like everyone else who has touched the Project STRIVE program, Flanigan knows it’s different, and she takes pride in the fact that the program reaches students who might otherwise be lost if they were forced to adhere to traditional learning models. “They learn life skills here, and many of them are very close to making a career,” she said. “Several of the students have been offered jobs at their placements.” That’s a stamp of approval far more important that a grade on a final exam. For information about Project STRIVE, call Mercer County Technical Education Center at 304-425-9551. — Contact Tammie Toler at

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Princeton Times

4 Section II Friday, March 29, 2013

BC stretches education past graduation School gets approval to offer master-level instruction in Bluefield, Va.



what might be considered the school’s most significant academic advancement since becoming a four-year college in 1975, Bluefield College has been approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to offer master’s degrees beginning in the fall of 2013. The college will begin its master’s-level instruction within one of its most recognized and critically acclaimed programs, the School of Education, with a master of arts degree in education (MAEd). “This is a tremendous step for Bluefield College in its maturation as a school of higher education,” said BC President Dr. David Olive. “Now, nearly 40 years after earning accreditation to offer the baccalaureate degree, the college is expanding its program opportunities to include degrees at the master’s level.” Founded as a junior college in 1922, Bluefield College originally offered only associate degrees in subjects like business and engineering until transitioning to a fouryear degree granting institution in 1975 with added

Contributed photo

Expanding degree opportunities... Students in Bluefield College's School of Education now have the opportunity to pursue a master's degree in education. majors in English, history, religion, and behavioral science. Now, nearly four decades later with 44 majors of study, the school will enroll its first-ever graduate students and offer its firstever master’s degree. “Much recognition and gratitude are extended to Dr. Donna Hardy Watson, dean of the School of Education,

and to Dr. Robert Shippey, vice president for academic affairs, and many others who led this effort to the point of successful approval,” said Olive, “and on the first attempt, too.” The master’s in education will be offered through BC’s School of Education. After achieving national accreditation in 2009 and receiving

Virginia Department of Education approval to offer teaching licenses in special education: general curriculum in 2011, the School of Education immediately went to work on the approval process for master’s degrees in education for practicing teachers and for those with bachelor’s degrees who desire a teaching license.

The yearlong process involved writing curriculum, gathering data, and contacting prospective faculty for the master’s program. With an initial emphasis on helping current students develop teaching excellence, future plans involve securing Virginia Department of Education approval for offering teaching licenses at the master’s degree level. The School of Education’s high standard of excellence since 1977 provides a strong foundation for the next level of teacher development. “We are very pleased that our commitment to academic excellence has been recognized by our peer evaluative body (SACSCOC) resulting in this significant milestone for the college,” said Shippey. “Our School of Education has been a flagship program at Bluefield College that has been preparing skilled, compassionate teachers for many years. Naturally, this new graduate program initiative was a logical next step. Our outstanding education faculty are to be commended for their hard work and vision.” BC’s School of Education already offers undergraduate programs for teacher licensure in Elementary

EducationPreK-6, 6-12 (biology, business, chemistry, English, history, information technology, mathematics, and history/social sciences), PreK-12 (art, health and physical education, instrumental music and vocal/choral music), and Special Education: General Curriculum, K-12. The program is approved by the Virginia Department of Education and nationally accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC), certifying it provides evidence of adherence to accreditation quality principles. Plans are in progress to offer the first master’s level courses in an online format in the fall of 2013. The SACSCOC approval to offer master’s degrees comes just weeks after BC announced plans to create a new dental school and on the heels of the introduction of a new special education curriculum, new nursing program and eight new online degrees. Designed to provide affordable dental education to students while delivering clinical outreach dental care to an underserved population, the new dental school is scheduled to open in the fall of 2015.

National College looks to build options Valley College trains students By JEFF HARVEY for the Princeton Times RINCETON — To deter-


mine future course offerings, the National College Princeton campus is turning toward the community at large. Denver Riffe, campus director of the Princeton campus, said, “Basically, we’re currently examining what courses we offer, which includes majors, in order to determine

what to expand to benefit the community. That will probably come around the end of the year and what that means is what we would provide in the future.” Riffe said community input is welcomed in the process. “Basically, we’re (offering) medical business and information systems. We’re looking to expand by the end of the year and we’ve already expanded according to state and federal laws. We now

have on-line courses that we didn’t really have before,” he said. He added, “I think we’ll be expanding our program so that individuals can can receive the same quality of education in a shorter period of time. We can set up appointments after hours to help get community input.” For information, visit or by calling 304-431-1600.

Magic... Continued from Page 2 to Kade in the band room at Princeton. “When I saw the band performing when I was in first grade, I decided to become a member of the band. It just blew my mind that you all could perform so well.” Veneri now serves as the band's field conductor. He and Kade describe his role as “the band director's right arm.” “I delegate responsibilities, and he carries out,” Kade added. “We truly could not perform without him.” ••• Kade explained how hard Princeton band members had to work to have an awardwinning band. Practice for them begins 25 days before school starts in August. In the dog days of summer, the band works for hours as a whole and then as individual sections. “We have to have a lot of endurance,” Kade said. “We do a lot of conditioning and marching.” Veneri adds that each band member must have complete faith in each other to execute the back steps and side steps necessary for the more complicated routines. And, of course, each band section must be able to correctly hit their notes. Usually, they'll work in sections after the main band practice. In terms of total time, the band members could spend as much as six hours preparing for the season. “Spending that much time, helps us look like we look,” Kade said. She was also quick to credit the band members' parents. They provide many of the logistics of making sure the band is ready to perform. Getting up to 125 band members to and from football games and competitions, means that they will have to be fed at some point. “It's really a big-time endeavor,” Kade said. “I've always felt that Princeton supports us really well.” Veneri adds that it is a powerful feeling to stand in

for careers in less than a year By JEFF HARVEY for the Princeton Times RINCETON — For more than 25 years, the Valley College campus in Princeton, along with its sister campuses in Beckley and Martinsburg, has offered thousands of graduates a way into a career and provide local businesses with quality employees. Princeton Campus Director Tony Riffe said, “Our personal goal is to get students jobs and local businesses quality employees. Our programs last less than a year (8-10 months), so that students can graduate and get started earlier in their career.” The most successful program, offered only at Princeton and Beckley , is the Medical Clinical Assisting Program (MCA), which trains people for careers working at hospitals, doctor's offices and family practice clinics. “Students not only get experience in what it's like to be a medical assistant, plus hands on patient care as well as work in a medical office,” Riffe said. The other fields offered at Valley College are Medical


File photo by Tammie Toler

Under pressure... Students in a recent Valley College Medical Clinical Assisting Program practice testing and recording a patient’s blood pressure during class. Office Administration; Professional Office Administration, Business Administration on-line degree and Business Administration degree. “We do have a full staff of instructors qualified in their fields. plus a campus director. an admissions team and a financial aid team. Our students get the opportunity to sit down with the financial aid team to make it as easy as possible for them. We have an open-door policy,

people can come in and get financial aid, it's a very close group, since not only employees communicate with students, and are available for students,” Riffe said. As for new initiatives, Riffe said the college has plans to expand and upgrade programs, particularly the online program. The web site — — has been upgraded as well. For more information, call 304-425-2323 or go to

Bluefield State sees collaboration as key to future of college, region By JEFF HARVEY for the Princeton Times LUEFIELD — Bluefield

B Photo by Greg Barnett

Marching in... Princeton Senior High School Field Conductor Layne Veneri leads the 2012 Tigers Marching Band onto the field for an award-winning half-time show. Veneri said he decided he wanted to be part of the band after seeing the elite group perform as a child.

“When I saw the band performing when I was in first grade, I decided to become a member of the band. It just blew my mind that you all could perform so well.” — Layne Veneri front of the band in front of the whole community. He said that it casts a great light on the Princeton community to see such a band perform. “When we travel, people recognize us because of the

band,” He said. “That's just awesome.” Kade added, “The expectation is that we will have a good band with a lot professionalism.” — Contact Matt Christian at

State College is working toward the future, particularly where the city which shares its name is concerned. BSC Assistant to The President/Director of Community & Media Relations Jim Nelson said, “Bluefield State College has entered into several collaborative agreements to maximize the opportunities for the College to serve its current and future students, as well the region we serve.” The first area of collaboration is between BSC and Concord University. “BSC and Concord have embarked on discussion to develop strategies in becoming more efficient in areas related to class and inclement weather schedules, staff development, and professional training. These discussions are focused upon ways to utilize existing resources while maintaining each institution’s unique mission and integrity, working on ways to meet current and

future educational needs at our campuses in southern West Virginia.” he said. He added that the City of Bluefield and BSC have formed a task force, chaired by two BSC students, to look at possibilities for economic development and service learning opportunities. The collaboration is a key element of the city’s “Team Blue” initiative. Additionally, BSC is serving as a host site and provides trained volunteers to assist the United Way of the Virginias in its delivery of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. BSC has worked with Mercer County Schools for several years, hosting five county-wide academic competitions each school year. On a regional front, he said, the W. Paul Cole, Jr. School of Business at Bluefield State College has entered into a series of articulation agreements with Virginia Western Community College, Southwest Virginia Community College, and Wytheville Community College to provide a cost-efficient, seamless transition for

graduates of identified business degree programs at those institutions to pursue bachelor’s degrees at BSC. Bluefield State also maintains articulation agreements in other disciplines with New River Community & Technical College and Southern West Virginia Community & Technical College. On the research front, collaboration between BSC and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech is underway to provide hands-on training for BSC students in solar panel research, and two BSC students attended “EcoSummit” 2012 in Columbus, OH. The program brought together more than 1600 of the world’s leaders in ecological science for a sixday program. BSC has also provided community service through several initiatives, including Family Literacy Night at Whitethorn School in Bluefield, a “College Goal Sunday” financial aid workshop at BSC, and a Smart Phone App. workshop in collaboration with WVVA-TV.









