David Pittenger

David Pittenger

Eleven years ago, I moved to Huntington from Chattanooga, Tennessee, to take a job at Marshall University. I saw the move as trading up from one university to another. Little did I know that this move would be the best decision I made for my personal and professional life.

During my time here, Marshall University has expanded its well-deserved reputation for its faculty’s high-quality original scholarship and sustaining a meaningful and student-centered academic atmosphere.

My quality of life has improved immeasurably as well. First, there is that ever-present Appalachian hospitality that ensures those who move to the area feel at home and as welcomed neighbors. Then there all the things to enjoy in the city. A week does not pass when there is not a festival, a downtown event, a concert, a book reading by local authors, an interesting lecture, a play or a convention. The city is also home to an outstanding museum of art, a public library system and a symphony. My list goes on and on and on and on.

Perhaps the thing that impresses me the most about Huntington is this community’s resolve that it will take care of itself.

We are living through a notorious period of drug addiction by finding ways to help those afflicted and guide others away from temptation.

We face notable economic challenges not with a sense of helplessness but with the conviction that we will do better.

I say with pride that I am a citizen of the Great State of West Virginia, and my home is in Huntington.

Another point of pride is my membership in the Huntington Rotary Club, an organization founded on June 10, 1915. Our motto is “Service Above Self.” As a club, my colleagues and I strive to support the well-being of our community.

Rotary is an international organization whose members assume shared responsibility to act on our world’s most persistent issues.

With more than 35,000 clubs, Rotarians work together to promote peace; fight disease; provide clean water, sanitation and hygiene; save mothers and children; support education; and expand local economies.

Our weekly meetings focus on the important good work being done in Huntington to improve our economy and quality of life.

During the past year, we heard how law enforcement agencies collaborate to convict drug dealers, how the Cabell County drug court helps addicts redeem their lives, and how community volunteers provide yoga training to prison inmates.

We have packed food boxes at Facing Hunger Foodbank to understand better how this organization provides nourishment to those who would otherwise go without. We donate dictionaries to local grade school students.

We learned how the state’s Department of Education is working with area high schools to provide outstanding vocational and technical training and thereby provide the area a skilled workforce.

Each month, we acknowledge outstanding students in the city’s public and private schools.

On Dec. 16, our club made a large cash donation to the Golden Girl Group Home, a residential facility for teenage girls who have been abused, neglected, orphaned, or for another reason cannot live in their natural home. We are currently raising money for the all-inclusive playground and our college scholarship program.

If you agree that Huntington is a great place to live and can be made better by the combined work of a community, then please consider becoming a member of the Huntington Rotary Club.

We meet each Monday for lunch, from noon to 1 p.m., at the DoubleTree hotel. If you are interested in being part of our organization, please contact me at djpittenger@gmail.com. Lunch is on me.

David J. Pittenger is the current president of the Huntington Rotary Club.

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