Heroes honored

By Erin Duffy, Kanawha Federalist, & Dang Ren, Calhoun Federalist

Mayor Mara Campbell-Boggs and Lieutenant Lee Ann Campbell-Haley, made a special trip to RGS this Tuesday. Campbell-Boggs, the elder of the two, now resides in Senator Mansions court of staff. The theme of RGS 2016 is “Rise Up! Be Your Best You,” and each sister portrays different aspects of this phrase. Lieutenant Campbell-Haley is the physical embodiment of a sentiment integral to the spirit of Rhododendron Girls State: challenging yourself to confront your fears. The Lieutenant was a member of the esteemed 82nd Airborne, where she, along with her sister, Major Campbell-Boggs, was a paratrooper. Despite participating in hundreds of jumps, Lieutenant Campbell-Haley is “terrified” f heights. However, this hero refused to let her natural aversion to heights stop her from challenging herself to participate fully in the aviation program whilst she was stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

Her sister, Campbell-Boggs is another example of the values being taught at RGS. All we need is that one person that believes in us,” the Major proclaimed. And as Campbell-Boggs iterated her endeavors in service, there was no hesitation in her accreditation of the one man who believed in her, Colonel Mike Weir, who selected Campbell-Boggs to command the engineers despite her gender and despite the more prolific sexism at the time. Weir refused to allow Campbell’s gender to detract from her immense ability to lead. And lead she did, fulfilling her earlier sentiment that “these 200 people will come home alive,” referring to those under her command in Iraq.

Both women expressed a strong connection to our proud state, discussing their lasting kinship with the mighty Appalachian Mountains Major Campbell-Boggs went on to remind the young women in attendance of the important role their home state heritage has on their growth, saying “these mountains make you strong.” The sisters originally hail from Keyser WV. Campbell-Haley currently resides in Morgantown. As RGS citizens finish their week a, they should remember Campbell-Haley’s words, “Be a leader in whatever you do.”