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Six Receive 'Unsung Heroes' Award
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by Jonathan Rosenbaum, Awards Committee Chair | 2011

Some well deserved awards to some hard-working activists!

Heroes come in many forms. Unsung heroes often don’t deliberately choose their calling, but rather are chosen by their circumstances. This year’s awardees were taken from a pool of candidates who are current Sierra Club members and who have never previously received a State Chapter award.

Kevin Fooce, a tireless volunteer, has been a tour de force in increasing our membership and maintains a Facebook page for the Chapter which now boasts over 1,100 people. He continues to work toward establishing a Sierra Club group in Charleston and has been invaluable in our green initiative. As a member of the Energy Committee and as an electrician, he is constantly pushing for renewable sources of electricity. As a relatively new volunteer with our Chapter, Kevin hit the ground running and hasn’t stopped yet.

Tom Shipley
literally gave up a business in Florida to come back home to vigorously fight a plan for building a sewage facility right over a karst field along Shavers Fork near his family homestead. Using almost all his life savings, he initiated a campaign that after nearly two years was able to demonstrate that a membrane system at SnowShoe would be an appropriate solution. He is an amazing hero, and his zero-percent-pollution mentality is a timely message when you consider the present threats from Marcellus Shale drilling in our state.

Duane Nichols seems to be involved with every issue imaginable, always willing to lend his expertise for the benefit of the environment. He has helped form and has been active on citizens’  committees ranging from Citizens for Alternatives to Longview Power, now the Mon Valley Clean Air Coalition, to the Cheat Lake Environment and Recreation Association (CLEAR). He is active on the WVSC Energy Committee and is now the co-chair of the WV/PA Water Compact, which has been very busy with a multitude of watershed issues that beset our state. He
even blogs occasionally on Marcellus shale issues. As a retired Chemical Engineer he has an impeccable scientific approach to issues. It’s hard to even begin to calculate how much Duane
has accomplished, or how much he continues to do. While songs haven’t been written about Duane yet, we recognize him for his heroic deeds.

Regina Hendrix may seem like a mother hen, providing comfort to everyone she meets, but she is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to Mountain Top Removal issues. She made her voice heard as an active lobbyist while living in Charleston, and maintains her close ties with leaders in the MTR community. Regina was a key organizer of the recent march commemorating the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Blair Mountain. Regina’s passion for doing what is right for our ecosphere makes her an effective voice for the mountains and a significant hero in
our state.

2011 Award Recipients at SierraFest: John and Petra Wood, Duane Nichols, and Regina Hendrix

Petra and John Wood have been extremely active for a number of years in fighting the Coresco fly ash impoundment that directly impacts the air and water near their home (see page 1 for details of their struggle). Their biggest victory to date has been the delay of the New Hill West Surface mining permit; however, WVDEP is now challenging this. The job of hero for the environment never really ends; their battle is ongoing and their persistence, undaunted. They truly deserve to be included in the songs of heroes of the Mountain State.

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