Change in the Coalfields: A Podcast by Coalfield Development

Audy Perry

June 09, 2022 Coalfield Development Season 2 Episode 5
Change in the Coalfields: A Podcast by Coalfield Development
Audy Perry
Show Notes Transcript

Original intro/outro music: 
"'Till I See Stars" by The Parachute Brigade

John F. Kennedy:

The sun does not always shine in West Virginia but the people always do and I'm delighted to be here.

Brandon Dennison:

These are historic times in Appalachia. A lot has changed. A lot is changing now and a lot still needs to change. In our podcast we talk with change makers right square in the middle of all this working to ensure the change is for the good. You're listening to Change in the Coalfields, a podcast by Coalfield Development. I'm your host, Brandon Dennison. Hello, this is Brandon Dennison. I'm the CEO of Coalfield Development, and I'm your host for Change in the Coalfields. This week, we've got Mr. Audy Perry, Audy periods with Heritage Farm, Museum and Village. Audy, if nothing else, at the end of this podcast, I hope that everybody who listens comes to visit the farm. So just at the onset here, could you tell us about this place? We're here on site, what it is what happens here and why it's so special?

Audy Perry:

Well, thank you, Brandon. It's an honor to be on the air with you. Yeah, Heritage Farm was started by my parents, 26 years ago as a way to help teach our school children that somebody in their family was amazing. We tend to forget and get wrapped up in our own problems of today and thinking that our challenges are so big. And so it celebrates Appalachian culture, it is West Virginia's first Smithsonian affiliate, and in addition to the museum's, there's a wildlife park and wagon rides, there's artisans, with blacksmithing and basket weaving, and most recently, we've also added an adventure park with zip lines and challenge courses and mountain bike parks. So that basically, family fun for everyone.

Brandon Dennison:

And I mean, you are an entrepreneur yourself. A lot of these attractions we're talking about have been added just in the last few years. So it feels like you're you're really building towards a pretty incredible vision for what Heritage Farm can mean for the region. Is that right?

Audy Perry:

Yes, I think Appalachia's time has come if you think about from a tourism element, it looks like the world recreates itself about every five to six hours, right? If you're thinking about the middle of the country, 12 hours away is Branson, and that celebrates the Ozark Mountain people and then five, six hours away, that's Pigeon Forge, and that celebrates the Smoky Mountain people. And then unfortunately not another thing of large scale happens until you get to the coast where Williamsburg celebrates the colonial people. So we believe that it's time to celebrate the Appalachian people. And really, nobody has done that in a tourism element, really the only thing from Appalachia is a buck-toothed dinner show, you know, there in Pigeon Forge, and that's not necessarily the image we're trying to curry. So Huntington, West Virginia is in the epicenter of Appalachia, and I-64 runs right by it. So the ARC (Appalachian Regional Commision) has helped us with a number of studies to create what we're hoping will be the Appalachian Heartland Initiative to take Exit 8 with a Welcome Center, and then invite people both to the Ohio River and then all the way down to the Hatfield McCoy trails.

Brandon Dennison:

And I know you've gone all in on this vision. So you practiced law for for many years, and then sort of took the plunge a couple years back and said I think Heritage Farm can be something special for the region. And I'm going all in and sort of had that entrepreneurial moment yourself.

Audy Perry:

Yeah, it's fun. You know, nothing's ever wasted. I look back and my areas of practice, were estate planning, state administration, nonprofit, corporate work, bond financing, and I'm like, 'Hey, I'm having to use all of them.' Now, I just have one fool for a client instead of a bunch.

Brandon Dennison:

And can you tell folks just who might not be familiar sort of the origin story of Heritage Farm?

Audy Perry:

So this area that we are located upon, in the mid 1800s was settled by seven German dairy farming families and incredible story of you know, setting across the Atlantic Ocean. You know, we, we think about big adventures today, but can you imagine coming across the ocean with your prize winning cattle, right in the mid 1800s. And, and they landed in Boston, and it was full, right? [They] pressed all the way through Pennsylvania. It's already full by then. And so they put their cattle on flatboats down the Ohio River and the first land they found available was here and and that really, that really kind of completes your understanding. You know, if your education was anything like mine, the American history was told about the East Coast and a few wars, a few presidents, Lewis and Clark, the gold rush boom, and all the cool people ended up in California, and nobody talks about the people who stayed behind. And so as a child, you're just kind of left with the assumption that they were just the losers who couldn't hang with the cool people, right instead of the truth is, these were amazing people and the topography and the flora and fauna of this region really have a lot more to do with the way we are than we realize today. Because modern day West Virginia looks nothing like what it did for those folks in the mid 1800s. The world that we are living in has been clear cut twice, at least, since 1850. So no tree, I mean, you drive from Charleston to Huntington or anywhere in this region, and all you see is green. We're like one of the most green states in the country. But you're not looking at any tree that's more than 80 or 90 years old, based upon the last clear cutting. The farm has 800 acres, and there's only one original growth tree left. And my guess it was the [quote] "big oak" in the survey that separated a couple of farms, 40 poles to the big oak, and she's still standing because of that she's 225 feet tall. She's got a canopy of like, over 150 feet, her circumference is 18 feet, the whole forest used to look like that.