Sunday, March 31, 2013 Section II 5









6 Section II Friday, March 29, 2013

Princeton Times

Community & Friday, March 29, 2013


Section III, 1

‘The main thing to remember is that real role models are not perfect; they all may fall short at some point. However, the great thing a real role model can teach us all is that it is not how they fall, but how they pick themselves up and carry on that matters.’ — Vain Colby

Role models for real life Four local people put their talents to work to improve region, inspire community serving as chief deputy.” Bailey was introduced to discipline at a very young RINCETON — In today’s age. society, defining a role “In 1973, I was only 12 model can be a chalwhen my father died, leavlenging task. For many peo- ing my mother to raise me ple, a good role model is and my two sisters. My imperative to staying mother realized I needed a focused on one’s goals in life. father figure in my life, so This person, through she allowed me to enroll in example, will Sensei help keep you William focused on Dillon’s Goju your goal and Ryu Karate inspire you to class. It was be your best. there I When people learned that hear the word if you win you role model, win, and if they may you lose you think of still win movie stars, because you singers or have to work even famous harder for the athletes. next time.” Although Bailey said. there are a “In 1983, I ‘If I could say anyfew excepbegan teachtions when it thing to those who ing karate. I comes to may look up to me must say, my celebrities, students as a role model, it most people taught me a would be to rememlook for qualilot about life ties that are ber we each have a too. Our chilbeyond what dren are defitalent to pass on is on the surnitely are our and to always do face. They future and I are looking at something to make worry about the hard the role modsomeone else’s life work and els that they better.’ determinasee in the — Chief Deputy tion that media. As a Darrell Bailey helped their child, my parrole model ents and achieve their karate success. We instructor are lucky to have some wonwere my role models. They derful real life role models provided me instruction in our area. from the bible and taught In law enforcement me about humility, respect Mercer County Chief and so much more. If I could Deputy Darrell Bailey is a say anything to those who real role model that we can may look up to me as a role all look up to in our area. model, it would be to He has been a member of remember we each have a the Mercer County Sheriff talent to pass on and to Department since 1990. always do something to make someone else’s life bet“After leaving Princeton Police Department, I started ter.” as a detective with the In performing arts Mercer County Sheriff ’s Vain Colby is a local Department. Since that celebrity in his own rite. time, I have been fortunate Colby’s interest in the comenough to obtain all ranks of munication field and persergeant, lieutenant, capforming arts has always tain, major and presently been in his blood.

By JULIE LOCKHART for the Princeton Times


Contributed photo

Inspiring performance... Vain Colby, left, leads the cast of a recent 4 Pals Production of ‘Driving Miss Daisy,’ alongside Louise Stoker and Skip Crane. Colby is a southern West Virginia native who fell in love with performance in elementary school. Today, he is an award-winning playwright and actor who loves to make an audience, laugh, cry and experience real emotion. “I was always interested in acting, even as a child. I would put on skits with my G.I. Joes. My first acting gig came in the fourth grade when the lead in our school play backed out just two weeks before the play,” Colby said, recalling how he took the part. “I remember hearing the loud applause when I finished my number, and I was hooked. I played a talking-singing cat. Every now and then, I see the kid who backed out of that role. Sometimes, I want to go up to him and say thanks.” Colby has been a key actor is many local productions, including “Driving Miss Daisy” and is a founding member of 4 Pals Productions, a company that has brought much delight to our community. “My mother was my role model and my biggest fan. She was such a strong woman, who was very supportive. She told me that I could do and be anything that I wanted!” Colby

Photo by Julie Lockhart

Helping it all add up... Princeton Middle School math teacher Tracy Trexler takes time away from class to make a memory with some of her sixth-graders. added. Colby is hoping to be a role model for those locally who may have an interest in the performing arts. “I don’t believe in mediacreated role models! I think role models should come

from within your own communities. The main thing to remember is that real role models are not perfect; they all may fall short at some point. However, the great thing a real role model can teach us all is that it is not

how they fall, but how they pick themselves up and carry on that matters,” Colby said. In education Teachers can open a world of endless possibilities for children, and a teacher like Princeton Middle School’s Tracy Trexler helps children find their direction. Trexler started her teaching career in 2012, excited about molding young minds and exploring education in a fun way. “I was so blessed to have some wonderful teachers in my school career. One teacher who really sticks out is my third-grade teacher, who taught math. He spent a lot of time working with me helping me understand math and because of him I became a math teacher.” Trexler said. It is true that teachers have an opportunity to be role models where most people do not, because they

Role models, Page 4





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2 Section III Friday, March 29, 2013









Princeton Times

Friday, March 29, 2013 Section III 3

For more than 30 years, Princeton Health Care Center residents and staff have enjoyed Sherri Rose’s...

Service with a smile By TAMMIE TOLER Princeton Times



Rose readily admits she can’t cook for two people. But, she can prepare a meal for Princeton Health Care Center’s 130 residents and staffers with no trouble at all. Thirty years ago, the cheerful assistant dietary manager started her career as a dishwasher. “I’ve been in every position in the kitchen,” Rose said, laughing as she looked back on the experiences that added flavor to life at the center. “It was kindly scary at first, because this was my first job. My boss, she showed me how to wash the dishes once and then left me on my own.” Since then, Rose has progressed from dishwasher to breakfast cook, lunch cook, dessert coordinator and, finally, assistant dietary manager. “I liked breakfast the best,” she said, sheepishly. “You get to go home early. You come in at 4:30 in the morning and leave at 1.” Currently, Rose specializes in ordering supplies and stocking the shelves of the dietary department at PHCC. She also prepares tray cards for each resident, all three meals of the day. The cards showcase a photo of the resident, along with his or her likes, dislikes and any foods they are prohibited to have for medical reasons. In addition, she does a lot more paperwork and payroll calculation that she did that fateful day 30 years ago, when she ran the dishwasher for the first time. “If they need any help in the kitchen at all, I jump in and do what I can,” she said. ••• Rose wasn’t married when she started cooking at Princeton Health Care Center, and preparing meals for her husband, Tony, proved to be a bit of a challenge for the woman accustomed to preparing more than 100 meals at a time. “I still can’t cook for two,” she confessed. But, Tony has gotten used to leftovers, and Sherri has stopped worrying so much about quantity. During her time at Princeton Health Care, she has picked up a long list of recipes and even more helpful kitchen hints, but she

Photos by Tammie Toler

Now serving lunch... Officially, Sherri Rose is an assistant administrator in the Princeton Health Care Center kitchen, but she’s been known to step in wherever an extra hand and help are needed. Above, she prepares meals for the patients who eat in their rooms. Below, the PHCC sign welcomes Rose to her home away from home every day.

Photo by Tammie Toler

Keeping the kitchen stocked... Thirty-year Princeton Health Care Center employee Sherri Rose says she has worked every job in the kitchen. Currently, she is the assistant dietary manager enjoys making sure the center has all the ingredients necessary to prepare nourishing meals for its 130 residents.

‘I enjoy seeing all the people and getting to know everybody. It just feels like home to me. Everybody is always courteous and helps each other. — Sherri Rose, of her career at Princeton Health Care Center

knows the most valuable part of her career has been serving the people who reside inside the establishment designed to feel like home. “I’ve seen a lot of different kinds of residents,” Rose said, a brief shadow crossing her face as she recalled that the oldest resident had recently passed away at the age of 103. “She had been here 20 years.” She loves seeing the employees and residents at PHCC so much, Rose said she’s “not sure” she could work anywhere else and be happy. “I enjoy seeing all the people and getting to know everybody. It just feels like home to me,” she said. “Everybody is always courteous and helps each other.”

••• The residents at PHCC have left many marks on Rose’s heart, but inevitably, some are more special than others. “There was one woman — I called her Granny Nelson,” Rose recalled. “She’d always come up to the counter in the kitchen and ask when the train was coming so she could go to Hinton.” Granny Nelson suffered from a form of dementia, and she usually accepted the staff ’s reports that the train would be along in a few minutes. Short of stature, the little lady needed a walker to stay mobile, but she could make time when she felt like hurrying. “She loved to take off with the bread if we left any on the counter that she could

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get hold of it,” Rose said, chuckling at the memory. A resident named Robert also became a favorite friend. Robert had been involved in an accident at a young age and was rendered paralyzed by the experience. Sardines were one of his favorite treats, and Rose prepared them just right. “He always brought me his sardines to do — to put on crackers and put mustard on them,” she said. “He got so that he would even call my husband and ask him to bring him some beer up here.” Tony usually made the beer run, after checking to make sure it was allowed for residents of the facility. Then, there was a woman known only to Rose as Ms. Groseclose.

