#1: We Want to Grow; Bigger and Better!
From Carroll County to Wise County, I heard story after story of success. The VALOR class visited Virginia Produce Company, Vanguard Furniture, and the Worrell family vegetable farm, and several other places in Carroll County. Business is booming! The owners of these businesses could easily sit back and pat themselves on the back, but they are looking ahead. How can we be better? How can we grow our business?
Further South, down in Wise Virginia, we heard a similar story yet very different. The lack of coal mining jobs has left much of the area turned upside down. Business is NOT booming. The residents of Big Stone Gap and the surrounding area that we talked to want to change that. We were asked several times how they could make their community better and get the jobs back. They are ready to grow!
#2: Can You Hear Me Richmond? Come Again DC?
Have you ever broken your ankle but decided not to go to the emergency room because you can’t afford it and you don’t have insurance? I’ll assume you answered “no”. What about had your teeth pulled in the livestock barn at the fairgrounds? Probably not! This is real. Health care in SWVA is a problem. The officials in Richmond and DC seem to be turning a blind eye. SWVA residents can’t seem to get the severity of the problem through to their elected officials. Last time I checked, a “representative” was supposed to “represent” their constituents. Our friends in the south west tip of Virginia are feeling a little left out.
#3: The Land of Opportunities
In a way, SWVA is sort of the last frontier of Virginia. The area is absolutely beautiful. The people are as friendly as you will ever meet. And the communities are poised for growth. I’m not picturing over the top growth but more of a moderate growth that would work in harmony with the natural beauty of the area. I can see some of those old strip mines repurposed into a getaway lodge with a little brewery and mountain trails. A few black cows would look nice grazing on the hillsides. Their saving grace could be as simple as planning your next vacation in the mountains of Southwest Virginia. I highly recommend visiting the Carter Family Fold!