AT&T Launches Believe Appalachia Initiative in Huntington

AT&T is collaborating with the City of Huntington to provide assistance to first responders and the community in the ongoing effort to combat the opioid epidemic.

AT&T officials announced Thursday, Oct. 10, that Huntington will be the first community in West Virginia to receive support from the company through its Believe Appalachia initiative. The initiative is one of several AT&T Believes programs that the company has launched to lift up communities across the country.

AT&T will contribute $24,000 to the City of Huntington to demolish three vacant structures and another $20,000 to help build a wellness center at the Huntington Police Department that will be used by police officers and firefighters.

AT&T employees will also volunteer over the next several months as a way of thanking Huntington’s first responders for their commitment to keeping the community safe. Those efforts started immediately on Thursday when AT&T employees helped paint Huntington Fire Department Centennial Station No. 1.

Other efforts later this year will include hosting a movie night for first responders and their families at AT&T’s Huntington call center; making thank you cards for each Huntington police officer and firefighter; and delivering meals to first responders who have to work on holidays.

The announcement occurred Thursday at 902 Bruce St. in Huntington’s Fairfield neighborhood. The vacant structure on the property will be one of the three structures that is demolished through the Believe Appalachia initiative.

Andy Feeney, AT&T’s West Virginia state president, and Huntington Mayor Steve Williams joined other community leaders in dropping an excavator bucket on the vacant structure to kick off demolition work. 

“AT&T is proud to help support the community and its first responders in the fight against opioid addiction through our Believe Appalachia initiative,” AT&T West Virginia State President Andy Feeney said. “That effort begins today with the remediation of an abandoned structure. AT&T employees will team up with Huntington WV Habitat for Humanity to replace this structure with a new home for a local veteran.”

Mayor Williams said AT&T’s contributions will assist Huntington in several ways. The demolition component of Believe Appalachia will further Huntington’s goal of tearing down 100 vacant structures this calendar year and further eliminating a fire hazard and safety risk for firefighters, Williams said.

AT&T’s contribution toward a wellness center and various initiatives to show appreciation to first responders bolster the city’s Compass program, which provides self-care, training and mental health resources to police officers and firefighters as they deal with the high-stress situations of being on the front lines of the opioid epidemic.  

“Our first responders are the only ones who run directly toward danger when the rest of us are running away from it,” Williams said. “I commend AT&T for recognizing their bravery and, through their generous contributions, they are taking care of the first responders who take care of us every day.”