Brandon Dennison:

That's wild to think about.

Audy Perry:

Yeah, and so it's also one of the reasons that Huntington isn't even created till 1871. Most of the states have joined the Union, by the time Huntington even comes on board, because it was so densely forested here, you know, the Native Americans hunted here, they it was sacred land, they buried their people here, but they lived over in Ohio, where it was flat and more, so anyway. So I say all that to say that this is where they found land.

Brandon Dennison:

It was still there. It's still available.

Audy Perry:

That's right, it was still available, and so German Ridge is still the name that's, hence the name of that road. But two of the dairies were down here. My grandmother ended up, in the 60s ended up moving to what was the Blatt Dairy (farm) and is now the Holly Berry Inn that was the farmhouse for the Blatt dairy, and then later in 1973, my folks purchased the Shaffer dairy primarily for that 1800s dairy barn, which still exists today. And they were just going to knock down the little shack that had burned on the property and build a new farmhouse. And they went to remove the wallboard and the filth. And they discovered 200 year old hand hewn logs like you and I are looking at right now. And they're like, 'Well, who did this? And how come we never learned about them in school?' Like our earlier conversation, and we just kind of skipped over? Well, who were we. And so that began their Appalachian journey. And like most passions it got way out of hand after that, right, and now there's 800 acres, 30 some buildings and West Virginia's first Smithsonian affiliate, but you know, the purpose, they wanted kids to understand that we come from an amazing heritage, one to be celebrated, not dismissed. And a lot of the misunderstandings about Appalachia come from our own false humility as opposed to embracing the greatness within. I'm always reminded there was a gentleman who was like the great-great grandchild of the original people. His name was Mr. Bickar, Mr. and Mrs. Bickar lived above us on German ridge. And you know, as somebody who the both of us, you know, you have all those little letters after your name right? So the world deems you educated and always think of Mr. Bickar, because the world would have deemed him uneducated, right? He may have gone to the eighth grade at this little one room school here may I never really learned that part of his story.

Brandon Dennison:

Is this the original one room school on Harmon Ridge?

Audy Perry:

Yeah. And so it's funny, so Skyview drive is really just the continuation of German Ridge.

Brandon Dennison:

Right?

Audy Perry:

When 152 went through, it severed it.

Brandon Dennison:

Okay

Audy Perry:

But that used to be just one ridge. And so depending on how far out German Ridge you lived, you would have gone to the school on Sky View. And but anyway, I'm often reminded of how we deem someone educated, right? Because, okay, yeah, I have the fancy papers. And you know, and I, and I value my education and education is important, but we throw that word around, like, that's the only way to be educated. So Mr. Big Car may not have had fancy degrees, but in the world in which he lived, he's actually was far more educated than me, right? He knew which he knew where all his food came from, right? Because he grew it. He knew which trees is better for a fence post as opposed to a table, you know, or firewood, because he cut it and, and he knew how to repair every single piece of machinery on his farm. I'm highly educated, I can't do any of those things. And so I think it's just a good reminder that the people that got us here are worthy of celebration.

Brandon Dennison:

Absolutely, I've heard you say a couple of times, that this is Appalachia's time, that our time has come. Why do you believe that?

Audy Perry:

Well, you know, for one thing, just as I was pointing out, nobody's ever celebrated before. And, and people love cultural tourism. Right? You go to Louisiana, because you want to understand the culture, right? You you go to Branson, because you want to understand...

Brandon Dennison:

You don't go there to shop at Target. Right?

