Dewey Houck — RAIL President Emeritus
In 2001, Dewey Houck joined forces with Mullens City Commission and other volunteers to build the Rural Appalachian Improvement League (RAIL), a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit corporation. RAIL’s mission is to help improve health and economic conditions for all families in Wyoming County. Dewey has served as RAIL President, as a volunteer, for over 20 years and has brought over two million dollars in grants to the area. He has served over 20,000 hours of personal volunteer service and directed another 200,000 hours of community service. Under his leadership, some of RAIL’s accomplishments include building a pavilion and overlook on Tater Hill, transforming former Mullens Grade School into a community center, salvaging the Wyco Church and Itmann Grade School, and establishing five river parks along the Guyandotte River.
Dewey aspires to use his abilities and skills, acquired over eighty years, toward implementing the best utilization of West Virginia’s natural gas and coal. Currently, much of West Virginia’s natural resources go toward producing electricity outside of West Virginia and the state should mandate a portion of that gas and coal for use in West Virginia. Utilizing both its coal plants and its shale gas, West Virginia could probably produce enough electricity to supply the entire east coast. Dewey plans to retire from his position of managing the RAIL Corporation at the end of 2022, at which time he would like to pursue his dream of spawning a new industry in the southern West Virginia coalfields to address these needs.
Local, state, and national level organizations have recognized Dewey. He was a recipient of the 2001 Mullens Chamber of Commerce Civic Hero Award, 2006 Senior Volunteer of the Year in West Virginia, received the 2006 Roanoke Civitan Club’s Good Samaritan Award, in 2006 AARP named him an AARP National Encore Purpose Prize Fellow, and in 2009 he received the Critical Impact Award from Philanthropy West Virginia.
Kristi Halsey — Executive Director-RAIL and Program Director-Recycled Repurposed Recovery in Appalachia
Kristi has 15 years of experience working with at-risk families and 11 years of experience working at the Wyoming County Day Report Center as a group facilitator. She also assisted in writing the Articles of Incorporation for a local sober-living home. She oversees all programs at the MOC and seeks additional funding for RAIL by writing grant proposals. Kristi is extremely passionate about the work that she does.
Holly Johnson — Financial Director-RAIL & Assistant Program Director-Recycled Repurposed Recovery in Appalachia
Holly has over eight years of experience with administrative duties and office management. She describes her time at RAIL as very rewarding to both her professional and personal life and she’s excited to see what she can accomplish. She can be described as outgoing, funny, and hard-working.
Samantha Stacy — VISTA Coordinator of the Southern WV SUD/Chronic Disease Management
Samantha first came to RAIL through Workforce WV’s Empowered Employment program, and she is now serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA. As a local born and raised in Wyoming County, she understands the culture well and is passionate about helping others. She can be described as considerate, open-minded, and hardworking.
Rickey Cook — Maintenance/Construction Supervisor
Rickey is employed with RAIL through the Southwestern Community Action Council. As a retired coal miner with 27.5 years of experience, he is extremely hard-working and dedicated to the job. He can be described as funny, loyal, and kind.
Tim McGraw — Grounds Manager
Tim volunteers full-time with RAIL and maintains RAIL facilities. He served in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. After he returned from the war, he earned a degree from East Tennessee State University. From there, he returned to Wyoming County and worked in the coal mines for 13 years. After his time in the mines, he spent seven years teaching Special Education and Science. Tim can be described as giving, caring, and adventurous. He is also passionate about the Great Eastern Trail; ask him about the Tugunu Hiking Club that he started!
Claire Halsey-AmeriCorps Vista
Claire Halsey is 21 years old and is working on her BSW/MSW at Concord University. She plans on having her own private practice one day as a counselor. She loves art, music, spending time with loved ones and serving her community! She loves working at RAIL because it allows her to connect with people and the community. She is a volunteer coordinator that does research for fundraisers and beneficial programs to implement and ways to alleviate poverty.
Scott Worley— AmeriCorps VISTA
Scott serves with RAIL through AmeriCorps VISTA.
Tracey Elswick is employed with RAIL through the Southwestern Community Action Council.
Peyton Schofield & Savanah Bailey are employed through Empowered Employment WorkForce WV.