Coal River Valley has been my home for all 51 years of my life. I grew up surrounded by family whose history goes back to the early 1700’s on both my mother and father's side of the family tree.
I was raised with the understanding that if we take care of the land, the land will take care of us. Fresh green beans, potatoes, and tomatoes were placed on our table throughout the summer, and canned to last throughout the winter. Berries, apples, and nuts were gathered to feed us as well. Never can I recall going hungry but always was my mother or grandmother planting, harvesting, or canning.
It has been during my generation that the passing of family traditions has waned, and our environment looked at as ours for the taking. Convenience comes with a mighty high price when it involves chemicals and plastics that remain. Even our community homelands have become disposable to the coal companies.
I dream of a day when our community hold their own future in their hands. Not dependant upon the companies for a payday by destroying what is intended to sustain us through life and the life of future generations. I feel we must go back to a community driven economy that focuses on the needs of the community. A place where you can one day again walk to community stores, museums, or greenhouses and school.
We have just passed a huge hurdle in our community and have the funding needed for a safe and healthy school for our children and grandchildren of Marsh Fork Elementary. This is only the beginning, I hope, of better things to come to our community.
By Debbie Jarrell