Audy Perry:

Right. Right. Yeah. Oh, boy, I hope we get to eat it. You know, McDonald's? No, you want to understand the culture, and that hasn't been done in Appalachia. So part of it is just the passage of time and your time is now but I think it's bigger than that. I think, especially in the last couple of years, where uncertainty has rocked everything. So I last year, well, both years during the pandemic, we were able to be open. And so we had lots of visitors from all over the country, because they were just wanting to be most of our things are outside, as part of the creation of the Adventure Park and that thing, so people were able to come. And they had, they were just blown away at the beauty, which we often take for granted. And, you know, they just couldn't believe this is in the middle of summer, they just couldn't believe how green it was. And again, we're like, Well, yeah, it's green. But most of the visitors that just purposely stopped me and said, 'Tell me about this place. I've never been to West Virginia' where from out west where they're suing each other, for water. And we're sitting around here whining and because we just got dumped on again, right. And we've got water coming out of every orifice. And we just take it for granted. You know, we all run inside because it's raining, these people are walking out in it, just thinking how marvelous it was because they haven't seen more than a half inch all year. But I think beyond all of that there is a desire for something new, right? And something new is always if you look at history, something new is always something old, the more things change, the more things stay the same, we always yearn for something new. And what we mean by that is something different. And if you think about what every generation does, every generation simply basically rebels against whatever its parents did. And when they do, they end up reinventing what their grandparents did, but just with the new technology, and we use the country store as an example of that. So we all show up here and 1850 and you run the grist mill, I have the farm and she's she's the tailor, right? And, and the whole community comes to us individually for commerce. Well, the next generation comes along, says, Oh, don't go to all those different places. I just want to go to one place, let's have a country store. All you guys sell your stuff to the store and go to the store. And you know, so that became your hardware store and your pharmacy and your clothing and everything in one place. Next Generation comes along, says, Oh, I can have a better selection of groceries than the country store hardware. And so downtown's were born, you know, individual stores of commerce, which is exactly what you did two generations ago. Right? And then then what's the next generation do? Oh, I don't like going to all those different stores. Hey, I got a great idea. Let's build malls. Again, nothing different than the country store. Just reborn. And then now look at us. We're the next generation. Anybody build malls anymore? No way. We want individual places.

Brandon Dennison:

Unique, a lot of items.

Audy Perry:

Yeah, right. And the end, the internet is clearly part of that I can go online and go to a site. That's all things purple. Right? You know, I mean, it's so anyway, so part of that is just helping people understand that. If you don't know where you've been, you'll never know where you're going. And that popular phrase is true. And and for the entrepreneur, if you can see that and understand that you know where it's headed next. And so being ahead of that curve. I was recently visited by family from Arkansas, and we were going through that conversation, they go, 'Oh yeah. Walmart in Arkansas is already starting to develop niche stores,' that are just grocery stores or just because they know people are tired of aisle 57. You know, that's interesting.

Brandon Dennison:

It is interesting. It strikes me too. I mean, I think a lot of maybe sometimes the negative stereotypes of Appalachia is sort of, it's from yesterday, you know, sort of static sort of stuck in time. And a lot of the exhibits I look at here, so a pretty dynamic, iterating. changing, evolving place.

Audy Perry:

Yeah, as dad would say the only constant is change. And, and, you know, every time two or more human beings get together, it's about change whether they're creating it, or we're avoiding it. And then he would say, but the only people I've found who like change are wet babies, but anyway, but but that concept in Appalachia, you know, I think we talk about generations, it's this this current generation. I think it's very interesting. I mean, the generation of which we are apart, and, and those older than us are part of what, statistically, they just called the brain drain. Right? They all left, because we didn't have jobs. And so all of our friends work in Columbus or Lexington or farther away.

Brandon Dennison:

Well, you know, sadly, even from my generation, a lot of people from high school have died from overdoses, they left or stayed and perished.

Audy Perry:

Right. And I think because of that, and I use that word, tentatively. I don't mean because is in a this cause that I'm not saying that, but this generation of which my children are a part, they've witnessed that. And the Appalachian kind of rises up in him and says, We're not gonna go there again.

Brandon Dennison:

That's right.

Audy Perry:

And in, which is part of one of the cool things I like about Coldfield is it's that generation who's saying, we can do something here. And that entrepreneurial spirit just starts boiling back up. Because that's the fun thing I love giving a tour of the Progress Museum, because based upon our history, we ought to be some of the most entrepreneurial people on the planet, right? Because when you look at what, when you chose to live here, in such isolation, you had to figure out how to do everything yourself. So it's all about problem solving. And I tell the kids, that's awesome, right? Because the basis of commerce is problem solving. Every time you spend $1, it's because you're trying to solve a problem real or perceived, I'm tired, I'm bored, I want to be entertained, we spend money because we want problems to be solved. Well, it's in our blood to solve problems. So the great news is hey, based upon your heritage, you've got a leg up, what problem do you want to solve? And I think that's the fun thing that so many of the new generation is plugging into, you know, quit asking, What do you want to be when you grow up? Or what? How am I going to earn a living? Or what's my job going to be? What problem do you want to solve? Much cooler question, because and most of us won't know it right offhand. But once you find that answer in your gut, that's a pretty good indication of two things. If you really are passionate about solving that problem, that means you have some talent in that regard, and some passion, right? You put talent and passion together, good stuffs gonna happen. And actually, the world will seek you out. And you won't have to search for a job because the world is searching for the answer to the problem. And I'm always reminded, I, I know I've told you this story before, but the very, it I woke up at like three in the morning. And that thought came to me my dad had passed and I'd left the practice law. And I was out here and it's my first round of school tours that, you know, were coming my way. And every little kid you saw, you're like, hey, what do you want to be when you grow up? And I thought, what a terrible question, because we don't even know what jobs are gonna be 15 years from now, you know, I mean, I'm in a museum about progress, where 97% of the jobs in America used to be about food production, and now it's less than 3%.

Brandon Dennison:

Wow.

Audy Perry:

And we're talking about me telling you what job I had no clue what jobs are gonna be here when these kids grow up. But I know there will be problems to solve. And so I'm all pumped up. I'm gonna ask this question and I'm gonna try it out. First time, wake up, look at the schedule. Who's coming today? Dunlow Elementary. Oh, man. This is at that time. And this is a cool story right because Dunlow's resurgence right because of the Hatfield-McCoy Trails, Cabwaylingo, good stuff. But back then, it was nothing that that elementary school was the only public building in Dunlow. There was no truckstop there's no gas station, there was nothing. Because the coal was gone, everything had left. And so I was like, Oh, my word I'm gonna ask, you know. So as I say, now say, because I'm going to tell you this. But if if hope hasn't died and Dunlow, then nobody has an excuse. Yeah. And so I got fourth grade, the first class fourth grade Dunlow Elementary. And so we go through the whole tour, and I asked at the end. So what problem do you want to solve? I tried it for the first time. Little girl shoots her hands up, her her hand up now, by the way, well, so yes, ma'am. What problem do you want to solve? And she says, fourth grade girl says, I want to figure out how to make my grandmother's hands to stop shaking. I was like, Oh, my goodness, are teachers looking to me? Now there's a girl worth following right in fourth grade. So I mean, it was quickly like, we just start. So now, the whole education system works for this girl, right? Because she knows what she wants out of it. She knows what she needs to write. She needs to learn about the human body and disease. And but she was way ahead because she said because we're feeding into this well, her teacher and I, and she says, and she looked at her other classmates she is because yeah, you guys gotta tell Grandma, I'm coming. I was like PR marketing. I mean, this girl knows it all. And what was cool is because she spoke, other kids began having ideas, you know, because most of us are afraid to say things out loud. Because we're afraid somebody's gonna make fun of us. Because that's what humans do. If we don't understand it, we make fun of it. Right? And but it was just amazing. I did not realize it was lightning in a bottle. It was the first time I asked so I just thought it would always be like this. Rarely has any buddy since had an immediate answer. That's not something that you would have heard. Not that it's wrong to say save the whales or feed the children, but that's something you've heard, that you may not personally own yet. Her utterance was...

Brandon Dennison:

Yeah, yeah, passion there.

Audy Perry:

I don't know where Jennifer is right. You know, I just assumed every day would be like that. And so I lament that. But the other cool thing that happened, that has never happened again, we're exiting the progress Museum and all the other kids have walked out. And it's just this was her name was Jennifer, I found out so her name is Jennifer and just her teacher. And she says, and I knelt down. I said, Jennifer, I look forward to the world you're going to create. And she says, she says, Thank you, Mr. Perry. Well, what problem are you going to solve? Yeah, you can dish it out...

Brandon Dennison:

Right back at you!

Audy Perry:

I hadn't thought about it. I just thought it was a good question. And I just charted it out, and I laid it

down and out of my mouth came:

I want to eradicate poverty in Wayne County. And she said, good.

Brandon Dennison:

It sort of reminds me Audy. I mean, you're the executive director of a 800 acres with 30 buildings with growing staff and volunteers. And it's hard work. And I know sometimes you personally feed the animals. Sometimes you're personally cleaning up these buildings. I've seen you swinging hammers riding around in the gator with your boots. What is it that that gives you so much passion for this work? Because anybody who knows you is been inspired by it?