“She was a little, tiny lady. She reminded me of my great-grandmother,” she said. Rose remembered that she routinely took Ms. Groseclose for shopping trips at Mercer Mall. ••• When she isn’t at work in the kitchen or her office, where a freezer was once situated, Rose enjoys hunting out bargains at flea markets and making her rounds through gun shows. “A lot of the same people go to all the local shows, and you get used to seeing them and talking to them. It’s nice,” she said. She also likes to build on her impressive collection of cookbooks. “Tony would tell you, ‘There’s not one cookbook she doesn’t have,’” Rose said. “But, I love to cook, and I like my recipes.” Her favorite dishes include lasagna and chicken casserole. Lasagna is simply fun to make and eat, and she said her chicken casserole usually gets rave reviews from the people lucky enough to partake when it’s served. Much has changed in the PHCC kitchen since Rose

found her niche there, but Rose has adapted quite well. PHCC Administrator Roger Topping described Rose as consistent, trustworthy and extremely dependable. “She communicates very well,” Topping said. “Sherri has really been the glue that has held the kitchen together over the years. She’s the one constant we’ve had in that department, and everyone knows they can rely on her to get things done well.” The staff changes are probably the most significant change Rose has seen during her career. “We have a lot more younger people in the kitchen than we used to. We’ve got a whole new generation there,” she said. Her favorite technological advance came in the new hotboxes used to deliver resident meals to their rooms. They make the meals easier to deliver and more enjoyable for the residents, so they are obviously a favorite for the Lashmeet woman who has dedicated so much of her life to her family away from home. “I enjoy being here. I love it,” Rose said. — Contact Tammie Toler at

4 Section III Friday, March 29, 2013

Princeton Times

One Can a Week feeds many families Concord University students take philanthropic endeavor outside classroom

ect from our Community Based Research class to another political science did not go very smoothly, and the program began to falter. It was for that reason that I — as well as some fellow classmates — were very excited when we were told we would be picking it up again.” The re-introduction of the program was not an easy process. “It involves a lot of going door-to-door, which in turn requires a lot of walking. Not to mention, everyone in Athens now has my phone number, which would nor-

mally scare someone to death,” Bailey said. “Since my fellow classmates and I have handed out flyers throughout all of Athens, I’ve received a few phone calls from individuals saying that they would be more than happy to participate. I talked to a little old lady last week who told me that she knows there are a lot of really needy people out there. [She said ] that people with more than enough should be more than willing to give in order to help them, and she begged my forgiveness in the event that she would forget one week to put a can of food on her porch. It’s just refreshing to know that people care so much. Kind of restores your faith in humanity.” The objective of One Can a Week is straightforward: Help feed the hungry in the community. “But I’m not so naive as to believe that this will be the only thing we accomplish. My class is working very closely with students in two other political science classes to implement this program. I personally hope that this project gives those individuals a better understanding of their community that will erase most of the negative picture they have in their heads. I think One Can a Week is a great way to build the strength of the community as a whole. I think that when people can come together to help others, they help themselves in return,” Bailey said. The classes quickly learned that starting a project is not the most difficult phase of implementation.

“Keeping it going is what is hard. You have to really become committed to things that mean a lot to you,” Bailey said. “Responsibility is just as key. It is my class’s job to lead the others in accomplishing the tasks necessary for One Can a Week. If those tasks are not completed, it comes back on us. It’s a real team effort to accomplish something like this. Knowing that an entire community is depending on you is a big deal. But it’s one where the pros definitely outweigh the cons.” Bailey knows that her work with One Can a Week has changed her perspective forever. “Working so closely with One Can a Week isn’t something you can just forget about. I spent many days over my summer break wondering if our program was still as successful as the day we started. I definitely think it will influence my career choice. We have been helping people, even changing lives, and that feels good,” she said. “I volunteered at the Bluefield Union Mission’s soup kitchen frequently my senior year of high school. So I know first hand that there are so many people in our community who are in need of some assistance. I’ve been driven to help people my entire life. One Can a Week definitely helped me fulfill my need to help others, and after having that need fulfilled, I honestly couldn’t see myself doing anything but helping people for the rest of my life.” — Contact Jeff Harvey at

East River Medical Arts in Bluefield and is responsible for the health and wellbeing of her patients. “I want to be remembered for doing my best for them. I am especially dedicated to the rural community we live in. Some of these patients have nowhere else to go. We offer them hope and healing

where they may have otherwise been neglected,” Anderson said. When we speak with our children about their role models, let us remember that real people can be role models for them too. The best role models that they will ever have are in front of them every day.

They are not just police officers, teachers, nurses but also a neighbor or parent as well. It is important that we emphasis that role models are more than an a dollar amount in a bank account but are actually about the amount of differences that they make in someone’s life.

By JEFF HARVEY for the Princeton Times


THENS — For more

than 40 students from Concord University, charity begins at home as the “One Can A Week” food collection program helps area food pantries stock their shelves. Dr. James White, professor of political science at CU, the faculty adviser for the project said, “This was an idea that the students in our community-based research class chose in 2012, modeled on a program in Tucson, Ariz. The program has been in place for about one year. Students generally collect the cans on Sunday afternoon and deliver them to an appropriate food pantry later that week. “There have been more than 40 students who have participated at one time or another in this important project that fosters civic engagement for all involved.” The effort includes volunteers from multiple classes, the Bonner Scholars program, and the University 100 classes required of all Concord University freshmen. Senior Brooke Bailey, one of the student leaders for the project said, “One Can a Week was started about a year ago in my communitybased research class. Our professor, Dr. White, requires a great many, if not all, of his classes to participate in what he calls a citizen action project. This was one of those classes. In some cases — such as this one — students generally get to

Contributed photo

Setting local tables... Nonperishable food collected by a Concord University food drive will benefit families in need through a local effort associated with One Can a Week. Essentially, students have gone door to door throughout Athens, asking residents to donate one can of food each week to help feed local families that might go hungry otherwise. choose what kind of project with which we would like to participate. Dr. White had heard about a program started in Tucson, Ariz., called One Can a Week. When the time came for my class of nine students to pick what project we wanted to do, he really advocated One Can a Week. So honestly, to appease our professor, we chose One Can a Week. She added, “Each of us soon realized how easily a simple project can change the way you view the world. Picking up the food is one thing, but we had the opportunity to meet most of the

people who donated on a weekly basis. And I strongly believe that it is that human factor that makes a really big difference. We collected food every Sunday around 2 p.m. and ended up with about 100 pounds worth each time, which is incredible in my opinion to realize that such a small community in a very rural area would be so giving. A lot of the families who donated on a regular basis didn’t exactly look like they had a surplus to give, but they gave anyway, and that is huge in my opinion. The transition of responsibility of the proj-

Role models... Continued from Page 1 have one-on-one contact with our youth. “I think being a teacher plays a huge role in a child’s life. As a teacher, I have the opportunity to inspire a child to be something great and by doing so is one of the greatest gifts that I can ever give them and myself,” Trexler said. Trexler encourages one-onone involvement with her students by asking them to share anything interesting that may have happen to them and that they would like to discuss. These discussions normally include what they did over their week. Trexler considers herself not only a math teacher but believes her role is to also encourage a student’s participation not only in class but in their communities. “By participating in their own community, they too can be a role model for other children.” Trexler said. In medicine So many times, medical personnel are not people we look forward to seeing. It is a stigma that they deal with on a daily basis, but the determination and time that it takes to earn a degree in medicine shows that they do not take their profession lightly. Jennifer Anderson became interested in medicine and nursing when her father became ill and had to have home health aides come in and assist him with his care. “I was immediately intrigued. I eventually became a home health aide, basically doing baths, shopping for people who were homebound. I decided in 1997 to move to Bluefield and attend BSC for my nursing degree,” Anderson said. After lots of hard work and dedication, Jennifer

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Princeton Times

Friday, March 29, 2013 Section III 5

Contributed photos

Offering love... Lauren Woodson, pictured above with a child in Haiti, will spend the next year working at an orphanage there, as part of the Hands and Feet organization. Woodson says she believes God intends for her to use the love in her heart and her artistic talents to improve life for the children of Haiti. At left, Haitians show off their new shoes.

Hands, feet and hope in Haiti Lauren Woodson leaves Lilly Grove Baptist family to focus on God’s work abroad mother to a group of 31 Haitian orphans in desperate need of love and hope. She will be working with an orphanage in Grand Goave, seeking to provide children with the family they have never known. Along the way, she’ll also teach the children art as a potential vocational venture for their future and as a form of artistic therapy. “While in Haiti, the Hands and Feet Project is allowing me to put my God-given talents to use by developing an art program for the children,” she wrote in a letter to her church family and mission supporters recently. “The art program will not only provide art therapy to help them deal with the

By TAMMIE TOLER Princeton Times RINCETON — Lauren


Woodson was working at the Wade Center and studying studio art at Virginia Tech when she became convinced that God wanted her to go to Haiti. The idea of a lifetime started with a simple conversation between the 2008 Graham High School graduate and her friends. “I had worked at the Wade Center in Bluefield, and a group of us who worked there decided that we wanted to do a mission trip to Haiti,” Woodson recalled recently. The friends were inspired by the missions groups they hosted at The Wade Center, who spent their time coordinating Vacation Bible School events, assisting in nursing homes and more throughout southern West Virginia. The group of Wade Center friends found a faith-based organization looking for missionaries willing to work a week at a time in the tiny Caribbean nation ravaged by earthquakes and poverty, and they set out to touch as many lives as possible in a short period of time. The rest of the group returned to the States after a week, but Woodson was touched by the simplicity of life in Haiti and plight of her people. She seized the opportunity to fill an internship position with the Hands and Feet Project and stayed for more than two months. “That’s when I fell in love with Haiti, and I knew I wanted to serve there,” she said. Initially, Woodson planned to work with Hands and Feet to start a Christian-based orphanage for a small number of the more than 50,000 orphans in Haiti. Through a fast-paced turn of events, however, she wound up working with other missionaries to care for children removed from the Son of God orphanage in Carrefour, Haiti, where children were found to be malnourished, abused and even sold. Once missionaries began sending word of the atrocities back to America, a petition soon took shape, calling the United Nations’ attention to the orphanage, and in a move rare for Haiti, officials closed the orphanage and arrested its director. Some of the children reported to have been living there during 2011 remain missing and unaccounted for. Woodson was in Haiti when the orphanage closed. “That was when I really got the feeling that I belonged there,” she said. “I know that it seems like none of us can really change the world, but a bunch of people doing a few small things really adds up.” ••• It was the resiliency of the

Contributed photos

Making smiles happen... Lauren Woodson embarks on a year-long mission trip to Haiti this week, where she has already completed two shorter trips to the nation that struggles with poverty so much families often turn their children over to the government.

