Part of West Virginia success story: eastern panhandle’s Ranson showcases vaccine rollout

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RANSON, W.Va. (WDVM) — West Virginia has been basking in a positive media glow over the efficiency of its vaccine rollout – the state is seen as a national model. One eastern panhandle town is a showcase for the state’s success.

We’ve all heard the stories about the scramble for the vaccine. Waiting on hold forever, not being able to get through online. Ranson Mayor Duke Pierson is being proactive by mailing postcards to all his residents – in more than one language.

“We’re going to send postcards out to all the people who have a 25438 zip code,” said Pierson. “One side will be in English, how to get connected to get the vaccination. On the other side, it will be in Spanish.”

The Ranson community center is a beehive of activity, but a most orderly and efficient one.

Michele Goldman, volunteer coordinator, said, “It’s just been amazing. We’ve got about 150 volunteers that have been willing to come in. I tell them they’re the first line in fighting this battle.”

And the key to success, according to Mayor Pierson? “Volunteers. Cooperation and the hard work of everybody involved. I don’t care what the project is. You have got to have all those things. If you don’t have it you’re not going to be very successful.”

Heather Yost, a volunteer coordinator, said, “I just want to thank each and every person that has given us their time and help.”

Pierson said that Ranson can be a model for the rest of West Virginia and elsewhere. Their well-organized vaccine distribution is supported by their local health and police departments, the Jefferson County sheriff, the regional West Virginia University Hospital and an army of dedicated community volunteers.

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