Bethy Feagins, Utilization Review Specialist; Big Stone Gap, Virginia:
"I grew up in Duffield, Virginia, in a little part called The Kingdom, back in the mountains, about 20 minutes out of Duffield. I work at Logistic Care, I’m a Utilization Review Specialist and we schedule Medicaid rides for Medicaid patients.
Growing up in the mountains, I think, has made me a better person. I like the simplicity of it, growing up with the cows in the backyard, the gardens…hard work was how we grew up, and that’s how I work today.
I raised many a things. My Papaw raised chickens, had a big, huge garden and 60 acres. Fun times were playing in the creeks and running in the woods, we played in the garden. Even though it was working, we felt like it was fun back in the day. Now it seems like work, but it was fun then. I’ve just lived in the mountains. I have some family up in Indiana, the flatland, I go up there and I’m homesick a couple of days in. I always miss my mountains.
I think the media thinks we are uneducated, and backwoods, but that’s far from the truth. We go to colleges; they are just a little different than theirs. I think that mountain people, if you want to call us that, were raised as hard workers. We had to work for the food we had on our table. Our grandparents were raised in the Depression and they had to work for everything that they had and those are the things that they instilled in us.
Bad times are in the winter, not being able to get out. You’ve got to have a four-wheel drive, or you’re not going anywhere. That’s about the only bad thing I could say.
The scenery and the hometown make it special. You don’t just go to places and have people talk to you on the street like they do here. Everyone is friendly and the people are genuine.
I don’t think I could ever leave. I don’t see it in my future. If I do go, it won’t be out of the mountains, it may be a few towns up, but it won’t be any further from there.
I wasn’t raised in a coal family, I’ve been around a lot of them, but we never were a coal family, so I think we kind of missed that mark. Where it’s going down, we’re going to pay for it, but not as much as some families are.
I’ve enjoyed growing up in the mountains. This is where I would choose if I had a choice before. I love it. It’s more peaceful, I think".