News/Events

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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Cancer survivors share their stories

The 34th annual National Cancer Survivors Day® is Sunday, June 6, 2021. “It’s a day for everyone to join in solidarity with cancer survivors around the world, to raise awareness of the ongoing challenges cancer survivors face because of their disease, and – most importantly – to celebrate life,” according to the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation. In honor of this day, two MEOC employees are graciously sharing, in their own words, their poignant stories of cancer survivorship.

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Four congregate sites to open in June

Some MEOC Senior Community Sites will open with restrictions on June 7 after being closed for more than a year because of the pandemic. One site each in Lee, Scott and Wise counties and the City of Norton will open once a week during June. Locations will include: Wise County – Trinity United Methodist Church, 203 E 1st St S, Big Stone Gap. Lee County – Pennington Gap First United Methodist Church, 41880 E Morgan Ave, Pennington Gap. Scott County – Hiltons Memorial United Methodist Church, 2869 Hilton Rd, Gate City. City of Norton – Norton Community Center, 201 Park Avenue […]

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Program helps cover medication costs for all ages

Ninety-one-year-old Anna Duncan is uncertain how she would pay for some of her needed medications without assistance from Pharmacy Connect of Southwest Virginia. The free program saves her about $1,500 monthly in prescription medication costs, she said. Duncan, a Lee County resident, is among thousands of individuals who receive free or low-cost prescriptions through Pharmacy Connect each year. The program serves the uninsured and under-insured of all ages in the counties of Lee, Wise, Scott, Dickenson, Buchanan, Tazewell and Russell and the City of Norton.

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Annual golf tournament is June 18

The 10th Annual Harold Lester Memorial Golf Tournament is set for Friday, June 18, at Lonesome Pine Country Club, Big Stone Gap. Proceeds will support the Harold Lester Memorial Fund of the Mountain Laurel Cancer Support and Resource Center of Mountain Empire Older Citizens, Inc. The Harold Lester Memorial Fund provides direct help to cancer patients throughout the local community who are experiencing unexpected needs due to a cancer diagnosis. The fund was established a decade ago by Harold Lester’s family in his memory after he lost his battle with cancer.

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Walkathon moving to August

Mountain Empire Older Citizens’ 45th Annual Walkathon, which raises money for its Emergency Fuel Fund for the Elderly, is set for August 29, a change from the event’s traditional spring date. The Walkathon is typically held the first Sunday in May. However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic paired with a later-than-usual 2020 Walkathon, which was held virtually, prompted organizers to push the 2021 fundraiser to August. MEOC Emergency Services Director Marsha Craiger said organizers hope for an in-person event this year if pandemic restrictions are lifted by that time.

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Rapha Foundation awards $50,000 for cancer education

MEOC’s Mountain Laurel Cancer Support and Resource Center will use a $50,000 grant from The Rapha Foundation to provide cancer education in Wise County and the City of Norton. Half the funding will be awarded this year; the remainder will come in 2022. The Rapha Foundation Executive Director Mark Vanover (pictured above, center with MLCC Coordinator Dianne Morris and MEOC Executive Director Michael Wampler) delivered the first $25,000 check to MEOC’s office on February 16. The foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving population health and access to education in Southwest Virginia.

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Foster grandparents embrace remote learning

MEOC AmeriCorps Seniors Director Brandi Barnette with new tablets

Faced with continuing COVID-19 restrictions, MEOC AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers are using technology to stay connected to the program and each other, attend virtual workshops and even participate in activities to improve their well-being. The MEOC program (formerly the Foster Grandparent Program) purchased 18 new tablets using the bulk of a one-time $15,000 augmentation grant from AmeriCorps. The funding was made available to help AmeriCorps Seniors programs address challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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