Introduced Version House Concurrent Resolution 42 History

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hcr42 intr

(By Delegates White, Marcum, Phillips, R., Stowers, Eldridge, Phillips, L., Moore, Tomblin and Reynolds)

Requesting the Division of Highways to name all sections of the King Coal Highway, I-73/74, running through Mingo County, West Virginia, the "Mike Whitt Visionary Leadership Highway".
     Whereas, Michael D. "Mike" Whitt was born on June 25, 1952, in Williamson, Mingo County, West Virginia, to John Whitt Jr. and Mary Jane Hatfield-Whitt; and
     Whereas, Mike Whitt died on Thanksgiving, November 24, 2011, in his beloved Mingo County, in the loving presence of his family; and
     Whereas, Mike graduated from Matewan High School in 1971;
     Whereas, Mike entered Marshall University and graduated in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education and Health; and
     Whereas, Following his graduation in 1975, Mike Whitt continued at Marshall and received a Master's Degree in Education Administration; and
     Whereas, Mike's early career began in the classroom where he was a Mingo County educator for five years after which he spent eleven years working in the mining industry; and
     Whereas, In 1987, Mike was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates at the age of thirty-five and served until 1989; and
     Whereas, In 1990, Mike assumed the Executive Director position with the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority where he devoted the next twenty-two years of his life as a tireless advocate for his beloved Mingo County and its' citizens; and
     Whereas, Since the creation of the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority, Mike and countless team members worked diligently to create economic development and diversify the economy, paving the way to a brighter future for all of Mingo County; and
   Whereas, During 2001, the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority began working with coal companies and permitting agencies to form a plan which would leave post-mined properties more usable after the minerals were extracted by the coal companies; and
     Whereas, The end result of this collaboration was the passage of Senate Bill 603 which permitted all county governments to adopt a Land Use Master Plan; and
     Whereas, Mingo County's Land Use Master Plan was the first in the state to be adopted in 2001, allowing Mike and the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority team to create successful partnerships with coal companies, land companies, regulatory agencies and state and federal agencies; and
     Whereas, In 2004, Mike and the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority were awarded the EPA's Region 3 Phoenix Award, a most prestigious award that recognizes individuals and groups who are working to solve the critical environmental challenge of transforming abandoned industrial areas into productive new uses; and
     Whereas, Many people have described Mike as a passionate and visionary leader who accomplished many projects during his tenure, the most notable of which are development of the Mingo County Wood Products and Industrial Park; development of the Belo Industrial Park; development of Mingo County Fish Hatchery; construction of the I-73/74 King Coal Highway; construction of the new Mingo Central High School; construction of the Air Transportation Park; and, lastly, the Coal-To-Liquids Plant; and
     Whereas, Mike was one of three founders of the Hatfield McCoy Trail System, served for a brief time as its Executive Director and is credited with opening the first three-hundred miles of the trail; and
     Whereas, Mike was the former chairman of the Hatfield-McCoy Regional Recreation Authority, a member of the West Virginia State Recreational Trails Advisory Board, a member of the West Virginia Economic Development Council, past chairman of the Corridor G. Authority Site Selection Committee and a member of the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce; and
     Whereas, Mike was a former member of the Employee Advisory Committee at Southern West Virginia Community & Technical College, Williamson Campus, a former member of the College's Board of Advisors, a member of the Williamson Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees and a founding member of the Mingo Central High School Athletic Foundation; and
     Whereas, Mike had a passion for sports and enjoyed coaching as well as officiating high school basketball, softball and football which he did for twenty-six years; and
     Whereas, In his free time, Mike enjoyed gardening, attending sporting events and spending time with his beloved family and friends; and
     Whereas, Mike married Regina Edwards in 1974 and together they had four children: Katrina (Ikie) Whitt-Estepp, Jennifer (Jerad) Whitt-McComas, MaryAnn (Brad) Preece and Michael John Whitt; and
     Whereas, Mike had one grandchild, Brieann Preece; and
     Whereas, Mike was of the Christian faith and a member of the Delbarton Church of God; a man of prayer, always giving the full credit and glory of all things to the God of his understanding; and
     Whereas, On November 24, 2011, West Virginia lost a great man, a great visionary and a monumental champion for the people of Mingo County; and
     Whereas, Following Mike's death, among the many condolences, statements were issued by:
     (1) West Virginia Governor Earl R. Tomblin who stated, "Mike was an exceptional leader with an incredible passion for Mingo County as well as the entire state. From his time and service in the Legislature to his leadership of the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority, the lasting impact of Mike's work can be seen throughout our state, especially Southern West Virginia";
     (2) Congressman Nick Joe Rahall, stating, "Mike was a rare breed. He was a thinker and a doer. An architect, designer, businessman, contractor, banker, craftsman, laborer and a street smart handy man whenever, wherever the need arose . . . all rolled into one. He redefined public service with a mix of down home common sense, hard work, ingenuity and innovation. He was light years ahead of others in forging public funding and, above all, creating good paying, sustainable jobs for families. His work will live on here in the county, our state and country. It sure will live on in the team he created with the Redevelopment Authority. We all can take joy from this occasion that while it came far too soon, that what time we had with him it was a privilege and honor to know this man of faith, family and friends; that our lives will continue to be enriched from the times we shared with him";
     (3) Senator Joe Manchin, who stated, "Mike was a visionary. He not only saw the big picture, he drew it and then colored it in with remarkable detail. Then, harnessing his extraordinary determination and organization, Mike built the relationships and partnerships that could make this vision a reality. I cannot even count the legacies that Mike Whitt left in Mingo County and for our entire state. He will never be forgotten and his work will stand for generations to come";
     (4) Coworker and Executive Assistant, Leasha Johnson, stating, "I believe in my heart that Mike Whitt, more than anyone I've ever known, was born to make Mingo County a better place. And, that, he did";
     (5) Former West Virginia House of Delegate's Member and Current Executive Director of Mingo County Redevelopment Authority, Steve Kominar, who stated, "Mike was a true son of Mingo County and was not shy about that. He loved this county, its people and the future of Mingo County"; and  
     Whereas, Mike gave so much of himself, his heart and his mind to West Virginia and, in particular, to Mingo County, that it is most fitting for a highway which opens Mingo County to the world, a highway that Mike was instrumental in developing, to be his namesake and an everlasting tribute to this great man; therefore, be it
     Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Division of Highways is hereby requested to name all sections, existing and to-be-constructed, of the King Coal Highway, I-73/74, running through Mingo County, West Virginia, the "Mike Whitt Visionary Leadership Highway"; and, be it
     Further Resolved, That the Division of Highways is hereby requested to have made signs, to be erected at the beginning and end of each section of the Highway and at regular intervals along both sides of the highway, that state, in bold, prominent lettering, the "Mike Whitt Visionary Leadership Highway"; and, be it
     Further Resolved, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates forward a certified copy of this resolution to the widow of Mike Whitt, Regina Edwards Whitt, with separate certified copies to his four children; certified copy to the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority; certified copy to the County Commission of Mingo County; and, certified copy to the Secretary of the Department of Transportation.
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