Refugees in Appalachia

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People awaiting a number to enter the Remote Area Medical event at the Wise County Fairgrounds, Wise, VA. (Photo by Remote Area Medical)

Upon first glance, it looks as though you are watching the evening news and the above picture is a photo of refugees fleeing a country or region in search of a better life.

But look closely. These are the faces of Americans. Appalachians. They are refugees. Healthcare refugees searching for free medical care that they cannot afford in the what is supposed to be the greatest country and humanitarian country on the face of the planet Earth.

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Appalachia needs an attitude adjustment

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“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” – Winston Churchill

Appalachia has a problem and if you haven’t already thought it or said it, change is needed for the area to prosper and get back on its feet. 

Winston Churchill once said that attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. Here in Appalachia, you could say that we have an attitude and that little thing called attitude makes a big difference. You can also add that some people need an attitude adjustment in Appalachia. 

The thing is, I didn’t use those words “attitude adjustment” nor have I been listening to Hank Williams, Jr.’s Greatest Hits.  The words “attitude adjustment” were words used by business owners in Martinsville and Henry County, VA recently at a community forum focusing on getting their region to thrive again.

Sadly their region is facing the same obstacles and attitudes that we are in Appalachia.

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Thank you, Roanoke Times

roanoke-graphic-e1498744977448.pngAs I was going through my Facebook news feed this morning, I found an unexpected surprise.

No, I didn’t receive a friend request from a girl that liked me when I was in elementary or high school and no, not a request from a Nigerian ambassador telling me that I had inherited a room full of stock in a worthless, non-existent oil company.

It was something much better.

An acknowledgment.

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Shall we play an escape game?

It has been an extremely tough week looking at the news concerning Appalachia and in particular, Southwestern Virginia, its future, and the dwindling population numbers for the region.

The headlines have been attention grabbing. The Roanoke Times with op-ed pieces entitled, “Should we just let Appalachia go?” and “Population loss in Virginia’s coalfields region projected to continue for decades”, have been enough to rattle me and plunge me into depressionary depths this week and for that matter anyone else when seeing headlines like that or diving into the figures.

It’s enough to make anyone put their hands to their head, start running and screaming to get me out of Appalachia.

After reading the articles, I decided to sit down and put a positive spin on the population loss from Virginia’s coalfields. One of my hobbies include designing logos and things for friends or projects, so I decided to develop a logo and a campaign for the Commonwealth of Virginia to use as their next big economic endeavor at, ahem, saving Southwest Virginia or better yet, pushing the entire region off the cliff.

And here it is:

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If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again

Roderick A. Mullins photo and artwork - 2017You can’t blame the Dickenson County Historical Society for trying. What’s the old saying? If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again. 

Somewhere, Abraham Lincoln who did not succeed in a number of his attempts in life has to be smiling.

Smiling that the historical society is not only persistent but determined to reach their goal of getting DMHS and doing something with it.

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Letters from a Soviet Prison: An interview with Francis Gary Powers, Jr.

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Francis Gary Powers, Jr. being interviewed talking about his new book, “Letters from a Soviet Prison”

You could say that Francis Gary Powers, Jr. is very much chained indirectly to Appalachia in the opposite of some of us living here in the mountains.

Living the majority of his life outside the Appalachian Mountains, the son of famed U-2 pilot still, finds a way to get back home to his unofficial roots of Appalachia. But unfortunately this year for Powers, he has made two unexpected trips to Pound to pay respects and honor the memory of his uncle and aunt who both passed away in the month of May.

Now on this last weekend in May, he is in Pound to visit and talk to people about his new book, “Letters from a Soviet Prison”.

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