Taekwondo is in Joe Nelson’s blood – he has been immersed in the martial art his entire life. Growing up in South Florida, Nelson found his passion as a child, and went on to train at All-Star Academy in Wellington, Fla., rising through the ranks to become the second-degree black belt he is today.
In 2010, Nelson decided he wanted to move out of Florida – to somewhere “further out,” as he says, in part to find a better environment to raise his three-year-old son, Kyle. His journey took him first to Inwood, W.Va., and finally to Marlinton. Through the Snowshoe Career Center, Nelson was able to earn his GED, and learned business management skills, enabling him to open his own taekwondo academy in the Parks and Recreation Building in Marlinton.
Nelson’s school has grown to nearly 40 students, from young kids to adults, all joining for different reasons. But Nelson said that in addition to a great way to exercise, the most important aspects of taekwondo are the changes that take place inside a person – mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Nelson has seen his students develop increased self-esteem, confidence and discipline. The changes he sees in his students, combined with his passion for the sport, are what fuel Nelson’s drive to teach.
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.