Cowger announces candidacy for Upshur Commission

Michael Cowger of Buckhannon, a 1974 graduate of B-U High School and Computer Science graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College, recently announced his candidacy on the Republican ticket for Upshur County Commissioner.

He is the son of Sherman Cowger, who worked at Upshur Coals in Adrian from 1966 until his retirement, and Dorothy Cowger Smarr, who worked as an X-ray technician from 1968 until her retirement at both the Leonard Memorial and St. Joseph Hospitals in


As a Civil Air Patrol Cadet, Michael learned to fly at the old Buckhannon Airport in the early 70s and, along with his mother and several other community minded volunteers, helped to start the Emergency Medical Squad while still in high school. In fact, he became the youngest Emergency Medical Technician Certified Instructor in the state before his senior year at B-U High School.

During his senior year, he drove to Charleston just about every Thursday to serve on Civil Air Patrol’s WV Wing Staff as a Cadet Commander under the Wing Commander, and then later as a Senior Member and Commander of the Buckhannon Composite Squadron.

After high school, Cowger was appointed by the County Commission to serve as the county’s Civil Defense Director and conducted the first county-wide emergency drill along with Kathy Canterbury of the county’s Health Department at the time to show a real need for emergency planning and a communication system that would enable the new Emergency Medical Squad to communicate with volunteer fire departments throughout the county, as well as with local government and law enforcement agencies.

Before completing his Computer Science degree at Wesleyan in 1981, Cowger was an intern at Bell Labs in New Jersey and started Buckhannon’s first cable TV station, that provided Christian-based community programs, known then as the “Ones to Watch” since it was originally on Channel 11.

By the fall of 1981, Cowger was appointed as the director of Computer Services at Divas & Elkins College, where he managed the daily operations of the college’s academic and administrative computer/network services.

For 20-some years before his return to Buckhannon in 2009 to work on a Department of Defense/FIB joint world-wide biometrics related project, he was a part of and managed several technical teams providing unique services in support of Department of Defenses operations world-wide, mainly from Rodents Arsenal in Huntsville, La., while holding one of our nation’s top security levels and managing millions of dollars worth of assets, except for seven years when he provided technical consultation to Daimler-Chrysler at their electronics plant in Madison, La., and helped developed the company’s first in-dash GAPS units based on his military related navigational


While continuing his service to help protect our country and soldiers world-wide after returning to Buckhannon in 2009, Michael was commissioned in 2010 by the city of Buckhannon and Upshur County Commission as an Upshur County ambassador after completing the 2010 Inaugural Buckhannon-Upshur Citizen’s Leadership Institute of Governmental Affairs.

As part of his efforts as an Upshur County Ambassador since then, he created the Upshur Portal wishbone in 2012 at to help promote local businesses and organizations for free, while also publishing governmental affairs of interest/concern to area residents, and providing free Intern access from downtown and our County Park behind the high school, so that residents and visitors to our community could access the Upshur Portal and other local wishbone of interest.

In 2011, Cower was named an Honorary Upshur County Fire Marshall after completing the 2011 Inaugural Upshur County Citizens Freighter Academy made possible by the Upshur County Freighters Association in coordination and partnership with the Office of Extended Learning of Wesleyan College.

Michael has also attended the Buckhannon City Police Academy, served on the Buckhannon Park Commission, the Board of Directors of the Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce, the Buckhannon City Police Civil Service Board, the Buckhannon Zoning Appeals Board, and as a pilot, on the Upshur County Airport Authority.

Based on his experience in government support services world-wide and involvement in various community projects, Cower decided to run as a candidate for the Upshur County Commission seat being vacated at the end of this year by Downy Tenney. He feels the county’s funding priorities need to change in order to provide better emergency and quality of life services to our residents, including better recreational facilities and paid fire fighters to help our volunteer fire departments due to the dwindling number of younger volunteers, as well as implement a more progressive approach at realistic economic development that will provide better paying long-term job opportunities and give our youth a future to look forward to, right here at home.

For those that like to Goggle on the Internet, it doesn’t take but a few seconds after searching for “Michael Cower Upshur” to see just how involved he has been, as well as the public service that he continues to provide to Upshur County residents as an Upshur County Ambassador.

Rather than just voting for a name, Cower believes it’s time we elect someone with proven leadership skills that still has the energy and a true passion for community service.

For more information and to join an online forum to discuss the issues with Cower, visit