Eighteen-year-old Chloe Bland describes her life as common, though some might question her judgment. The senior at Pocahontas County High School is the president of her senior class as well as president of the school’s National Honor Society and Spanish National Honor Society. In addition to her academic achievements, Bland serves as president of the school’s chapter of the Future Farmers of America and has been chosen for the all-state volleyball and basketball teams for the last two years.
In her spare time, Bland hunts and fishes with her family, with whom she recently treed and shot her first black bear. The episode resulted in a cut between her eyes from the recoiling gun scope, but she remembers it with pride. “It meant a lot that my brother and my brother-in-law were both there to see me kill my bear,” Bland said.
Bland also assists her father with his taxidermy business. She creates bear rug, helps skin animals and other “odd jobs.” Her love for animals has inspired her to attend West Virginia Wesleyan College in the fall to study veterinary sciences.
“I love working with animals… The fact that they can’t help themselves as much makes me want to be a vet more,” Bland said. “I want to help them as much as I can.”
Upon gaining her undergraduate degree, Bland wants to attend veterinary school at either Ohio State University or Virginia Tech University. She hopes to someday open the only veterinary clinic in Pocahontas County.
Mike Smith takes full advantage of the wildlife surrounding him. As park superintendent at Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park, Smith has acres of land to forage for food and hunt for animals. According to Smith, foraging provides a healthier way of living, but more importantly, a chance to get outside and connect with nature.
Michael Buttrill manages a 15-acre organic farm in Renick, W.Va., where he produces his own biodiesel fuel to power his vehicles and tractor. Michael has been perfecting his fuel for seven years with a goal to live more sustainably and rely less on non-renewable resources.
Innovation Zone has brought an entirely new learning style to Doddridge County High School. Every other Friday the school runs on a two hour early dismissal schedule when students separate into different groups to learn new skills from teachers and community volunteers.
Dr. Mark Cucuzzella has been a runner his entire life, but when injuries plagued him throughout high school and college, he searched for a remedy other than his doctor’s advice of “don’t run.” He began to shave the heels off of his own running sneakers, becoming a true pioneer in the minimalist running movement. After opening Two River Treads in Shepherdstown, W.Va., one of the first minimalist running stores in the United States, Dr. Cucuzzella solidified himself in the running community.
Shepherdstown, W.Va., native Carlos Niederhauser can look back on a life that had him participating in the world’s longest car rally, traveling the globe, fixing foreign race cars, developing real estate and becoming a landlord for over 100 Jefferson County properties.
After the death of her father Dr. John Moossy, Joan Moossy honors his memory by publishing his autobiography and working to preserve his art and home in Shepherdstown for aspiring artists. Coming from New York City, she is dealt with the decision on how to continue her father’s legacy within this tight-nit community. Joan looks to open the doors to her father’s house and welcome any artist who is looking to getaway from their everyday surrounding and rekindle their passion for art.
Story Synopsis- Sheila Brannan lived her life in a constant creative roll until a brain aneurysm in 2007 threatened her stained glass career. Since recovering from that, she is back in her home studio and has gotten to a place she considers to be the “new normal.”
Lars Prillman is a 28 year old organic farmer in Shepherdstown, W.Va. He spent his early 20s as a traveling musician in Knoxville, Tenn. He found his “calling” while doing an apprenticeship on the farm of one of his former 4-H counselors. He now runs his own farm with the help of his family.
Phil and Shanna Mastrangelo own Mellow Moods Café & Juice bar, an organic restaurant in Shepherdstown, W.Va. Their hope is to give people a vacation-like atmosphere in their everyday lives while serving locally-grown, healthy foods.