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Community Members:

As for an introduction I am Erica Lucas and anyone can contact my mobile phone at 304-887-8540. I have lived in Welch for over ten years and last year ran for Welch City Council. McDowell County is one of a kind but it can be better.

Here is one idea I would like to share about how to take something ugly and turn into something beautiful. McDowell County is littered with many abandoned homes that have not had human inhabitants in many years. This is very obvious to see when one drives through the county. Recently my family restored a ceiling in our home using reclaimed wood from a house on Hobart Street in Welch. We pulled the wood from the studs in the abandoned home, loaded it in a truck, washed the wood and removed the nails, cut it to size, and put it up!

I’ve got tons of compliments from how beautiful this project turned out. It has encouraged me to think about all of the possibilities and ways these old abandoned structures can be used in a positive way to create jobs and put money and resources back into the communities they are in. Please help us facilitate a discussion about this topic by leaving a comment below the photos and don’t forget to send a link to this page to a friend!

PS: If you’re in or close to McDowell County please come to the event I’m leading to organize – Networking in War on behalf of the McDowell County Community Initiatives / Holler Home Facebook Group from 2-4 pm on Saturday, February 7 at 5 Bros. Pizza in War. More info can be obtained by visiting the Facebook Group at this link (see the events tab at the top).


Here are the results:







The finished room – using reclaimed wood from an old home. The light fixture is made from piping materials and mason jars – a DIY project!




Posted on:

Community Members:

To help tell my story, I’ve included 12 videos featuring or about country music in this post. Click on the upper left of the video window to select “Playlist” to toggle between videos.

People often ask me two questions. The first is, are you artistic like your father? My response to answer that question is the quote often attributed to Pablo Picasso and William Shakespeare “The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give it away.” I believe I was blessed with a number of gifts, like us all, and for me creativity and courage are two of them. So with that in mind, here’s my stab at making one of the first new posts on the Holler Home website by telling Part 1 of my story.

“This is real, this is your life, in a song. Just like a road that takes you home, yeah this is right where you belong; this is country music,” sung Brad Paisley as I meandered along the Blue Ridge Parkway, the closest mountaintop country road from my first hometown, Mount Airy NC.

It was the summer of 2012. I was twenty-five years old, and in search of a new wind. I was taking the day to leisurely make my way up to West Virginia to visit my father. I had recently resigned from my job in Raleigh, NC, ended a relationship, and wasn’t sure where life was taking me next, so I welcomed the opportunity to take a detour off the iconic I-77, to drive fast with the windows down and let the high 80 degree temperatures thaw my spirits while I snapped a few photos and got a good bite to eat.

I got my answer a few days later, when back at my mother’s, my Uncle David sent me a text: “Go where God leads you.” That was all it took, and shortly I found myself living, for the first time as a permanent resident in the state they call almost heaven: West Virginia.

Except my corner of West Virginia is McDowell County. It’s a place that gets real, real fast. Despite the many people who have already worked for years on trying to solve McDowell County’s problems, it is still the poster child for what’s wrong in America. One comes here to face the truth. The mountains here have almost cut it off from the rest of the world entirely, at least at first glance. Nashville songwriters must know places like this, when they produce hits like Tim McGraw’s “Drugs or Jesus,” or Eric Church’s “Give Me Back My Hometown.” For those of you that aren’t already in the know, McDowell County leads the state in nearly every measurable quality of life indicator, and this info is constantly soaked up and engrained into the minds of national journalists. It is also home to four generations of my family.

For the next few months, I spent most of the time riding along with my father, Tom Acosta, an accomplished artist who’s more than 40-year career has produced countless works of art to inspire and make people think.

Then, I got the call I’d been waiting on from someone at West Virginia University.

I will post Part 2 of my story when there are at least 10 other posts from others on the Holler Home website. Until then, follow me on Twitter at @Natey87.