Last Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of the official launch of the MyHuntington Movement. The goal of the movement was to engage people from all walks of life and from all corners of Huntington to share their MyHuntington stories.

In no time, people volunteered to share what they love about Huntington. Some told us about what brought them here, how they stayed after attending Marshall University, how they left and returned to the comfort of loving family, friends and neighbors, and some shared how they were born here and are now raising their families in Huntington.

The people who joined the movement include teachers, businessmen, businesswomen, kids, Marshall students, high school students, pastors, police officers, professors, doctors, nurses, moms, dads, and even celebrities like Katie Couric and Snoop Dogg.

Over the past 12 months, the MyHuntington hashtag has been used publicly 67,122 times. It has been searched 596,712 times on social media, and people have spent 1,905 hours watching MyHuntington videos.

Fortunately, the community sees the movement for what it is, a forum to talk about Huntington's positive attributes and people who want to make a difference in their community. This movement allows them to tell others that we are more than what the world has seen in documentaries that have frozen us in a very sad and scary moment of time.

If this was only about social media hits and feel-good stories, we would have called it a campaign. But we called it a movement for a reason. Others have incorporated the message in their own ways. For example, Huntington Banks of West Virginia created the My Future, MyHuntington Essay Contest for high school students in Cabell and Wayne counties. The winner was awarded a $1,500 scholarship to Marshall University. Cabell County Schools and members of the community signed up for five litter cleanups that helped collect more than 140 bags of trash from all around town.

In addition, MyHuntington is a fund of the Foundation for the Tri-State Community. We are grateful to the very generous sponsors who stepped up with monetary contributions that allowed us to place television, radio, social media and print advertisements so we could tell our stories to people beyond our city's limits. And we want to thank the media outlets that stepped up to help by partnering with us to showcase so many warm stories about MyHuntington and its people.

We as individuals often go through difficult seasons in our lives and come out of them wiser and more grateful. Together, we learned that a city can go through difficult seasons, too. And what's more important is the people of this community are willing to share what they have learned and are compassionate about other communities that are facing similar challenges today. We aren't perfect, but the people of MyHuntington make us America's Best Community.

To those who have joined the movement, thank you! If you have something good to say, an event that lifts people up or love this community and want to be part of the MyHuntington Movement, join us - we are just getting started!

This article was a collaboration by members of the MyHuntington Volunteer Steering Committee. Its members include Amanda Bonner, Christine Borders, Brittany Bruce, Tootie Carter, Bryan Chambers, Tyson Compton, Kathy Cosco, Amy Frasure, Kathryn Lamp, Margaret Mary Layne, Marsha Mattingly, MacKenzie Morley, Sara Payne Scarbro, Jenette Williams and Mary Witten Wiseman.


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