Haitian people that most touched Woodson, as she worked with Hands and Feet to look out for the basic necessities of children dealt a harsh hand in life. “The poverty there is so deep. A lot of the children living in orphanages aren’t really orphans,” she said. “Many of their parents get to such a stage in their lives that they feel like they can’t take care of the children, and they leave them to the government to take care of.” In a Third World country, however, many of the offerings are meager. “The families, they just live in the open most of the time, in huts or whatever shelter they can make or find,” Woodson said. At first, the missionary missed hot showers, air-conditioning to cool the stifling heat and the ability to determine her own menu. “Here, we eat because we like the way certain food tastes, and we kind of forget that food is one of our necessities,” she said. “There, people eat because they have to eat to live. There isn’t always a lot of choice in what is eaten.” Despite all the difficult adjustments, however, Woodson saw a beauty in the simplicity of Haitian life. “Now, I’m kind of in love with it,” she said.

••• In fact, the Haitian culture and the need of the children she served that first summer stayed so close to Woodson’s heart that she decided to go back. In the summer of 2012, she spent three months there, again working with orphaned children who know very little luxury in life. They were thrilled with the opportunity to visit a public swimming pool, and the experience will stay with Woodson forever. “It was really an awesome experience to watch them swim in a place where they were safe and they knew they could relax and have fun,” she said. “Many of them had been swimming in the ocean before, but never in a situation where they could just let loose and be kids.” After that experience, and completing her studio art degree, Woodson knew she couldn’t turn her back on Haiti forever, when she left in the late summer. She immediately began seeking ways to get back to her home away from home. She found the Hands and Feet Project, founded by the Christian band Audio Adrenaline in 2004. Through the Hands and Feet Project, Woodson will spend the next year serving as a sort of surrogate big sister and a house

trauma they have experienced, but also teach other valuable life skills. Through the program, the children will learn business and marketing skills, Biblical money management, and art techniques, which could lay the foundation for a potential career.” While her primary goal is to help the children with whom she works grow up knowing love and knowing God, Woodson is aware of the challenges. “We often hear missionaries say that Haiti is 50 percent Catholic, 50 percent Protestant and 100 percent Voodoo,” she said. “Voodoo is so engrained in their lifestyle and their culture, it’s going to take a lot of time to over-

come that.” In addition to cultural issues, there are also financial obstacles. “I’m not paid a salary. It’s 100 percent volunteer, so I have to fundraise enough money to cover my cost of living,” she explained. As such, she’s been working hard to secure one-time financial gifts, as well as long-term sponsorships to furnish the approximately $1,000 she’ll need to make it through each month in Haiti. She’s partnering with her home church, Lilly Grove Baptist, to make the trip a reality, and Woodson believes God will help her get where she needs to be, in terms of

Woodson, Page 6

6 Section III Friday, March 29, 2013

Princeton Times

Running on faith... From Wii tourneys to a 5K in May, New Salem UMC strengthens God’s family ties By FAWN MUSICK for the Princeton Times RINCETON — The small, white church building graces the top of the hill on Route 20 just 2 1/2 miles north of the bank at Bluewell. It has a lovely steeple, stained glass windows and a new entry foyer. The original building dates to 1874 when John Shrader gave the land for the Methodist Episcopal Church South. Since then, the sanctuary has been flip-flopped and now faces Route 20. The outhouses have been removed, a kitchen has been added, and a new entryway welcomes all who attend. The building is a beautiful model of a rural church set on a hill, but what is most compelling about New Salem United Methodist Church are the members who come together to give true meaning to the word “church.” Originally composed of family members, New Salem has grown and evolved into a community of believers who function as a large family. Approximately 40 members gather weekly to encourage, teach, and love each other. The primary focus of New Salem is relationship. Our confidence in intergenerational relationships allows all members to learn and grow from each other. The summer family retreat is a time set apart for us to go and learn how to relax and play together. We learn the importance of belonging to a family within the larger family of God. This is a time of enjoyment away from the stress of daily life where we can “Be Still and Know God” together. The annual Christmas play is filled with actors and actresses of every age working together. The oldies learn to paste their lines into their phones and the young ones learn how to have fun without being embarrassed.


Photos by Greg Barnett

Growing in spirit, strength... Above, members of New Salem United Methodist Church’s 5K team pause for prayer before beginning a recent training session for the Sam White Memorial 5K Race set for May 4. Church family members of every age and fitness level are encouraged to accept the challenge to be healthier, honor a member of the community and enjoy each others’ company. At left, the New Salem United Methodist Church traces its roots back to 1874.

Our activities are intentionally intergenerational so that even the youngest member knows that they are important and that they are an integral part of the church family. Some of our regular events include: • Movie night, where we all gather to eat and then watch a cartoon and movie together; • The Easter Egg hunt; • Decorating the Christmas tree together; • A Wii bowling tournament; • And, a Halloween party. Throughout the year, we have activities which create new, or maintain older, relationships within our larger community. Two times a year we get together to make Brunswick stew and either donate it to the Union Mission or sell it to raise funds for our youth projects. Each month, we volunteer to provide a meal at the Union Mission. At Christmas, we provide a live nativity located in

Glenwood Park. All donations are then given to help the Bible in the School program at Glenwood. In addition, we have a weenie wagon. When we have a need, and the weather allows, we meet on a Saturday at the bank in Bluewell and sell hot dogs, cookies and drinks. The weenie wagon is a great way to teach the young how to work for what they want and have fun at the same time. At times we get a little crazy, or ambitious, with our family activities, but we are always willing to try. Our newest project is to run the 5K on May 4, honoring Sam White, from Princeton. The middle-aged, the old, the infirm, the afflicted, even the youngest of the congregation are being urged out to the track to run. Our fearless leader is a regular runner, so he cannot fathom the difficulties some of us will face in the coming weeks. However, we are a brave lot, and we know the bigger promise is that we will have fun together and

Woodson... Continued from Page 5 money and geography. “I’ve been so blessed the last couple of years, and I believe God will make sure I can make it,” she said. ••• Saying goodbye for a year at a time has been hard on the Woodson family, which is accustomed to shorter trips and semesters spent in Blacksburg, Va. “It definitely took a lot of convincing at first, but they understand now that God has given me the skills that I need to do this,” she said. Although she doesn’t know for sure where life will lead after this year, Woodson knows that God will direct her path through each journey. “I feel like I will always have some part in mission work,” she said. After all, she’s come too far and learned too much to turn back now. “When I first went to Haiti, I honestly didn’t feel like I was prepared t all,” she said. “Over time, I have had a lot of experiences that God has used to open my eyes.” ••• According to the Hands and Feet Project website,, “Our vision is two-fold. First, we will strive to raise a generation of orphaned children who will grow up to reach their God-given potential . Second, we will empower First World citizens to part-

have exaggerated stories to tell in the future. We use our church facebook page to post training schedules, poems to the race director, and encouragement. Below is a sample posting of the first week’s training schedule Day 1: Thought about the race. Day 2: Talked to Ann P. about the race. Day 3: Downloaded the Runkeeper application to my phone. Day 4: Snow. Day 5: More snow. And so, the first week of our commitment to run on May 4 was fairly easy. The next week, we were still on our own, and a few of us managed to walk, jog, or run a few steps. Then, our race director tells us we have to meet on Sunday afternoon — right after Sunday lunch no less — to run the track at Princeton. These are called Accountability Runs.

Groaning and gnashing of teeth could be heard in the congregation, but still and all, 24 of us met on that first Sunday and became “accountable” race runners. Our race leader sends out a motivational image each Monday so that we practice during the week as well as on Sundays. Our spiritual lives have been enriched with our quest to conquer the 5K by May 4. If you happen by the Princeton track on a Sunday afternoon, you can clearly hear New Salem members beseeching the Lord for help and endurance as they circle one more time. The race master speeds right on by so as not to interfere with our spiritual growth. The overall plan is for us to meet each Sunday to run together and increase our running/walking times until we are ready for race day. Many will have to walk the entire race and more than a

few have committed to walk/run the race, but the most important part of this race is our willingness to do something extraordinary because we want to be together and we like to give back to the community in which we live. New Salem United Methodist Church will continue to grow and progress through our reliance on relationships. Pastor Mike Smith guides our congregation as we continually seek to know and understand God through bible study, prayer, and family interactions. We nurture established relationships but also welcome every chance to foster new relationships. New Salem meets on Sundays at 9 a.m. for worship and 11:15 for Sunday school. We might not make you run a 5K, but we will make you welcome. Come grow with us.

