Ten years ago, my family and I loaded up a small U-Haul truck and drove it to the DC suburbs. As I started graduate school at George Mason University, 21-year-old me was so excited for this new adventure.
As I caught a final glimpse of the ‘Welcome to Wild and Wonderful West Virginia’ sign in my rear view mirror after crossing the state line, I felt a particular sadness tinged with regret. West Virginia had always been the place I belonged, and would always be the place I called home, but I genuinely doubted that I’d ever be living there again.
Turns out, I was wrong. But, make no mistake, I’ve never been so happy to be so wrong.
West Virginia Boomerang
On January 9th, 2022, I will be lucky enough to celebrate having been back home in West Virginia, and part of the Cardinal Institute team for five years!
It may sound cliché, but this has absolutely been my dream job. Geographically, I’m where I have always wanted to be and where I hope to stay. I truly get to use and apply the knowledge I pursued, gained, and honed at WVU and GMU. There isn’t a morning where I wake up and wonder, “what’s the point of all this?”
Without a shadow of a doubt, I know that what I’ve been a part of here matters.
The other thing I know for certain is that we wouldn’t be able to do this without the support of every single one of you. I would not have had the opportunity to come home to, and stay home in, West Virginia without you.
Whether you’re a casual blog reader, fan on Facebook, attendee of our events, volunteer with any of our events, “Cardinal evangelist” out in your community, first-time donor, long-time donor, or anything else… if you’ve supported Cardinal in your own way, you have my gratitude.
Thank you. For today. For the last five years. And for many more years in the future, building the West Virginia Miracle, together.
Jessi Troyan is the Policy & Development Director for the Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy.