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9 Months In the Mountain State

I've been in the Mountain State for over nine months now. It's the longest I have lived and worked in one place in a very long time. Here are some photos from the past few months, November 2015 - February 2016 to be exact. 


Ivan and Violetta Petrosyan embrace at their home in South Charleston, on Wednesday, February 3, 2016. The Armenian couple fled from their home in Baku, the capitol of a Soviet Union republic Azerbaijan, to Russia in January 1989 to escape ethnic violence. In 2006, after 17 years in Russia, the couple flew to the United States to visit their daughter Olga and never used their return ticket. They were successfully granted asylum in 2009 and recently became U.S. citizens during a naturalization ceremony at the federal court house on January 7, 2016. 

A light misty rain made for a foggy afternoon in the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area, a part of the Monongahela National Forest in the Allegheny Mountains of eastern West Virginia, Sunday, November 30, 2015. 

“I was walking on the trail and I thought, ‘God, what in the world is a 70-year-old man [doing] walking around feeling pretty good, and there’s a 22-year-old dead that’s got a kid?’” Bob Rader said, at his home in Oak Hill, West Virginia, on Saturday, January 30, 2016. “That’s the hard part right there, the hardest part of all of this. That someone had to die for me to live. That’s the toughest part of it.” Rader went through heart transplant surgery after becoming a match with Karll Williams, 22, who was shot to death on the front porch of his home in Dayton in January 2014. After two years the homicide case is still open and unsolved, but Rader is in good shape and his body as yet to reject the heart.  

Medical personnel, family and coaching staff surround Buffalo football player Zach Boyer (65) after he suffered an injury on the field with less than five minutes left in the fourth quarter at the Class A playoff game on Bison Field in Buffalo, Friday evening, November 13, 2015. The game was paused for over twenty minutes as two Putnam County Ambulances were dispatched to the field and Boyer was taken to a nearby hospital.

White cotton grass grows along the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area, a swampy lowland bog that spans 750 acres in the Monongahela National Forest near Hillsboro, West Virginia, Tuesday, November 4, 2015. 

A tow truck crew works with the Charleston Police and Fire Department to pull a black pick-up truck out of the Elk River, near Charleston Area Medical Center’s Women and Children’s Hospital, Friday morning, November 20, 2015. The truck driven by a middle-aged man plunged into the Elk River shortly after 10 a.m. Friday. He was rushed to the hospital after being pulled from the car by a few divers, but died later that evening. 

Tayan Cooper, 10, who will be playing Ralphie Parker, is dressed in a pink bunny suit backstage during dress rehearsal for the Charleston Light Opera Guild's A Christmas Story production being held at the Norman L. Fagan Theater inside the West Virginia Culture Center in Charleston, December 15, 2015. 

Left: Gwen Ashman, 10, walks down the runway in a homemade Dasini water bottle dress during the Recycling Coalition of WV, Inc.’s, 13th annual Re-Fashion Show at the Charleston Town Center mall in downtown Charleston, Saturday afternoon, November 21, 2015. Right: Katie Castellucci, 17, waits by the side of the stage during the Recycling Coalition of WV, Inc.’s, 13th annual Re-Fashion Show at the Charleston Town Center mall in downtown Charleston, Saturday afternoon, November 21, 2015. The dress made from recycled West Virginia Living magazines was created by Alexa Gerrard, who was in the audience during the show. Gerrard said it took about a month and a ton of hot glue and tape to put the dress together. 

Hershel "Woody" Williams, a retired US Marine and the last surviving member of the Medal of Honor recipients for heroic acts during the battle of Iwo Jima, suggests a motto of "Peace We Seek, Peace We Keep" for the T-ESB naval ship named after him. A room full of family, friends, politicians and military personal gathered together for the unveiling ceremony of the USNS Hershel Woody Williams (T-ESB 4) ship at the Capitol Complex Culture Center in Charleston, West Virginia, Thursday afternoon, January 14, 2016. (For the American Legion)

Patience Meadows, 6, (center left) holds Kaylee Prichard's  hand (center right) as they walk off stage with Pate Mannon and Theo Thompson (back right) during the fashion show at the 12th Annual Wedding Expo held at the Charleston Civic Center in downtown Charleston, Sunday afternoon, January 3, 2015. The clothing modeled on stage during the show came from local stores, including The Boutique by B Belle Events, Jos. A. Bank and Jean Ann's Bridal. 

A dog named Buster, who is available for adoption through the Kanawha-Charleston Humane Society, leads Lexi Hall through Court Street alongside other adoptable dogs and volunteers during the annual Charleston Christmas Parade in downtown Charleston, Saturday morning, December 5, 2015. 

Retired Lt. Col. Rick Hunter (left) pins his wife Paige Hunter (right) as she is promoted to Brigadier General, the first woman to earn the title in the state's history, during a ceremony held in her honor at the 130th Airlift Wing in McLaughlin Air National Guard Base in Charleston. W.Va., on Saturday, February 6, 2016. Remarks about Brigadier General Hunter's accomplishments were given by Major General James A. Hoyer, Becky Neal, Executive Aid to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and U.S Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito before she was pinned and presented with a special general officer flag. After completion of the Academy of Military Science, Hunter was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of the West Virginia Air National Guard in 1983. Through the years, she has moved up in rank through several positions and has served in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. 

Pro-Life rally attendees, including Nellie Gillispie (right to left), Pat Grass and Leigh Bellomy, participate in a silent prayer walk after the Pro-Life rally ended at the West Virginia State Capitol in Charleston, W.Va., on Tuesday, Feb.16, 2016. Patty Cooper of Parkersburg, a longtime anti-abortion activist, silently lead a big group of attendees through the Capitol to bring awareness to their beliefs. Anti-abortion groups, such as West Virginians for Life, are working with legislators to pass SB 10/HB 4004, otherwise known as the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, which would ban a common procedure used for second-trimester abortions.

A roar of cheers erupt from the crowd as Keisha Bankson places a crown on Elijah Slash's head during the "Night to Shine" prom held in the gymnasium at Teays Valley Christian School in Scott Depot, W.Va., on Friday, Feb.12, 2016. For the first time, The Church @ The Depot partnered with the Tim Tebow Foundation to host a “Night to Shine” Prom for anyone ages 16 and older with developmental or physical impairments. The nation-wide event took place simultaneously at churches, including the Depot, across the country on Friday, February 12, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

Jim Ratliff, one of 10 new computer coders at BitSource, a start-up company in Pikeville, Kentucky, worked for 14 years in the coal mines of eastern Kentucky. “A lot of people look at us coal miners as uneducated,” said Ratliff, a 38-year-old with a thin goatee and thick arms. “It’s backbreaking work, but there’s engineers and very sophisticated equipment. You work hard and efficiently and that translates right into coding.” (For Bloomberg)

Ray Hartzell (center), Owner of G and R Contracting, helps Robert Daniel Barbour (right) into the truck before loading the electric wheelchair into the back at the intersection of Capitol and Quarrier Streets in Charleston, on Friday, January 22, 2016. During the heart of the snow storm, Hartzell and Tucker Clay (not pictured) saw Barbour struggling to get around with his electric wheelchair and decided to give him a ride to his final destination on the west side of town.