VENTURE E SOMEWHERE E WONDERFUL L IN N 20133 • Eastern n Caribbean n - Rubyy Princess—Aprill 7—144 (On n Request) • Myrtlee Beach h In n Thee Springg - Aprill 299 – Mayy 2 •Greenbrierr Bunkerr & Moree – Mayy 4 – Saturday • Lancasterr – Amish h Countryy & Noah • Summerr Cruise/bahamass From m Jacksonville—Junee 15-211 (On n Request) •Alaskaa Aboardd Golden n Princesss From m Seattle—Junee 23-30 • Greenbrierr Bunkerr - Julyy 12 • Branson n Showss & Moree Showss – Julyy 155 - 21 • Laura’ss Mysteryy Tourr - Julyy 26-27 • Lancasterr & Noah h - Aug.. 1-3 • Lion n Kingg - Broadwayy In n Charlotte—Augustt 17 • Nationall Quartett Convention n – Louisville,, Kyy – Sepp 9-11 • Niagaraa Fallss & Torontoo - Septt 166 - 20,, 2013 • Biltmoree Housee Att Christmas— — Novv 166 - Saturday • Dollywoodd – Novemberr 23 • Savannah h & Charleston,, S C Att Christmass - Decc 5 - 8


Contributed photo

At the beach... Lauren Woodson spends a day at the beach with some of the children served by a Haitian orphanage during a previous mission trip. While spending time at the beach is not new for the children, Woodson says one of her favorite experiences came when she accompanied them to a swimming pool, where they could play safely and simply be children. ner with us in service at home and abroad” To do that, the mission focuses on living up to the following core values: • Christian morals and the love of Christ; • The long term, familystyle care of each child; • A healthy environment to grow and every opportunity to succeed • The importance of helping mothers in crisis keep their children, and view our villages as the best, last resort for care giving • Empowering first world citizens to partner with us in

serving children in need • Excellence, integrity, and accountability. Woodson is set to leave the States for her year in Haiti on March 30, but she can still use help of faithful people moved to assist. To help, send monthly or one-time donations to Lilly Grove Baptist Church at 1012 Oakwood Ave., Princeton, WV 24740, or donate online at She also welcomes prayer. — Contact Tammie Toler at


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Princeton Times

Friday, March 29, 2013 Section III 7

Mercer Health Department Administrator:

New home will improve safety, MCHD quality of life By JEFF HARVEY for the Princeton Times LUEFIELD — The


Mercer County Health Department is busy keeping the county’s residents safe from health hazards while awaiting a new Mercer County Health Center later this year. Susan Kadar, MCHD administrator/head sanitarian, said, “(The new MCHC) is a much cleaner environment and a more streamlined flow through our clinic. Our employees will be working in a safer and cleaner environment which always helps with providing services. We’ll be able to provide meeting rooms in which to conduct our food handlers schools and a training area for employees. I think it will be a morale booster for both the employees and the public itself to utilize” The new MCHC will be approximately 12,000 square feet and is slated for completion towards the end of September. “It would be really nice to move in before the fall sets in. That’s when flu shot season starts and it would be nice to have the community room be available,” she said. Kadar, who replaced the retired Melody Rickman as MCHD Administrator on January 1, is a 30-year MCHD employee. “I worked at the old building. It had mold and mildew and when it rained outside, it rained inside. Being the hearty public health employees that we are. we endured, but all of us will be good and happy to work in a new clean facility. We’ll be ecstatic and with the support we have from the community, I think they’ll be glad to have a facility like this to serve them.,” Kadar said. As of now, she said, the external walls have been

Susan Kadar: Mercer County Health Department administrator erected and steel roof trusses have been delivered at the construction site of the new center, which will be built on the site of the old MCHC.. “Of course, once the (trusses) are in place, we’ll see work on the interior go fast,” Kadar said. As for other news. Kadar said the MCHD has been conducting business as usual at the temporary home at the old St. Luke’s Professional Building. “We forge ahead with the programs we established. We’ll be more organized at the new site, with more compactness as compared to the old building which should help us operate more efficiently. We were spread out over a large area at the old Health Center and here, we’re spread out in suites where there’s no easy flow between departments. Once we get into the new place, we’ll be organized as a whole and will be getting into a flow,” she said. She added,”I really can’t say enough about how happy we’ll be. We have what we do in public health and I think

we’ll have it more in the new center Our.job is to educate the public on and implement ways of dealing with public health issues such as disease. We do our job so well sometimes that people don’t know that we exist through keeping people safe from epidemics and food poisoning. We do restaurant inspections, child care facility inspections, school inspections and grocery store inspections. We have a small septic system program. We do protection of individual wells, investigations of animal bites and nuisance complaints. Basically, if it’s in a public place, we make sure that spread of disease doesn’t become a problem.” She added that, in case of communicable disease spread, the MCHD has assets enough to keep it from spreading further. “I would have to say that we have an excellent staff from the public health and the fiscal office, to threat preparedness to the clinic. I was proud of the work we did before I became the administrator and I’m proud of it now.” she said. Kadar added, “I’ve learned how to tackle some problems that I didn’t tackle in the past. It’s a day by day learning process and every time there’s an issue arises. I find a solution. I feel very good that I’ve done something to help the department. I’m going into my 30th year in public health and what I’ve seen and learned most over those years is that I’m ready top tackle a new phase, those who are working for me. I really believe in public health or I wouldn’t have devoted my life to it.” She jokingly concluded, “Come see me in a year and see how much hair I’ve pulled out.” — Contact Jeff Harvey at

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Princeton Times

8 Section III Friday, March 29, 2013

At Big Ben’s Burgers, business is all about flavor, new friends By MATT CHRISTIAN Princeton Times RINCETON — Now that he’s opened Big Ben’s Burgers on Rogers Street, Ben Delp has combined a childhood passion with a lifelong dream. His mom, Debbie, says that for as long as she can remember, Ben has enjoyed cooking. When he was younger, Ben would add his special ingredients and sauces to her dishes. “I’d be cooking something in the crockpot,” Debbie said before Ben returned from a delivery. “And I’d leave to do something else. I’d come back, and it would taste a little different than it did before. That was just Ben adding his own special stuff to the recipe.” Once he returned, Ben confirmed that he had always enjoyed cooking. He adds that he loves watching when people get something to eat that they really enjoy. “It gives you a little sense of pride,” Ben said. Before he opened the restaurant on Brick Street, Delp said he worked at Wendy’s and confirmed that he really enjoyed cooking and watching people enjoy his food. When he learned that the location on Brick Street became available, Delp jumped at the chance to have his own restaurant. His first call once he got the space was to his mother. It had always been a dream of hers to open her own restaurant. “He said, ‘Momma, I can’t do it without you,’” Debbie added. ••• As the two worked on Friday afternoon to fill a few orders, Ben and Debbie talked about their customers. Ben said that pleasing the customer is his main goal at the restaurant. He knows that happy customers mean repeat business and word-of-mouth marketing going in their favor. “If we have a customer that’s a regular and they


Photo by Matt Christian

Made to order... ‘Big Ben’ Delp prepares an order of French fries for a customer at his restaurant on Rogers Street. request something special,” Ben said. “We’ll go and get it for them.” Sometimes satisfying the customers mean asking for a little help from another generation. Debbie explains that she had previously invited her mother to spend a day at the restaurant with them. Eventually, it was decided that Ben’s grandmother would prepare the cornbread part of brown beans and cornbread. “She likes to fry her cornbread,” Debbie said. “She’s only come by once, but I’m still making the cornbread this way.” Debbie was surprised to find that the brown beans and cornbread was a big seller for the restaurant. She thought that each family out there had a special recipe that they used to make the dish. “It’s one of our biggest sellers, though,” Debbie said. ‘To be honest, with our regulars, you see them and you about know what they’re going to order.” ••• Debbie said that one customer that she served was an elderly gentleman. She believed him to be on a fixed income after she saw he always had $2 available in his car everyday to spend on

dinner. She started to add a free helping of whatever soup she had available to his order every time he stopped by. “He came up to me one day and said that he thought our food was the best,” Debbie said. Another customer was actually sitting in the store on Friday afternoon. Debbie explains his presences by saying that he sometimes helps out on his lunch break from the Feed Store. Occasionally, he’ll even answer the phone or take an order. Looking at the customer, Debbie was reminded of another customer. A “little man” approached the window and made an unusual request. He refused to eat at restaurant without seeing his food being prepared. Debbie unlocked the backdoor and let the man in to watch them prepare his order. A few days later, he returned. “He said, ‘You know, that was the best hamburger I’ve had,’” Debbie said. Later, Ben adds that he enjoys hearing and seeing from pleased customers. “It makes you feel good,” Ben said. One time, Debbie’s husband took an order to an elderly lady. Because it was windy, and the lady’s trashcans had blown away from her home. He delivered her order and retrieved the trashcans. She was so pleased that she gave Debbie’s husband a $5 tip. ••• A big selling point for Big Ben’s Burgers is that it delivers to customers. Debbie added that Ben had delivered to quite a few places in Princeton. Another is that Big Ben’s is a local business and very locally minded. “When people shop local, they’re giving back to their community,” Ben said. “We’re both from here and it’s really awesome if you can make your hometown a little bit better.”

