Skip to main content

Grant, Hampshire, Hardy counties

I swung through Grant, Hampshire and Hardy counties Wednesday (Aug. 6) on my West Virginia tour. I’m closing in on visiting all of West Virginia’s 55 counties later this month.

Founders of Allegheny Wood Products and WVU graduates, John and Patricia Crites, and their son and daughter, John II and Kelly, hosted us for a very special tour of their factory in Petersburg. The firm produces high quality lumber from the Appalachian region and ships it all over the U.S. and internationally. It was quite impressive, and the Crites family is a true West Virginia success story.

President Gee with Alleghney Wood Products staff members

And speaking of home grown products, two University officials who hail from the local area accompanied me on our visit—Jennifer Williams, director of the WVU Extension Service Agriculture and Natural Resources programs, from Moorefield, WV, and Jennifer Fisher, executive officer at WVU, from Fisher, WV. I hope I didn’t embarrass them too much when I met a young man in a local Burger King restroom and tried to recruit him to WVU.

Speaking of recruits, I met a couple incoming freshmen – Josh Slocum and Caroline Wylie—at the Hampshire County WVU Extension Office and we took some selfies. I hope they escaped ok from those offices—it used to be the county jail you know!

President Gee with WVU students at the Hampshire County Extension Office

And it was good to see and talk to Editor of the Hampshire Review, Sallie See, and her team. I learned Sallie’s great grandfather was John Cornwell, the former governor of West Virginia, who founded the newspaper.

Likewise, it was great to see the legendary Phoebe Heishman and Managing Editor Jean Flanagan from the Moorefield Examiner, who welcomed me to their newspaper office and then grilled me like a tuna (not really?!).

We also stopped by the Grant County WVU Extension office in downtown Petersburg for a short visit.

Other area stops included the West Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind in Romney, which featured a personalized tour of the grounds and classrooms with Superintendent Dr. Lynn Boyer. I also had a chance to visit with Dr. Charles Terrell, president of Eastern Community and Technical College, who also has a love of bow ties. His 15-year-old school now has some 800 students – and is adding a new classroom wing.

A wonderful welcome reception with friends and alumni at the McMechan House in Moorefield concluded our day-long visit. It was good to see one of my former law students, William Bean, and my good friend and colleague John Fisher, who owns a beautiful log home and farm in Hardy County.

Keep following me on my tour; you won’t want to miss all the excitement.