By Cindy Rank
Congratulations to Beth Baldwin.
She and her cohorts in the nursing profession worked tirelessly at the WV state Legislature these past few years to achieve greater recognition, acceptance and authority for Nurse Practitioners, and nurses in general, professionals who have much to offer our rural communities in particular.
In December 2016 WVAHC (West Virginians for Affordable Health Care) awarded Beth the association’s Rockefeller award for her work on behalf of WV Nurses in advancing better and more accessible health care throughout West Virginia.
“I have spent my life goals working to improved healthcare outcomes for all” wrote Beth. “I have met the most wonderful supporters in the journey, physicians, nurses and environmental experts. I have learned and shared from every new adventure. It will take us all to get to where we need to be with healthcare delivery and primary prevention of illness in this country. Especially with the current political turn. So we double up on the fight and the victory will be that much sweeter. We will get there together someday. “
Beth’s strength, tenacity and endless energy is worthy of recognition. She not only worked full time in her profession, and spent endless hours at the legislature, but also along with her husband Larry maintained a beautiful 65 acre farm in the Grafton area.
For members of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy Beth is best known for her service on the Board of Directors representing the local community group called TEAM (Taylor Environmental Advocacy Membership).
For more than a decade Beth fought tirelessly alongside her neighbors and TEAM members to educate the community about their rights and responsibilities in the face of the disturbance and destruction caused by the expansive Leer longwall coal mine they challenged but were unable to stop when the permits were applied for in 2004. She assisted with the multiyear effort to monitor streams and wells and springs in the area to be undermined and wrote several stories for the Highlands Voice recounting the ongoing efforts to preserve the communities in the area.
Many will recall Beth’s painful recounting the coal company’s excessive but unsuccessful attempts to protect the home she and her husband Larry built and the farm they loved – disruptive measures of trenching and boarding up and wiring together the house, efforts to rescue valuable fish from the disappearing pond, and the final irreparable harm to both house and farm.
As Beth heads east away from the painful reminders of a dozen grueling years of doing battle with Arch Coal we add our voices to those of WVAHC in recognizing her beautiful and strong presence that has enriched us all..