Leadership WV seeks ideas to move state forward

MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - Morgantown was the site for Leadership West Virginia's Forum of Ideas competition.

Some of the ideas were geared toward improving life for West Virginians, and to bring people in from outside the state.

One of the ideas presented was about treating veterans through some of the natural resources.

Some of the other ideas ranged from education to tourism.

"We were looking at ways to assess the communities to see what additional attractions could be put in for people to stay one more day," said Patrick Kelly, who is a part of the Leadership West Virginia organization. "One of the ideas mentioned was creating a state of the art archery center. A lot of our schools are very interested in archery."

Kate Reed is the Alumni Coordinator for Leadership West Virginia. She said part of the purpose of the event was to put some heads together, and to think of ways to bring people into the Mountain State, or to utilize different resources more effectively.

"We have amazing outdoor resources that aren't always being capitalized on, and we don't get a lot of attention for," Reed said. "I think that needs to change. If we can do something to market ourselves and the outdoor industry, I think that can make a huge difference."

The ideas were presented to people in the room, and then they had the chance to vote. The winner received a $1,000 prize.

"Alternative programs for veterans suffering from PTSD and TBI who are our citizens, and trying to use our resources both our people, and the beauty of our state and the things we have to offer an alternative to being in the hospital," said David Clayman, who is a clinical psychologist. "My way of paying back to veterans now is to be sure I'm available to them when I can be and this is another step that we think can make a big difference."

Jamie Summerlin is a well-known name in the Morgantown and Monongalia County area. A veteran himself, he works for and helps a number of different community organizations in the area. He explained what some veterans might go through when they come home, and how this idea could help them.

"Whenever I came back home and came out of the military, honestly I kind of let myself go," Summerlin said. "I wasn't really taking care of myself physically as I was in the military."

"Knowing that even from personal experience to go through that process, and then seeing the veterans that are coming home a lot of times with these scars that we don't see. Being able to help them overcome their challenges and giving them some successes."