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Ashland native honored for making impact in Mountain State

Jul. 20, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Sarah Walling lived in Texas for about 20 years, but when she was asked where she was from, she would proudly say "Ashland, Ky."

Walling, 33, a Huntington lawyer with the firm of Jenkins Fenstermaker, moved from Ashland to Texas at the age of 8 when her father changed jobs. Every summer she would return to the Tri-State to visit family.

"This area has always been home," Walling said. "I always planned to come back."

Earlier this year she was named as one of 40 professionals under the age of 40 to make an impact in the Mountain State. She was selected by the State Journal for her community service and excellence in her profession. The award was presented in Charleston by U.S. Joe Manchin in May.

Jaye Ike, special projects coordinator at the Marshall University College of Fine Arts, nominated Walling for the 40 under 40 award.

"She's successful," Ike said. "She's smart, but most importantly to me, she's kind. She volunteers her time for community efforts like Dress for Success. She donated to food drives and clothing collections. It's so great to be friends with someone like Sarah because she will always help you when you need help."

Maybe even more importantly, Ike jokes that she can always turn to Sarah when Ike's daughter is selling something for Meadows Elementary School.

"There were a couple of other winners from Huntington," Walling said. "I was in great company. It was a big honor. I was absolutely thrilled."

In addition to serving on several committees at the Huntington Museum of Arts, Walling has been involved with Dress for Success in the River Cities for three years.

Dress for Success helps underprivileged women with clothing for job interviews and work, mentors them and helps them with their resumes.

"We talk to them about how to work in a professional setting," Walling said.

She also is the incoming vice president of the Huntington Junior League and serves as treasurer of the Cabell County Bar Association.

Walling is among 22 lawyers in the law firm at 825 4th Ave. Another lawyer at the firm got her involved with Dress for Success.

"I jumped in with both feet," she said of her community service efforts. "I felt it was a way to get to know people and to get involved."

She does civil defense work and despite the often times long weeks a young lawyer has to deal with, she plans to keep volunteering.

"It's a wonderful firm," Walling said. "We work hard and we play hard. It's a great start to my legal career. I hope to be here for a long time."

"I feel there are opportunities I have here I wouldn't have anywhere else," she said.

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