Exactly one year ago today, I arrived in Elkins and excitedly opened yet another chapter on my newspaper career.
I'll never forget that first excursion - traversing the windy roads between Martinsburg and Randolph County. About halfway here, as I turned onto U.S. 33, I knew I had left the hustle and bustle of a metro area and returned to my small-town West Virginia roots.
Growing up in Williamstown, I guess I never truly appreciated that folksy, sometimes slow-paced way of life until I moved away. Although I was in close proximity to larger cities, I never really thought much about that kind of close-knit community atmosphere.
Moving away, though, to a D.C. bedroom community and experiencing both the good and bad that goes along with living in such an area definitely opened my eyes.
It not only made me appreciate and embrace my roots, it made me more aware of what it's like when a community bands together for the common good.
Much of that is going on right here in Elkins.
Thursday night, Elkins ON TRAC hosted a town-hall type meeting at the newly renovated Parmesano Building on Third Street.
Group members Karen Carper and Jeremy Golston updated a crowd of more than 40 people on their progress in attaining national Main Street status, a goal established just last year.
ON TRAC has made significant strides in bringing "renewed energy and vitality to downtown Elkins." The organization is on the cusp of making a real breakthrough that will not only impact the vitality of our downtown businesses but one that will benefit our residents' daily lives.
During the meeting, officials also unveiled the official ON TRAC website - downtownelkins.com.
The site will list local downtown businesses, events and tourist information.
Another local organization that is making an impact in our community is Generation Randolph, a chapter of Generation West Virginia.
The group met Friday at the United Way offices in Elkins for a Lunch 'N Learn to discuss their goals, which include building a stronger community among young leaders.
At the meeting, attendees heard from new United Way Executive Director JoBeth Agnor and Campaign Chair Gary Clay about how that organization assists its partner agencies.
Generation Randolph, which is for young professions 21-45, meets at 5:30 p.m. the first Thursday of each month at C.J. Maggie's.
With help from groups like ON TRAC and Generation Randolph this community will only become more vibrant and successful and help retain and attract those who enjoy small-town living.
- Executive Editor Matthew Burdette can be reached at 304-636-2121, ext. 120.