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Princeton Times

Courage & Friday, March 29, 2013


Section IV 1

‘And you shall serve the Lord your God, and He shall bless your bread, and your water; and I will take sickness away from the middle of you.’ — Exodus 23:25

Homer’s faith Through heart attacks and surgeries, Princeton man puts his trust and life in God’s hands By TAMMIE TOLER Princeton Times RINCETON — Homer


Skeens has proven he’s a survivor, but he didn't do that alone. After suffering two heart attacks and undergoing two difficult surgeries, the 85year-old Princeton man gives the credit to Dr. Timothy Ball and all the glory to The Great Physician who healed his soul. Homer spent his career working with the City of Princeton's Public Works Department, where he did whatever needed to be done along the way. “I call what I did general work,” he said, seated beside his wife of 12 years, Evelyn, inside their sweet home on Prince Street. Homer poured the first concrete slab at the Princeton Fire Department, and he can't help but beam with a little pride thinking that slab is still in place and helping Princeton's finest protect the citizens from fires and emergency medical situations every day. “I haven't heard anybody say they've had to redo it,” Homer said. While Homer believed he was a good man as he and his first wife raised their children, it wasn't until roughly 13 years ago that he found the deep faith that sustained him through the fight for his life. That battle began sometime in 2011, when Homer realized he was shaking uncontrollably almost all the time. "I went all over the country, and nobody knew what to do," he said. One day, while talking to Evelyn, Homer suggested they seek help at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center's Bowman Gray hospital in North Carolina. So, the couple made the trip, where Homer said two doctors were stumped by his inexplicable shakiness. They ordered some extensive blood testing and sent the Skeens duo on their way home, pledging they would get in touch as soon as the results were in. Homer and Evelyn got the

Photos by Tammie Toler

Studying up on scripture... Above, Homer Skeens, of Princeton, reads through his favorite Bible passage, which includes John 3:16: ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son so that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.’ Although doctors gave Homer little chance of surviving one heart attack and the surgery it would require, Homer prayed over the situation and decided to proceed with surgery. Since then, he has endured another heart attack and a second difficult surgery in Roanoke, Va., but he’s still going strong. He believes God spared his life. At top, Homer holds hands with his wife, Evelyn, inside their Princeton home.

“I looked over the side of my bed, and Jesus was standing there. He said, 'Homer, you and the doctor go to the operating room. I’ll be there with you.’” — Homer Skeens

fateful call before they even made it home. "They called me and said, 'You're having a heart attack. Get to the closest hospital,'" Homer recalled. They quickly made their way to Princeton Community Hospital, where Homer's condition was so serious doctors referred him to Roanoke, Va., Carillion Hospital. Foggy weather conditions on the July 2011 day made a heli-

copter transport impossible, so Homer made the trip to Roanoke via ambulance. Their Ceres Baptist Church Pastor James Mooney followed behind the ambulance and gave Evelyn a ride, so that she could be there with Homer, as he learned the severity of his condition. Once in Roanoke, Dr. Timothy Ball examined Homer delivered some grave news.

Due to the severity of his medical condition and his age, Homer was not considered a good candidate for surgery, and medication would only do so much to improve his prognosis. Evelyn recalled the options clearly. "He said he'd send you home for two months and give you medicine, and you'd die. Or, he said he could put a big stent in, but you'd

probably die during surgery. Or, he said he could cut you wide open, and he wouldn't do that," she said. The doctor advised Homer's four children — Ronald Skeens, Connie Pennington, Marquetta Hager, and Buddy Skeens — of the grim possibilities. And, he told Homer to sleep on the decision for a few hours and let him know which course of action he preferred. "That day, or night — I don't know which it was, to be honest — I started praying," Homer said. He remembered asking God if it was His will to spare his life and allow him to return to Princeton and his family for the rest of his days. "I looked over the side of my bed, and Jesus was standing there. He said,

'Homer, you and the doctor go to the operating room. I'll be there with you.'” The experience is one the devout Christian will never forget. "That was the most beautiful sight that I've ever seen. His garment was just like the wind was blowing; it was just waving," Homer said. "He said to me, 'Homer, you can't touch me, but I can touch you any time.'" He remembers the sensation of Jesus lifting him off the bed and replacing him gently three times, before he lost sight of the Savior he believes allowed him to survive. Outside of Homer's prayers, the nurse who was charged with monitoring his progress was so moved by what she heard that she ran over to him and kissed both cheeks before rushing out to find Ball. "I think she thought I might be dying," Homer said, but he quickly explained that he was just talking to Jesus and that he'd like to proceed with the surgery. The nurses soon alerted Ball, who made his way to Homer's room and said something the Skeenses will never forget. "He said, 'Homer, I hear you've been talking to my Jesus,'" Evelyn piped in. Ball made the necessary arrangements to proceed with the surgery, and he installed a stent in Homer's right coronary artery. The next day, Homer was doing so well, that he walked around the heart unit, much to the delight of the nursing staff, some of whom cried as the man with little chance of survival beat the odds. Other staffers clapped their hands, as he made a victory lap around their station. Soon, Homer went home, and he felt fine, until October 2012, when the trembling and shaking returned. This time, he didn't hesitate before making plans to return to Roanoke and Dr. Ball, and he again prayed that he would survive, if that

Homer, Page 4

2 Section IV Friday, March 29, 2013

Princeton Times

Catholic Charities practices Golden Rule Whether the need is food, clothing or summer camp, faith-based group steps up to help By TAMMIE TOLER Princeton Times RINCETON — Kristen


Harrison believes her job at Catholic Charities of West Virginia allows her to do exactly what Jesus asked us all to do – take care of each other. “It’s about loving our neighbors and living the Golden Rule,” Harrison said. As the director of the Princeton office, which serves as Catholic Charities’ regional outreach office and the West Virginia disaster assistance office, Harrison often sees people in their moments of most need, and, whenever possible, her organization answers the call to love neighbors of all walks, creeds and faiths. “It’s very fulfilling to be able to help someone,” she said, recalling the long stream of people forced by fate to seek help keeping their electricity on or putting food on the table. She recalled one woman in particular, who touched her heart with her humility and the obvious relief when Catholic Charities kept her lights on for one more month. “For so many of our families that are making it month to

Contributed photos

Creating hope... Catholic Charities West Virginia has operated since 1931, under the motto of ‘Providing help. Creating hope. The counties served by the Catholic Charities Southern Region include Mercer, McDowell, Summers, Monroe, Greenbrier, Raleigh, Wyoming, Fayette and Nicholas, and programming includes a summer camp, food pantries and vouchers, utility assistance and more, all in an effort to blend financial assistance with advocacy efforts. month, one little incident can completely blow their budget, and they’re stuck. Many of them don’t know what to do, when what little they have is

used,” Harrison said. The mother who left a lasting impression met those criteria. She had small children and a husband accustomed to

bringing home a regular paycheck. When he was forced to stay off work due to an injury, the mom’s earnings weren’t enough to keep the family

afloat. Harrison could see the anxiety that simply asking for help caused the woman holding tight to her emotions. She had no choice but to ask for assistance; utility companies had given her notice that without payment, her family would be living in the dark, possibly without water. “Once I said, ‘We’ve got this taken care of,’ then, the tears started streaming down her face,” Harrison said. “She didn’t want to come here, but once she knew that, for that period of time, she could go home and her kids weren’t going to be dark and cold, the relief and gratitude were so evident on her face. Then, she knew she was going to be OK for that month.” Although her face plays through Harrison’s mind often, there are dozens, maybe even hundreds of people in the same situation who take the tough step from independence to asking for help every month. “That sense of relief you can see on a person’s face when they really are at their wits’ end and we say we can help, that’s the best part of our days here,” Harrison said. “We don’t want anyone to ever be in that position, but if

they have to be there, we’re glad we can help.” On any given day, Harrison estimates her office receives 10-12 calls for help, and usually, two or three people stop in for information. The numbers grow during particular times, such as the end of the month and the times when local utility companies mail batches of disconnection notices. “We never have enough funding. People give, and they give generously, but every month, we reach a point where we have to say no. That’s hard,” Harrison said. ••• Catholic Charities West Virginia has operated since 1931, under the motto of “Providing help. Creating hope.” The organization’s mission reads, “Catholic Charities West Virginia’s mission is to alleviate poverty, distress and injustice by providing comprehensive social services to the poor an vulnerable, advocating for social justice and calling all people of good will, especially those of the church, to serve.” The counties served by the

Charities, Page 3

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Princeton Times

Friday, March 29, 2013 Section IV 3

Some miracles are Heaven Sent Ministry touches hearts worldwide By HEATHER WILLIAMS for the Princeton Times RINCETON — Tucked away in the hills of West Virginia, inside the Princeton community is a place that is touching the hearts and lives of the local community and around the world. Heaven Sent Ministries, founded in 1997, began as a ministry to help people go on short term mission trips. Heaven Sent assisted in getting tickets for the short term missions trips and connecting the teams with ministries all across the world. The ministry was founded by Princeton native Lyle Mullins and two other associates. The goal of the ministry was to show people the bigger picture of what God was doing around the world. “People who had a heart for ministry were able to be a part,” Mullins says. Today, Heaven Sent Ministries has a full-time staff and several partnering missionaries. Their ministries have expanded to pastor training in countries around the world, like Ghana, medical missions, packaging food to feed starving children and involvement in the local court system. Heaven Sent's mission — “Assisting the church in reaching the world for Christ” — comes in various forms for the staff at Heaven Sent. For Tim Swingle, this means mentoring and being a vital resource to the local drug court system. “I very quickly fell in love with the people and wanted to be a cheerleader and supporter for them,” Swingle says. Not only does Swingle mentor participants one-onone and aid them in preparing and finding the necessary resources, like resumes, reference letters


Charities... Continued from Page 2 Catholic Charities Southern Region include Mercer, McDowell, Summers, Monroe, Greenbrier, Raleigh, Wyoming, Fayette and Nicholas. Programs offered within that region include basic needs and emergency assistance, in which Catholic Charities representatives help low-income individuals and families meet their most basic human needs. The program is designed to blend financial assistance with advocacy efforts to help people in need of food, shelter, clothing, transportation, utilities, rental and prescription assistance. The Wellness Works Food Pantry, which has a headquarters at the Bluefield Sacred Heart Catholic Church site, promotes healthier lifestyles to clients. “We tend to ask them a lot of health-related questions,

File photos by Tammie

Packed with care... Above, Clay Comer, Olivia Ross and Madison Comer work part of a Heaven Sent Ministries Hunger Challenge in 2012 at Johnston Chapel Baptist Church. The organization packaged more than 200,000 meals to send to missionaries in Ghana. Below-left, Cari Southers and Sherri Ross await packages of the soyand-rice casserole their team packaged. Below-center, Linda Wall and Lee Rice pass the food along the assembly line. Below-right, Julie Miller, Dawn Lester and Maribeth Dockery measure each package of nutritious, dehydrated casserole.

and finding local employment, needed after graduation from the drug court system, he also extends an invitation to the participants to attend Thursday luncheons that provides them an opportunity to hear the Gospel. “Its important to connect with them,” Swingle says.

