By Ali Thompson
Almost Heaven… that is our state motto but I disagree with it. West Virginia IS Heaven, in every sense of the word! Growing up here was an honor. As a child, I would run freely through the fields, play in the creeks and steal a snack from the garden. I always felt such peace and most of all completely and totally safe. Neighbors were more like family as no one locked their doors and as a skinny child, it was the goal of the neighborhood to fatten me up so I was supplied a meal everywhere I went.
What I wouldn’t give to go back to this magical time.
My love of my state carried on into adolescence and adulthood. The first celebrity I ever heard of was Jerry West and of course the beloved West Virginia University. Many tears have been shed over losses by both the football and basketball teams and of course, much joy even as my father ripped the ceiling fan from its place after jumping for joy when the men’s basketball team made the Final Four in 2011. The stigma of my state has never bothered even me. Upon hearing I am from West Virginia, some people’s gazes turn to my feet to see if I am wearing shoes. My response has always been, “This is my very first pair. Am I doing okay with them?”
My father’s response to this has always been that the stigma is fine with him as it keeps undesirables away from our beautiful state. Unfortunately, a gang of them were roaming the streets of Morgantown on November 7, 2009. A Virginia native who chose to further his education at WVU met an unspeakable fate this morning. Ryan Diviney’s life was forever changed in such a senseless tragedy that to this day is still difficult to come to terms with.
I along with many friends travel to Morgantown every year to attend either a football or basketball game. We too have ventured out in the wee hours of the morning to a convenience store to satisfy a craving, just as Ryan did. The people we encountered were so friendly! One, dressed up as a Mountaineer, even picked me up, spun me around and kissed me on the cheek! That’s just how WVU fans are! We love our state, our team and each other!
I don’t personally know Ryan or the Diviney family but their pictures tell a story of a young man very happy at WVU, with close friends and a love of West Virginia sports. That this tragedy happened in my state let alone at all is horrifying. Especially knowing others egged it on and did nothing to stop it. Had myself and my friends been there, we would have done everything in our power to protect Ryan as he was and remains to this day one of us, a proud Mountaineer through and through.
I think of him and his family every day. I am so familiar with their blog I have their daily routine down pat in my mind. As I am preparing for work I say to myself, “I bet Ken and Ryan are deep into their therapy session by now.” I feel such a deep connection that I have never felt with anyone I don’t personally know. I feel this is due to the one thing we share, our love of West Virginia and WVU.
I donate monthly to Ryan’s Trust Fund but feel compelled to do so much more. Therefore, the one thing I can do which, is what his father Ken says means the most, is to keep Ryan Relevant. I share his story with everyone I know and will continue to do so until Ryan completely recovers, no matter how long that may be. Once a Mountaineer, always a Mountaineer and we NEVER give up on each other. Ryan will ALWAYS be “One of Us.”
Okay, good episode. I also liked the interaction between Michael and his mother. The similarities between her and the counselor was fantastic.The Nefzi guy, I believe he died last season in Heroes (or something) and now he died in Burn Notice. He gets good gigs.I am curious about the Arabic thing Michael pulled at the end. Did Carla screw up and respond intvynctiseli? Or did she know what she was doing?Hard to believe she screwed up like that.
Yelp has filtered out 1/4 of our reviews most had a 4 or 5 star rating. I complained and just go their canned explanation of their policy. Now they want me to have an ad. No way. They have cost me more customers then any ad could ever make up. Would not recommend to anyone. There are many other restaurant review sites that do put you or our customers in time out ……… especially if they haven’t rated another place on their exclusive lol network.
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If you wrote an article about life we’d all reach enlightenment.
Another great video Dave!How did you do this interview did Ali have the queotisns and just shoot her side of the interview and send it to you to make it look like a live 2 way?Many Thanks,michael
Jen Lovelace says
You have a true gift for writing! What a beautiful testament to your state, and to Ryan. I too go through the day thinking of what Ryan, Ken, Sue and Kari are doing. I know Duke and Tucker are holding down the fort:). Ryan will always remain relevant!:)
Carla Liberty says
What a wonderful piece! Beautifully-written, and tied together in a big WVU bow. LOVED IT! Thank you for keeping Ryan relevant!!!! You rock 🙂
Rhonda Morin says
Woohoo Wild and Wonderful West Virginia! It is a beautiful state and for the most part the stigma does keep the riff raff out. I am going to use your line, yeah this is my first pair, how am I doing with them. So funny! You make my love my home state that much more. 🙂
Lots of folks have come to love the Divineys without ever having met them. And I would bet almost all of us wish it had happened for a different reason. Yet, we remain by Ryan’s side daily with love and support.
Thank you for sharing Ali.
Great post. Brings back the memories of a time when the world was a lot safer. We continue our prayers for Ryan to continue getting better. Thanks for the article.
Gail Doyle says
Ali, Thanks for sharing a wonderful post. How true , that we all know Ryan
through his Dad, Mom and Kari’s posts and good people like you. He will always be relevant!!
My heart runneth over with love – this post sums up why I love being a part of Team Diviney! Thank you for all your support, love, caring and commitment to Ryan, Ali!!! Your post today is truly inspiring. Ryan draws amazing people like yourself to him. Thank you for sharing your beautiful words with us!!
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