Audy Perry:

Well, you know, God's good right? Now all we're doing showing up. That's really that simple. We've been blessed. And the only reason that happens is so you can be a blessing. And it's it's an ordinate favor of wonderful people. It's just amazing, who shows up. Sometimes they just show up to sell you solar panels.

Brandon Dennison:

And that's how we met.

Audy Perry:

And years later, you're still friends. Yeah, it's just really cool. God, God brings people into your life that, you know, take you down the path that he wants you to take. So main thing is you just keep showing up.

Brandon Dennison:

Here's an unfair question. But I and I've never asked it of you before. Do you have a favorite exhibit? Or a favorite site? Here at the farm?

Audy Perry:

I always have to say, tell me a favorite, because there's there's it depends on what it depends on the group, right? Because I don't know that certain things bring me joy in and of themselves, as opposed to the joy it brings to make a point or to bring out something that helps them in their journey. You know, I love the animals so you know, Marco the bison is just, I'm at awe every time I go by I just love the guy. So that's probably be my answer because I'm just humbled by that creature. Shew, it's amazing the power and he doesn't know it. All my fencing he could really make fun of, even though it meets the law and it's electrified and all the things. Truth is if he felt like he could make us all look like fools, but it's just a cool, it's like meekness. He has the power to do anything, but he chooses not to, because we keep feeding him. We keep him happy. It just a thought I think of him is so there used to be a million bison in the Appalachian Mountains. It's a thought we don't even you know, if you ask somebody today about the American bison, they say Yellowstone.

Brandon Dennison:

A lot of people like Marshall is the Thundering Herd and people think that's so bizarre because they're like, you don't have bison there.

Audy Perry:

This, this, this, the these were the oldest mountains in the country. They were covered in Bison. And so but by the year 1900, there were only 500 Bison left in the whole country. It's just unfathomable to think about that. And, and it helps us remind us that all these things that we think will last forever have a limit, you know, and so and that's part of what I know Coalfield is working on is, how do we think ahead of ourselves that we aren't the end all be all there is a there is a there is an end to the means. But anyway. But the cool story about the bison is there's now 500,000 Bison back in America. So it's a great preservation story. And it's a great reminder that you can solve problems if you work together with other people. So. So that's that one. But from an item in the museum's to come to mind. On the opposite ends of the spectrum. One is the cheese cutter and the progress, or I'm sorry, in the Country Store, which I don't tell people very often because they won't come because if my most exciting things a cheese cutter, they're not real pumped. But

Brandon Dennison:

Stick to the bison for the marketing.

Audy Perry:

Yeah, that's right. But it's because of it's so mundane. I mean, it's a cheese cutter, it's you know, thing. But on it big a day, its patented in 1901 by International Business Machine, I think, 'Oh, my word for your great great grandparents had invested in that cheese cutter company man, we would be riding your coattails right now. But it's a great example of how a company adapted to change, right? There's no fortune 500 Cheese cutter company today. Right? They have had to adapt to the changing circumstances and whims and economies to be what IBM is today. And just notice that that was part of their history. You know, if you look at someone's life, there's some cheese cutters in there that you wouldn't have guessed would be part of their success. But it was built upon lots of those things. And then the other is the 1908 electric truck. Because I just that's fascinating to me so that the electric truck was there at the exact same time as the Model T, same year. And here we are 114 years later still dorking around with the electric automobile. And and but by my true favorite about that is so so it was clearly a blessing on mom and dad to be able to collect all that stuff. It is mind boggling. They're the original American Pickers. Right. And, and they were doing it in the 70s when everybody was just throwing away, you know, Cracker Barrel wasn't hanging it from the ceiling, ceiling and Applebees Applebees wouldn't bind it to hang on the wall. It was junk. Grandma died and they were just trying to get rid of the farm. And this was keeping them from making a subdivision. Right. And so mom and dad were able to get a bunch of it, but it was all broken, and, and shattered. And so the real miracle I'm not saying that wasn't a miracle, but another miracle or one that's that's impressed upon me is again, the friends that God brought around them that knew how to bring these things back to life. Mom and Dad refused to put anything in a museum until it worked again. And so people go through these museums and they see all this stuff. And it's all looks nice and it's painted and all that. That was not mom and dad that was a friend that came along that knew how to refurbish that and the electric truck is one of my favorites because it so there were two of them in the CSX junkyard down there. They bought them both, well, they were both parked in this field down here for about six months. Dad was trying desperately to find somebody to bring it back to life. That's the whole point bforefor it goes into museum it needs to work I want to know how it worked. Dad was a pretty connected person right? Went to Toyota went to Marshall the Engineering School, all the community techs, nobody. Knock at his door. And it was our mailman who had seen it sitting there for six months. And finally got the courage to say, Mr. Perry, would you allow me to work on that? I've been studying. Scariest 10 miles per hour I've ever gotten in my life. Parsons who put that together. I love that story, because man, that is Appalachia. You know, there's people in those hollers that are so talented, but because our economy is never what it should have been, they don't get to earn a living. And what God gave him the ability to do. And so when you're with a group of people, whether it's school kids, so you look at that machine, and you go, all right, that was put together by somebody who the world didn't know they had that talent. And then you look over at that row of school kids, and you're like, they're all sitting right there. One of those kids are going to figure out how to make grandma's hand stop shaking. Right.

