Grass Roots Volunteers Join Forces with AmeriCorps
to Enrich Southern WV Communities


October 10, 2011 Mullens, WV



The sixth AmeriCorps NCCC Team for Mullens, WV will arrive October 12 to assist community volunteers in building a replica of a Virginian Railway telegraph office to be used as a Mini Museum/Tourist Info Center. Local volunteers will have the foundation and sub floor installed when the NCCC Team arrives. The volunteers and NCCC will work together to complete the structure in eight days. Dedication of the Tourist Information Center is scheduled for noon October 22 at the Mullens Opportunity Center with a luncheon and the public is invited. Funding for materials for the structure is provided through a West Virginia tourism development grant on recommendation of Senator Richard Browning. There will be no labor cost associated with erecting the building.

In the early days of railroading trains relied on the telegraph to keep up with trains moving from place to place. The Mini Museum will be furnished as an early telegraph office and flag stop for passengers to get on or off trains. Sponsors of the initiative envision the facility as a first stop for tourists exiting the Coalfields Expressway in Mullens who desire to visit local sites of interests or purchase local crafts or specialty agricultural products.

The AmeriCorps NCCC Team (National Civilian Community Corps), stationed at Vicksburg, MS, has already served one term in Louisiana for tornado repair and one term in New York to help with flood damage. The NCCC Team is modeled after the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) that was formed during the great depression of the 1930’s. The CCC of the 30’s had a camp below Pineville and did much work in Wyoming County. In Mullens NCCC Teams helped lean up flood damage from the 2001 flood, help build Tater Hill Park and Trail system, help build Tater Hill Overlook and Pavilion, and help build the Outside Stage at the MOC. However, it must be noted that these projects could not have been accomplished without local volunteers who planned and managed all the projects.

After constructing the Tourist Info Center the NCCC Team will continue making improvements at the Mullens Opportunity Center, Assist with Wyco Church Restoration, clean up St Johns Church/Cemetery site, and assist with the Beartown two room school house restoration.

The media is invited to visit the work site on Monday October 17 for a work in progress interviews with Project supervisors Gary Runion and Pete Kirk, as well as other volunteers and the AmeriCorps NCCC members that come from all over the country.

Building a tourism trade, establishing cottage industries, and finding ways to cater to the thriving ATV business is an initiative of the Rural Appalachian Improvement League that is hosting the NCCC Team. Detailed information on the AmeriCorps*NCCC visit can be found at http://www.railwv.org
    
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Volunteers are a vital part of RAIL's success. We are SEEKING VOLUNTEERS! Please contact us if you want to make a difference and join our remarkable work teams.

In September 2010 RAIL volunteers began initiating a plan to invigorate Community and Economic development in the southern coalfields of West Virginia. In the past ten years RAIL has studied the needs of families in Appalachia as well as available resources and other accessible opportunities that can help their community become sustainable. Gaining a better understanding of what is needed has culminated in the Coal Heritage Trail of New Commerce Action Plan. Those implementing this plan, an organization at the grass roots, well understand their work cannot be successful without the help of volunteers and generous resources providers. Anyone interested in participating in this bold undertaking of helping families living in the Appalachian coalfields improve their economic and social conditions may contact mullensproject@aol.com for more information. RAIL gets its name from Rural Appalachian Improvement League, Inc. and can best be described as Volunteers coming together as an organization to find ways to best benefit their community

March 18, 2011

Alternative Spring Break
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