By Marissa Sura
It began with a fight. A fight for a school bus, then a small library, a park and a baseball team.
Over two years, they didn’t win a single game.
But it didn’t matter to him or to the people of that small coal mining community in southern West Virginia. What mattered was the opening of opportunities for the people, the sense that they mattered and the feeling that they counted.
As U.S. Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV remembered his first experience in public service in West Virginia – an experience that would change his life forever – he described how everything he has done since has been grounded in his time in Emmons, located on the Boone and Kanawha County line. In those families. In those children. In the people that fed him in their homes and helped him fight to restore their community.
His story is forever intertwined with the stories of the people of West Virginia. And those stories will continue at West Virginia University, thanks to a historic gift.
Rockefeller and WVU today (Nov. 8) announced the naming of the John D. Rockefeller IV School of Policy and Politics at WVU. In addition to the landmark announcement, Rockefeller and WVU designated the WVU Libraries as the permanent home of the John D. Rockefeller IV Senatorial Archives and dedicated the John D. Rockefeller IV Gallery in the WVU Downtown Library in honor of the Democratic senator’s nearly 50 years of public service to the citizens of West Virginia.
“West Virginia is where I found my life’s purpose, my spiritual calling,” Rockefeller said. “My life’s journey led me to West Virginia, and it is in West Virginia that I hope my legacy will be remembered, and my journey as a public servant understood.”
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