Brandon Dennison:

Two things that I love a lot of things about Heritage Farm, but one, you know, it really is about just average people, you know, it's not so I mean, it's not so much about the presidents and the governors.

Audy Perry:

Most museums are about famous people, yeah.

Brandon Dennison:

You know, here's a kitchen and 1900, you know, here's a washroom and 1925. I just love that, that we're all part of history right? We are all amazing people. And I've been on a lot of your tours, you pull these stories out of average people. I know there's a incredible I don't know what the the it's an amusement park model, miniature model of an amusement park. Yeah. All made out of scrap. Yeah, pop cans. Yeah. tuna cans, you know, the gentleman who made that was sort of known as a drunk, if I remember correctly?

Audy Perry:

Yeah, he was a janitor. And even his own family didn't know that. He was a mechanical genius. It took five engineers from the technology museum, to even put the thing back together. And that's when they realized, Oh, this isn't none of this has been purchased. And and there was like some reverse centrifugal force engine that he was using the right you know, that they still hadn't figured out, we had to go to Hobby Lobby and just buy an engine. But yeah, and I think the interesting thing, and that's, that's another good example of what I tell the kids with, with that is, every single one of us has a God given special gift that makes us unique. And you may be an excellent runner, a reader or a listener, fill in the blank, the unique abilities are limitless. Our job is to figure out what it is, and then share it because we weren't a healthy economy. We totally missed out on that guy. I mean, he he could have been the one who figured out what replaces the light bulb changed our whole economy. And we had him making toys in the attic that his own family didn't know, some we miss something. And that's part of you know, I like your all's topic from the day the Reclaim yourself there's responsibility both within yourself and within this community to do that, sometimes, you know, you need to Appalachian up, but other times, you need to help someone in your community to do it, because they don't see it yet.

Brandon Dennison:

And you know, that they got it in them, history tells us that. So the last question, what are some of the biggest changes you've seen in Appalachia, during your time here at the farm? And what are some of the big changes you still hope to see in the future?

Audy Perry:

I think it's confidence. When I first started giving tours, we would have to spend a lot of time explaining why we have a low opinion of ourselves and the kids coming in now, thankfully don't have that they aren't, that hasn't been their experience. Now they may not have the best situation in life doesn't mean all things are rosy, but they aren't blaming where they live for that, that to me is new, I feel like me growing up anything bad happened, well, we could blame x y company or you know, we kind of lived with a victim mentality almost. And that was kind of what felt Appalachian is that you blame somebody else for why you are the where you're, well, where are you we do that because of so and so or such and such and stuff. I don't get that as much anymore, which is great. And, and I think that's, you know, there's a lot of contributing factors to that, but it also is what leads to me to believe that the tipping point is coming.

Brandon Dennison:

Audy, thanks for being such a leader in the community. You're very humble. I mean, you do show up but you really show up to be fully present to be a support. You've supported me and my family and hundreds of others. And you're a great partner, and an inspiring visionary leader and I'm proud to be your friend and collaborator and appreciate your time on the podcast.

Audy Perry:

Likewise, I look forward to the continued journey together.

Brandon Dennison:

Yes, thank you Audy. Change in the Coalfields is a podcast created by Coalfield Development in the hills and hollers of West Virginia. This episode was hosted by Brandon Dennison, and produced and edited by JJN Multimedia. Become a part of our mission to rebuild the Appalachian economy by going to our website Coalfield-development.org to make a donation. You can email us anytime at info@Coalfield-development.org and subscribe to our newsletter for more information on the podcast. You can follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn by searching Coalfield Development. Check back soon for more episodes.