OSMRE / VISTA Team Projects
Rural Appalachian Improvement League
OSMRE / VISTA: Maria Dimengo
Supervisor: Dewey Houck
Address: 300 Front Street, Mullens, West Virginia 25882-1304
Voice Telephone: 304-294-6188
Web site: www.railwv.org
Congressional District: 3rd
Bureau: Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE)
The Rural Appalachian Improvement League’s (RAIL) mission is to make Southern West Virginia a healthier and more economically vibrant place to live.
About the Surrounding Community
Mullens WV (population 1500) is the largest city in Wyoming County (population 23,000). For most of the 20th century, Mullens was a thriving railroad town, particularly during coal booms. While the population of Wyoming County has decreased by 17% since 1990, the population of Mullens has decreased by 25%, primarily because of the waning coal industry and natural disasters; Mullens was nearly destroyed by flash floods in 2001. Wyoming County ranks 55th (out of 55) among West Virginia counties in Quality of Life, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s 2015 County Health Rankings. Of the residents living in the zip codes served by RAIL, 20.45% live below the national poverty level; the average per capita income is 36.19% below the national level.
Rural Appalachian Improvement League’s VISTA project brings qualified support to Mullens to start new programs and sustain existing ones, including the Wyoming County Diabetes Coalition, a Farmers Market, and a youth engagement program. The OSMRE/VISTA is developing a paid community-service program for opportunity youth (people between 18-24 who are neither working nor in school) in the county. The OSMRE/VISTA is also building capacity for local agriculture in the county by starting a Farmers Market and exploring ways to support new industries in the county. Finally, the OSMRE/VISTA works with visiting volunteer groups from around the United States to ensure that their time spent in Wyoming County is positive and educational.