All posts by Paula Culbertson

New freezer trucks to improve meal delivery to region’s elderly

Mountain Empire Older Citizens has added two new freezer trucks to its vehicle fleet that will allow the agency to be more efficient in meal delivery to the region’s elderly. Purchase of the trucks follows a year during which the agency served a record number of people through its home-delivered meals program due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (VDARS) provided funding for the specialized vehicles.

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5K for Mountain Laurel Center a success

(PHOTO: Kathy and Gary Kennedy, parents of Leigh Ann Bolinskey, were among supporters at the Dec. 11 event named in honor of their daughter.) The 2021 Leigh Ann Bolinskey Memorial 5K Run/Walk is expected to raise more than $18,400 for the Mountain Laurel Cancer Support & Resource Center. Sixty-four people participated in the event, held in Big Stone Gap on the evening of Dec. 11.

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Morris receives outstanding older worker award

PHOTO: Dianne Morris (center) is the 2021 Mae French Outstanding Older Worker Award recipient. The annual award recognizes a Mountain Empire Older Citizens employee at least age 55 who demonstrates exemplary service, kindness and commitment in the workplace and community. With her are MEOC Executive Director Michael Wampler and Older Worker Program Director Carrie Stallard.

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5K to benefit Mountain Laurel Center

Participants are needed for the 2021 Leigh Ann Bolinskey Memorial 5K Run/Walk on Dec. 11 in Big Stone Gap to benefit the Mountain Laurel Cancer Support & Resource Center. This year’s 5K will be a night race, starting and finishing at Big Stone Gap Visitor Center and taking participants through three miles of holiday lights and decorations on the town’s Greenbelt Trail. Registration will open at 5 p.m. The race will begin at 6 p.m.

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45th Walkathon boosts Emergency Fuel Fund

The 45th Annual Mountain Empire Older Citizens Walkathon so far has raised $116,650 to help heat the homes of local older adults in need this coming winter. Held Sunday, Aug. 29, on Big Stone Gap’s Greenbelt Trail, the event was a fundraiser for MEOC’s Emergency Fuel Fund for the Elderly. That fund assists older people in Lee, Scott and Wise counties and the City of Norton with heating emergencies during winter months. Those who are at least age 60 whose income is at or below 150 percent of federal poverty guidelines are eligible for assistance.

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86-year-old is steadfast Emergency Fuel Fund supporter

BIG STONE GAP – Eighty-six-year-old Laura Jessee’s donations arrive faithfully at Mountain Empire Older Citizens each month, always accompanied by a handwritten letter with her signature. The mailed contributions are to the Emergency Fuel Fund for the Elderly. That program, funded entirely by donations, helps older adults in MEOC’s three-county service area in emergency heating situations. In her letters, Ms. Jessee never fails to mention her continued prayers for those in need.

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Grant will provide liquid nutrition to area cancer patients

A $500 hunger and poverty grant from the United Methodist Appalachian Ministry Network will provide liquid nutrition to about 20 cancer patients served by Mountain Laurel Cancer Support and Resource Center. Center Coordinator Dianne Morris was recently notified of the award by UMAMN Executive Coordinator Angela Kirtdall. “This grant will help support the special nutritional needs of cancer patients who are awaiting or receiving treatment. We are so thankful to receive the award,” Morris noted.

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Organizers excited for in-person Walkathon

Mountain Empire Older Citizens’ 45th Annual Walkathon, which raises money for the agency’s Emergency Fuel Fund for the Elderly, is set for Sunday, Aug. 29, at 2 p.m. at Big Stone Gap. Registration will begin at 1 p.m. The 5K walk will start at 2 p.m. at Bullitt Park and proceed along the Greenbelt Trail. A hamburger picnic for participants will follow the event. The fundraising goal is $165,000, and the community’s support is needed to reach it.

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Golf tournament raises money for cancer resource programs

Fifteen teams participated in the 10th Annual Harold Lester Memorial Golf Tournament on June 18, raising more than $12,000 to assist local cancer patients and their families. The event, held at Lonesome Pine Country Club in Big Stone Gap, benefits the Harold Lester Memorial Fund of the Mountain Laurel Cancer Support and Resource Center. MLCC is operated by Mountain Empire Older Citizens, Inc., the local Area Agency on Aging serving Lee, Scott, and Wise counties and the City of Norton.

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METGo! launches June 28

Mountain Empire Transit (MET) will launch a new on-demand transportation service in and around the Town of Wise and City of Norton on Monday, June 28. METGo! will be part of the first microtransit services in Virginia. Mountain Empire Transit is one of two public transit systems chosen by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) for the 18-month pilot project; Bay Transit in eastern Virginia is the other system. The project will explore how microtransit technology can improve service efficiency and rider experiences in rural areas.

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