Posted by: Barry | April 4, 2011

Explaining what makes central Appalachia tick

Last week one of our visiting students approached me to say, “I want to thank you for all of the interesting people you’ve arranged to come visit us during our time here.  It has really helped me understand a lot about this area.”

Besides providing opportunities for service to the student groups who come occasionally from high schools or colleges around the country, we also include in their visit a strong element of education about our region and its people, culture, economy, and history.  To do that, we call on a variety of friends and collaborators from around the area, specialists in some aspect of life around here. 

In the photo, for example, is Chris Newsome, safety director at Lee Sartin Trucking, a local trucking company that works closely with the state’s coal industry.  He talked to our most recent group about the place of the coal industry in this part of the state and the nuts and bolts of how it all happens.

I want to offer our thanks to the following people who have given their time and insights to us and our visitors here at ABLE Families and Christian Help in recent weeks, speaking to one or more of several visiting groups.  These folks donate their time to us, for the sake of helping others understand better what makes things tick in central Appalachia.  They include: 

Bill Richardson, West Virginia University Extension office

Rick Wilson, Society of Friends Service Committee’s Economic Justice Project

Nick Getzen, Thompson Barney Law Firm

Jenny Hudson and Philip Bryant, The JOBS Project

Chris Newsome, Lee Sartin Trucking

Warm thanks to each of them!


  1. Many thanks to all of the guest speakers!! We had our post trip reunion yesterday, and the students ALL agreed that the educational component of our stay in Kermit was awesome. It gave all of us a better sense of Appalachia from several vantage points and hopefully helped us be better servants during our stay.

    THANKS for the opportunity to visit and serve in Mingo County, WV. We have fallen in love with the people you serve and your beautiful landscape!

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