An AmeriCorps Member’s Great Story

Each Preserve WV AmeriCorps member is required to submit a “Great Story”, which is about the people we serve.  This Great Story comes to us from Rodney, PAWV’s Preserve WV AmeriCorps member.

I am eight months into my AmeriCorps service term with the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia (PAWV).  Many of our days involve traveling into rural communities where historic gems are tucked away around every bend and just over the next hill.  Our goal is to promote preservation efforts throughout the state; no projects are too small or big.

A large part of my position involves assisting with windows restoration workshops.  I was surprised to learn of the importance of preserving windows to maintain a building’s historic integrity.  But look at any building, and the size and arrangement of windows is entirely evident and inheritably important.  Each historic window is a piece of artistic and careful woodworking.   What is equally surprising to me is the feasibility of preserving these pieces, even for an average home owner or property steward. Through our workshops, we seek to instill confidence in Do-It-Yourselfers to follow through with their own windows project.

A very recent and successful workshop occurred at the Shepherdstown University.  The workshop was attended by students and open to the public for free due to two grants.  In total we had around 35 attendees for the two day workshop.  Many expressed their own takeaways and similar revelations to when I started learning about windows restoration.  To that end, they left excited and more comfortable regarding their own windows projects.

Historic Windows Workshop in Shepherdstown.  Derrick Smith of Allegheny Restoration assisted with presenting this workshop.

Historic Windows Workshop in Shepherdstown. Derrick Smith of Allegheny Restoration assisted with presenting this workshop.

Each of these workshops continues to spread information on historic preservation throughout West Virginia.  Each of the participants, whether they have a project of their own or just have an interest in old things, takes something away from the presentation.  Hopefully they view preservation as valuable to their own communities.  As word spreads, it is my wish that West Virginians continue to recognize the range of historic resources and the need for preservation in the Mountain State.  And upon seeing how even windows can be restored with a couple of tips and tricks, realize that even tackling the larger projects is doable and help is always within reach.

Many people gathered at the windows workshop at Shepherd University to learn about how to weatherize and rehabilitate historic wood windows.

Many people gathered at the windows workshop at Shepherd University to learn about how to weatherize and rehabilitate historic wood windows.

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