My Huntington story began six years ago as a freshman stepping on Marshall’s campus for the first time. Like many college students, I was anxious for the new opportunities and experiences that I would receive the next four years. I would never have imagined that Huntington would become my comfort place and the place that holds some of life’s biggest and lowest moments. 

    I met my husband, John,during my time at Marshall and being a Huntington native, he showed me all the gems that existed throughout the community from Ritter Park to the delicious Frost Top. We knew that because of our mutual love for Huntington, this was the place that we wanted to start our life together. I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Business Administration in August 2018 and received a great internship opportunity that lead to a full time position at Marshall University that allows me to be a part of the growth of our community and university. 

    John and I got married in October 2018 at Madison Avenue Christian Church, with a beautiful reception at the Brad D. Smith Foundation Hall. We then bought our first home and we believed that things couldn’t get any better. It was then that I learned about the need for foster families in our community and the decision to foster weighed heavy on our hearts. We made the decision to contact NECCO to get more information and absolutely fell in love with everyone there. It only took us three weeks to get our first placement, an infant. So, there we were, recent Marshall graduates, newlyweds, new homeowners and foster parents all in the same year. We were busy but our hearts were so full. Plot twist ahead – March rolls around and I find out I am pregnant. We were shocked but over the moon and looking forward to December 2019. We began thinking about our life as a family of four with two children under the age of one. I was 24 weeks pregnant when I went into labor and ended up delivering our son Benjamin on September 10. He was 1 pound and 6 ounces of perfection. He had many complications that come with being born almost four months early, but he was such a little fighter. The doctors and nurses at Cabell Huntington were angels to say the least. They made our NICU stay as pleasant as possible and I am forever grateful for those who cared for him during his short 45 days with us. 

    Through this experience we saw a different side to Huntington. We saw that although Huntington housed many of our happiest memories,it would also hold some painful memories too. It was through this difficult time that I saw a sense of community like I have never seen before. The amount of family, friends and community members that rallied around us during this difficult time was overwhelming. Huntington became so much more than just a place that I decided to further my education and deciding to stay after graduation was the best decision I could have made.