The My Huntington Movement

A collaborative initiative by various groups aims to promote Huntington’s positive aspects and share them with the world.

By Jean Hardiman

It can be found in a walk through the Rose Garden at Ritter Park, in an incredible show at the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center, during a victory ballgame at Marshall University or during a perfect dinner downtown. It can be found on a spring morning at Heritage Farm Museum & Village, a summer evening with the kids at Camden Park, an afternoon at the Huntington Museum of Art or at one of Huntington’s can’t-miss festivals. It can be found in the people.

It’s Huntington’s magic. And it’s everywhere.

The people who know and love the city already grasp that. They know that whether they’re into sports, music and the arts, faith, food and drink, the outdoors, growing businesses or helping others, Huntington has an abundance to offer. It will fill up your calendar. Quickly.

It’s just a matter of celebrating that and sharing the good news, which is precisely the mission of a movement that has gotten off the ground in the city.

The My Huntington Movement is a collaborative effort of various groups to coordinate positive messages about the city and showcase the reasons why it is loved by its citizens. They have a website

(www.myhuntingtonwv.com) and invite testimonials from those who want to share their fondness of the city and good experiences here. They urge Huntington residents to use the #MyHuntington hashtag on social media posts highlighting the beautiful places, people and projects in the city. They urge donations for marketing efforts that reach a greater audience.

“This movement is important to Huntington because our city is on the cusp of something great,” said Amy Frasure, a founding partner of Bullseye Total Media, which has teamed up with Bulldog Creative Services among others to give #MyHuntington legs and make it a reality. “Our city is growing, our city is thriving and, above all else, our city is full of amazing people who truly care about each other. We need to take ownership — as business owners, as citizens — and do our part in shedding positive light on the place we all call home.”

Frasure’s involvement began back in January, when Marsha Mattingly of Beltone invited her to join a group of business owners with a vision to make Huntington a better place to live, work and raise a family.

“During the first meeting, everyone was going around the room talking about all the reasons they loved Huntington. I sat there observing and listening and thought, ‘We need to tell the world about why Huntington is special to us, not just each other,’” Frasure said.

Meanwhile, community leaders from the city of Huntington, the America’s Best Community Committee, Cabell Huntington Hospital, St. Mary’s Medical Center and Marshall University were on the same path. They had come up with the “My Huntington” concept.

“We shared the same vision, so it only made sense to join forces,” Frasure said. “Just like every city, we have our problems; but Huntington is thriving, and it’s about time we tell others about it. We are proud of this community, its growth and, most importantly, its people. The My Huntington Movement is way more than just an advertising campaign. It’s a platform that allows anyone and everyone to tell their story.”

One of those stories told on the website is that of MacKenzie Morley, owner of Kenzington Alley in downtown Huntington, who is a member of the board and joined the grassroots effort in January. She is relatively new to Huntington, having moved here after her husband found a job in the city. But it didn’t take long for her to fall in love, and, informally, she’s been promoting Huntington since opening her women’s boutique in 2016.

“Huntington isn’t perfect, but we are not facing challenges that are specific to only our town,” Morley said. “However, we have let the negative press and frustrations infiltrate, cloud and ultimately distort our whole vision of our home, and we truly needed to set some perspective on our reality.

“We are actually on the forefront of driving innovative strategies and programs that are leading the nation in resolving issues that are plaguing many cities,” she continued. “At the same time, we are seeing incredible investment into our city because individuals, local and afar, are seeing the growth and potential that we possess. On top of it all, we have massively positive stories that reside right in our own community that deserve the spotlight shed on them, and that is what we are here to do.”

She’s pleased with the warm reception of the initiative so far.

“I believe this resonates so well because this isn’t a city initiative, this isn’t a recruiting campaign for Marshall, this isn’t a marketing push for investors. This is our residents, our business owners, our people working to tell the amazing stories of this city, and all you have to do is look at the social media posts or stories that are being shared on several media outlets to see how well this is doing,” Morley said. “And this is just the beginning. We officially launched this summer, but this isn’t a timed project. This is a lifetime of working to remind our residents of how special we truly are.”

It has been a true team effort, Frasure said, adding that her agency joined forces with Bulldog Creative Services, technically a competitor, to make it happen.

“Both ad agencies have worked together seamlessly for the betterment of Huntington on the creative and media relations front,” she said. “Not only are both ad agencies donating their time, but they are putting their media commissions in a community betterment fund for Huntingtonians in need.”

The movement has set up a board and is actively accepting donations and testimonials.

“We have developed a strong community presence with our participation in events and with the help of advertising. Right now, our goal is to get as many people as possible to share their #MyHuntington story,” Frasure said. “Future plans would include taking #MyHuntington outside of our area, and encouraging others to visit. Our hope is that #MyHuntington becomes a constant in this great city — a constant beacon of support and encouragement, a constant positive conversation with your neighbors, a constant reminder that we truly live in one of the greatest places on earth.”

To participate, visit www.myhuntingtonwv.com and the #MyHuntington social media accounts.

“We encourage anyone and everyone to share their story on their own personal social media accounts, or via our website,” Frasure said.

Donate to the movement online at donations.tristatefoundation.org. The Foundation for the Tri-State Community is managing donations.



 

JEAN HARDIMAN is a freelance writer living in Huntington, West Virginia. She is a university relations specialist at Marshall University.

 

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