“Because its not only about an outward change, but also an inward change.” For Jason Bowden, this means working heavily with the IT and the 216 ministry. Though, he says he duties go beyond just those. He also helps with the logistics of the Hunger Challenge as well as helping put together

videos. “You may have a list of one to 10, and you walk through the door and you may not even get to number one,” Bowden says. With Heaven Sent being a small organization, the staff is close knit and able to be involved with all of their ministries.

“The people here are patient, flexible and supportive of the individual staff members who are following in Christ's will,” Swingle says. Opportunities are available for the community to join in Heaven Sent's ministry, such as participating in their annual Hunger

Challenge, volunteering at the Heaven Sent office with various projects and even participating in both short term and long term mission trips, such as Peru, Brazil and Ghana. For more information about Heaven Sent and all of their ministries, you can visit

and especially if they have specific conditions light heart problems or diabetes, we suggest certain foods that would be better for them,” Harrison explained. By gaining individual information on food pantry clients, Catholic Charities workers try to tailor food orders to the clients’ specific nutritional needs. Catholic Charities’ Disaster Recovery Services are not considered to be a first responder, but the organization remains active in longterm recovery whenever and wherever disaster strikes. Catholic Charities representatives work with people throughout the state in response to widespread and personal emergency and disaster situations. Once the first-responders have completed the most immediate examination and needs assessments, Catholic Charities works with Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters, better known as VOAD, and helps promote long-term recovery.

“We have the most wonderful volunteers, and often, it’s our volunteers that make these recovery efforts possible,” Harrison said. Recently, she said she was thrilled when Natalie Fanning and her mom, Mary Faulds, stepped up and coordinated a food drive to benefit West Virginians hit particularly hard by Hurricane Sandy. “We have amazing volunteers all the time, but it’s really special when they get involved in a widespread recovery effort,” Harrison said. ••• In addition to the Princeton office, Catholic Charities West Virginia features a Summers County office, known as Loaves & Fishes. This office sponsors a residential summer camp each year for low-income children. “The summer camp is so much fun,” Harrison said. Her most favorite camper of all time didn’t even live in southern West Virginia. Instead, he spent each sum-

mer with his grandmother, because his mom was a single mom who couldn’t afford day care when school wasn’t in session. One of the highlights of his summer became getting to attend the Loaves & Fishes camp. “It was just terrific to watch this little boy grow, and see how much fun he was having and the friendships that he developed, all because of camp,” Harrison said. Another unique feature of the Loaves & Fishes office is its garden. In a bid to make the food pantry sustainable, workers plant and harvest the garden to supplement the stocks that are donated and provided for the pantry. Loaves & Fishes also offers a Thrift Store that accepts donations of gently used large and small household items and clothing for lowcost resale to help fund outreach services. Meanwhile, the Catholic Charities West Virginia office in McDowell County’s

Eckman offers GED completion, job skills, computer, literacy and money management classes. The office also coordinates GED completion and basic literacy courses at the Stevens Correctional Center. Rachel’s Vineyard conducts specialized retreats for men and women searching to heal from the traumatic wound of abortion. Provided in a weekend retreat format, the process is primarily a journey of faith. ••• While Harrison knows there will never be enough money available to help all the people who need assistance, she knows the Catholic Charities staff does all it can to offer hope to everyone who seeks it. Some days, the reward comes in a smile, a relieved expression, or the introduction of a beloved family member. The last was the case with a grandmother who sought help stocking her pantry. “We were talking, and she

explained to me that she was taking care of her grandson and that she needed a little extra help,” Harrison said. “I told her how fortunate her grandson was to have her in his life, and she went on her way after a while.” Later in the day, as Harrison prepared to close the office at the end of a busy day, she looked up to see the grandmother walking toward the office with a little guy in tow. “She had brought him back to meet me, because she was so proud of him. That was special,” she said. ••• Catholic Charities West Virginia’s Princeton office is situated at 602 Ritchie Street. Anyone seeking assistance generally should plan to have proof of income, a picture ID and something showing your address. For more information, call 304-425-4306. — Contact Tammie Toler at

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Princeton Times

4 Section IV Friday, March 29, 2013

Daughters of Jerusalem sew love into pillows so that recipients may find a...

Soft place to pray By TAMMIE TOLER Princeton Times RINCETON — A pillow


may seem like a simple offering in times of sickness, but the Daughters of Jerusalem know their pillows pack the power of prayer. The Fairview Community Christian Church’s Daughters of Jerusalem Ladies Ministry just started sewing Prayer Pillows early this year, but they’ve already completed and blessed more than 120 pillows designed to offer comfort during some of life’s most difficult times. “We were inspired by Kee Street United Methodist Church’s Prayer Shawls Ministry,” Daughters of Jerusalem member Linda Joyce said. “Barbara Parsons told me about how popular their shawls were, and I thought it was really a good idea.” But, Joyce was busy and never intended to take the idea to her ladies group — until she couldn’t get the project off her mind. “I just kept thinking about it and thinking about it, and I tried to tell God that I really didn’t have time to take on something else right now,” she said. The thoughts proved persistent, however, and before long, Joyce presented the idea of Prayer Pillows to the Daughters of Jerusalem, who seized the opportunity to send some extra love and prayers into the community inside their special pillows. “It’s been such a blessing to all of us, and the ministry has really taken off,” Joyce said. The Daughters of Jerusalem group meets once each month to have fellowship, do devotions and enjoy each other’s company. “It’s one night a month that we women can be together and just enjoy one another,” Joyce said. “We can get away from our homes, our families, whatever distracts us on a regular day.” In addition, each Daughters of Jerusalem session includes a Prayer Box. Each lady is asked to write her prayer requests on an index cards, and the cards are passed around the group so that each participant can pray individually over the requests. Once the circular prayer is complete, the women place all the cards inside the Prayer Box and

Homer... Continued from Page 1 was God's will for his life. Homer suffered another heart attack, and his condition had worsened, reaching the left side of Homer's heart. His prognosis was equally, if not more, dire than when he'd first arrived at Roanoke. Again, Ball performed risky surgery, with Homer's endorsement and many prayers. The procedure required the use of one device to support Homer's blood pressure, while another ground through the plaque his arteries. This surgery left him with seven stents and even more faith in God's healing power and Ball's expertise. "When Dr. Ball got done operating, and he walked around to my left side, he said, 'Homer, we're done. The man above stepped in again, didn't he?'" Homer said. "I told him, 'He sure did.'" Since then, Homer's reports have been good, and he's feeling fine, as he makes it a practice to invite friends, neighbors, relatives and sometimes even strangers to church to hear the message he knows saved his life and will one day insure his eternity in Heaven. "Anybody who reads the Bible will tell you, time is drawing near for Him to come again, and I'd like to

D Contributed photo

Stitched in prayer... The Daughters of Jerusalem have made more than 100 Prayer Pillows to comfort everyone from tiny children to servicemen and women in harm’s way. talk to God as one. In addition to the Prayer Pillows Ministry, the organization operates a program called Feed the Sheep, which takes meals to sick members of the community. Members organize a Women’s Conference each October at the Church, and each spring, they embark on a retreat in Tennessee. “You get a group of women together in a cabin, and we’re pretty real with each other. We’ll sit around in the morning, in our pajamas and without our makeup, and we’ll tell each other anything,” Joyce said. “But anything that is shared among the Daughters of Jerusalem goes no further than that group at that time.” The group totals approximately 30-35 women. Schedules won’t allow everyone to take part in the Prayer Pillows Ministry, so a handful of women works to sew the pillows at home, after the group blesses the fabric. Once a month or so , the whole group gets together to stuff them and package the gift cards carrying Bible scripture, a healing prayer and a prayer cloth that has been anointed with healing oil. Then, a group of pillows is presented to the entire Fairview Community Church congregation, where they are again blessed by Rev. Larry Dyer and the entire congregation. “We’ve found such peace working on this project,” Joyce said. The pillows are sewn of many different colors and prints, so that there’s an

offering for everyone — men, women, children, servicemen and servicewomen, etc. The ladies in the group will deliver the pillow, or a friend or family member may request a pillow and deliver it themselves. The main objective is for the recipient to know the pillow is full of love, blessings and prayers. Sometimes the Daughters of Jerusalem know the story behind the pillow request. Other times, they have no idea. One lady requested a pillow for her son, who was struggling through marital problems. Another asked for a pillow to help her grandson through some health challenges. Residents at a local nursing home embraced the Prayer Pillows like life lines. “All these pillows really are is a 14 x 20 piece of cloth and some poly-fill, but those people acted like we had given them $1 million,” Joyce said. The Daughters of Jerusalem believe it’s the prayer and peace sewn into the pillows that make all the difference. Prayer Pillows may not be purchased, as they are a gift from the Daughters of Jerusalem and Fairview Community Christian Church. To request a prayer pillow, call: Fairview Christian Community Church, 304-4252029; Myra Dyer, 304-9527037; Linda Joyce, 304-9205086; Tammy Rose, 304-9109706; Laura Cecil, 304-9206754. — Contact Tammie Toler at

see everybody ready to meet Him, and that way, He'd say, 'Welcome. Come on home,'" Homer said. "If you go to Heaven, you get a new body and never grow old. And, you're going to be walking on gold. He says you never have to want for anything. He's

preparing everything for you. Who wouldn't want to go to Heaven and never have to worry about nothing? He said there won't be no sorrow. You never have to worry. You'll always be happy." — Contact Tammie Toler at

ear Lord of Mercy and Father of Comfort: You are the one I turn to for help in moments of weakness and times of need. I ask you to be with your servant in this illness. Psalms 107:20 says that you send out your word and heal. Please send your healing word to your servant. In the name of Jesus, drive out all sickness from this body. Dear Lord, I ask you turn this weakness into strength, suffering into compassion, sorrow into joy and pain into comfort for others. May your servant trust in your goodness and hope in your faithfulness, even in the middle of this suffering. Let them be filled with patience and joy in your presence as they wait for your healing touch. Please restore your servant to full health, dear Father. Remove all fear and doubt form their heart by the power of your Holy Spirit, and may you be glorified through their life. As you heal and renew your servant, Lord, may they bless and praise you. Amen.

