Appalachian Chained first went online on February 13, 2017, as a personal blog featuring reflections of a native Appalachian. The blog has since evolved into the writer’s portal to reflect on issues and topics pertaining to Appalachia and life in particular to central Appalachia and Southwest Virginia, a economically distressed region looking to find its direction out of the darkness and into prosperity and success by utilizing its forgotten driving force, its people, to seek change. The blog also serves as an outlet that will feature writings and coverage of assigned events and events of interest by the writer.
Appalachian Chained is a blog and forum for the community in and outside of Southwest Virginia, central Appalachia and the region, that is designed to inform, educate and to stir ethical debate on the issues that affect Appalachia, locally and regionally. The blog also is designed to showcase the diversity of the Appalachian region and is a tool for informing followers about Appalachia, in the mountains we call home.
Roderick Mullins is a freelance digital journalist born and raised in Appalachia and the writer and editor of “Appalachian Chained”.
He began his career in journalism and mass media working in radio after graduating high school and through his college years at Clinch Valley College (now The University of Virginia’s College at Wise) and as a reporter for The Cumberland Times newspaper in his hometown of Clintwood, VA. Mullins later moved to feature writing for “The Dickenson Star” while continuing his work in radio broadcasting.
After graduating from UVa-Wise in 1988 with a B.A. in English/Communications, Mullins became the program director/news director/on-air morning show host for AM/FM station, WNVA in Norton, VA. In the early 1990’s Mullins was the Director of Sports Information at UVa-Wise and served as the radio broadcast “Voice of the Highland Cavaliers” for football and basketball for seven seasons in addition to publicizing Cavalier athletics. During that time, Mullins focused on transitioning to the public education sector where he has worked since 1995 as a teacher in high school English, literature, and creative writing and now serves as a program coordinator.
He is also the coach and mentor of the school’s First Tech Challenge robotics team, a team he developed from scratch, assisting members with the fundamentals of team fundraising, program marketing, public relations in addition to teaching a STEM-based curriculum. Recently, his “Central Air Conditioned Kilts/Warriors” robotics team completed their second season in FTC competition by finishing just outside the top ten in the FTC Southwest Qualifier against 25 teams from across Virginia featuring better funding and stronger school support. The team’s amazing second-year performance resulted in his being named one of three finalists statewide for the FTC Compass award as an inspirational coach/mentor.
But Mullins’ love of telling a story whether through the written word or through audio, video or photography has returned him to what he loves, journalism. Recently, Mullins returned to writing covering local government and sports for The Dickenson Star and The Coalfield Progress newspapers, and NASCAR and NHRA coverage the Augusta Free Press online. He also serves as co-host of the popular internet podcast, “Stories: A History of Appalachia“.
Mullins lives in Wise, VA, with his wife, Kimberly, who is a middle school teacher and one son, Andrew. He enjoys genealogy, Appalachian history, podcasting, audio/video editing, graphic design and also pursues personal storytelling and informational presentations about historical topics from Appalachia in his spare time.