Sewn with care... Above, even the labels that adorn the Daughters of Jerusalem Prayer Pillows are made by hand. The ladies from Fairview Community Christian Church work on the special pillows individually and then meet occasionally to stuff the gifts they hope lift the spirits of people in need. At left, each pillow includes a pocket that comes filled with a card featuring a healing prayer, and cloth carrying oil blessed by Pastor Larry Dyer and prayed over by the church’s congregation. Contributed photos

Princeton First United Methodist Church 100 Center Street, Princeton, WV

First United Methodist Church

Family Ministries Center

Sunday Morning Worship Service 10:50 am Live Sunday Morning Broadcast 95.9 FM 11 am-noon.

Sunday School for all ages: 9:30 am Lead Pastor: Scott Sears Youth Director: Becky Schaeffer Christian Education Team: Barbara Ballard, Laura Croy, Jamie Suroski MISSION STATEMENT First United Methodist Church is a body of believers who gather to worship God, to learn, to nurture, to make disciples, to serve, to promote God’s Kingdom, to love unconditionally, and to become more like Christ as individuals and as a church.

Sharing God’s Love - Teaching God’s Word - Spreading God’s Hope Visit us @ Join us for a Live Webcast of the Sunday Worship each week. Church Office 304-425-2283 • email:

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Princeton Times

Friday, March 29, 2013 Section IV 5

Whenever friends are sick or grieving, Kee Street UMC ministry crochets to make them feel...

Wrapped in God’s love By TAMMIE TOLER Princeton Times


RINCETON – Barbara

Parsons desperately wanted to wrap a friend in a healing hug, but the only productive thing she seemed able to do was to pray for the woman who meant the world. “I kept wondering to myself what I could do to help her get better, to let her know how much I wanted to help,” Parsons said. Then, she ran upon a story of a prayer shawl ministry started by Janet Bristow and Victoria Galo, who graduated in the 1997 Women’s Leadership Institute at The Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Conn. The dynamic duo started the ministry soon after their graduation in an effort to offer comfort, peace and a warm embrace during dim times. “Shawls … made for centuries, universal and embracing, symbolic of an inclusive, unconditionally loving God. They wrap, enfold, comfort, cover, give solace, hug, shelter and beautify. Those who have received these shawls have been uplifted and affirmed, as if given wings to fly above their troubles,” Bristow once wrote. After taking a little time to research prayer shawls and identify a simple pattern that could be crocheted relatively easily for the crafty faithful, Parsons took the idea to her friends at Kee Street United Methodist Church, where the local Prayer Shawl Ministry was soon formed. Currently, there are approximately eight women who gather for one hour each Thursday to crochet and pray for people in the community. Some of the 90-some recipients are familiar to the ladies who weave love into their yarn work; others are simply stories of struggling people attempting to overcome difficult obstacles. But, all of the potential recipients stay close to the hearts of the women crocheting what they hope will be shawls that help. Parsons said the Kee Street UMC Prayer Shawl Ministry has a sweetly simple goal “to give out as many shawls as we possibly can to those who need extra prayer and extra comfort.” The prayer warriors who wield crochet hooks take every precaution to make sure the shawls are clear of any hazard throughout the crafting process. “We always wash our hands before we crochet and any time that we’re working on them,” she said, even rubbing on a bit of hand sanitizer before removing a pink piece of art that had been faithfully crafted during a recent crochet session.

A gift of warmth and prayer... Kee Street United Methodist Church started a Prayer Shawl Ministry within the last year, meeting occasionally to work on the shawls and pray that the recipients of the soft gifts experience healing and hope as a result of the faithful effort. Above, each ministry member prays while working on the shawl; then, the combined ministry group prays over the offerings. At left, Barbara Parsons showcases one of the completed shawls. Above-right, each shawl is wrapped in tissue paper and tied to a card signed by everyone who has blessed the shawl. Photos by Tammie Toler and contributed

Throughout each weekly meeting, participants share any thank-you notes they have received and follow-up on the progress of previous shawl recipients. “We all really enjoy hearing how the shawls have affected the people who have received them,” Parsons said. Parsons said the process that each shawl follows is fairly simple, with prayer playing a bigger part in its completion than the perfect rows of stitches. “The yarn is blessed before we start to crochet the shawl. The maker of the shawl prays for the recipient all the time she is making the shawl,” according to a brochure explaining the Kee Street Prayer Shawl Ministry. “She may or may not know the name or circumstances of the recipient, but she prays that they will feel God’s comfort and pres-

ence and the love and prayer of Kee Street United Methodist Church.” Once the shawls are completed, the members often pass them around so that each member can individually pray over the warm offering. Then, once each month the Prayer Shawl workers present the church with a number of the shawls, and the congregation members and pastor pray over the pieces before they are presented to the recipients. “It’s a continuous praying thing,” Parsons said. That continuity proceeds throughout the presentation. Parsons said the person delivering the shawl is asked to wrap the recipient in the shawl and share a prayer with the recipient before leaving. “To deliver a shawl to someone and have prayer with them is just a really special,

spiritual experience,” she said. “We never know just what you’re going to say, but the Lord seems to lead where we need to go and what we need to say.” Plus, when a shawl delivery is scheduled, the church’s Prayer Chain Ministry is activated, so that multiple people pray for the recipient at the same time. ••• Parsons started the shawls with just beige and white gifts, but the ministry soon expanded, offering the colors meaning. Pink shawls symbolize women’s cancer; green shawls are presented to people suffering the loss of loved ones; and yellow and blue are crafted to offer cheer for people who are ill or need additional comfort and God’s support for a number of reasons. Once the shawls are completed, extra care is taken to

make the presentation special. Each finished shawl is wrapped in white tissue paper and ribbon and adorned with decorative stickers showcasing praying hands to symbolize the prayer that went into the making of the garment. Then, ministry members attach a small card explaining the ministry and carrying the signatures of everyone who blessed the shawl, adding a personal touch for people not present for the delivery of the gift. The entire package is placed inside a white gift bag carrying contact information for Kee Street UMC. “Recipients really seem to enjoy our presentation,” Parsons said. ••• Parsons and the Prayer Shawl team infuse love into each shawl, and they thrive on stories that show their faith has been fulfilled in a shawl presentation. One of Parsons’ favorite recipients is a tiny baby born premature and given little chance of survival. The Kee Street Prayer Shawl Ministry jumped at the chance to present the family a shawl, and the baby not only survived but is progressing better than medical authorities believed possible. “The family sent us a picture of the baby wrapped in our shawl, and it was just amazing to see that little baby doing so well,” Parsons said. In another instance, a prayer shawl helped one woman find the will to face down a potentially terminal diagnosis. The first woman to receive a pink shawl had just been diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. Her husband told the ministry workers that she had essentially given up on fighting the disease and surviving the battle. “After she got that shawl, her husband told us that she said, ‘I’m going to make it,’” Parsons said. “She wore her shawl every single time she

540.961.4462 8800 Universityy Cityy Blvd. Blacksburg,, VA

went for her treatments, and she never got sick.” A year later, she came to church to share her faithfilled success story. She was cancer-free one year after receiving her special Prayer Shawl that reminded her of God’s love and her neighbors’ support throughout the ordeal. Another lady reported to the prayer ministry that she couldn’t sleep after her husband suddenly died. She folded her shawl up and placed it under her pillow, reporting that she was finally able to get a full night’s sleep. And, a special gentleman who received a shawl reported that it helped his prayers reach God’s ears. “He said, ‘I use mine when I pray, and I feel like the prayers mean more,’” Parsons said. ••• Each shawl includes a card with the following message, “We pray when you wrap this shawl around you, you will feel the Lord wrapping his arms around you, holding you, loving you, comforting you, healing you, and giving you peace now and always.” Some weeks, up to six of the shawls and that special prayer are presented. Other weeks, only one is delivered. Still, Parsons and the Prayer Shawl Ministry members work hard to ensure that the supply never dwindles, because they never know when another request will arrive. There is no charge for the shawls, but they must be requested. Anyone wishing to assist with the ministry is welcome to participate by praying for the makers and recipients of the shawls; becoming member of the crochet group; requesting a shawl; delivering a shawl or donating yarn to make more shawls. For more information or to request a shawl, call Carol at 304-320-7899 or Barbara at 304-425-4453. — Contact Tammie Toler at

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