Laura Dean Bennett
Last year was a big year for Pocahontas County’s Extension Agent Luci Mosesso.
In the position since July of 2018, Mosesso is making a name for herself as well as her county at West Virginia University and throughout the WVU Extension system.
In September 2023, Mosesso was one of three extension agents who received WVU’s Outstanding Faculty/Staff Partner Award for Resource Development. This award is given to those who have gone above and beyond in bringing in resources for their programs.
Every March, the university launches a new Day of Giving Campaign.
Mosesso was the 2023 Day of Giving Campaign Ambassador from Pocahontas County. This program encompasses hundreds of charitable funds within the university system.
Mosesso named her project Pocahontas County’s Greatest Needs Fund.
Her goal was to raise enough money to replace mattresses at Camp Thornwood, the county’s 4-H camp.
Those interested in giving to the fund could access it online at www.dayofgiving.wvu.edu
It was publicized in the county on local media and throughout the nation on social media.
Donors to the project included Pocahontas County residents, WVU alumni and through the reach of electronic media, supporters all over the world.
It raised a record $19,710 for the project, which was enough to purchase more than 110 mattresses.
“The response to our appeal reiterates the life-long impact that 4-H has on so many people’s lives,” Mosesso said proudly.
“This award means that we were able to bring 4-H alumni together to support Camp Thornwood – a place which means so much to so many.”
With 40 remaining mattresses to replace (there are 150 beds at Camp Thornwood), Mosesso plans to buy more mattresses this year.
“It’s not just about mattresses – it’s about paying it forward so that our kids in the future can have these wonderful experiences and memories,” Mosesso said.
Pocahontas County was the third highest gift recipient county in the West Virginia University Extension Service system.
The first was WVU Band and the second was cancer research at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown.
Mosesso continues to have ambitious goals for Pocahontas County’s 4-H system.
This year, Mosesso is working on a grant for kitchen improvements at Camp Thornwood.
“We also need cabin windows,” she added.
She’s also hoping to attend to some tree trimming there, as well.
Long term plans include installing sidewalks at the camp to make it more handicapped accessible, and to create some mountain biking trails.
“Mikey Valach and Chad Baldwin have been introducing mountain biking to the 4Hers,” Mosesso explained.
“Right now, the campers have to go elsewhere for it, but I’d love it to be something we can offer at the camp.”
Luci was in 4-H from the time she was eight years old through age 20, and was a camper at Thornwood each of those years.
She worked as a camp counselor, as an extension camp instructor for one summer, facilitating other county camp programs on behalf of 4-H. She competed in state 4-H competitions and state dance camp at Jackson’s Mill in Lewis County.
“It’s been interesting to go back to Jackson’s Mill, not as a camper, as an extension agent and now to have received this award.”
She attends state conferences at Jackson’s Mill and taught service learning organizational skills at the 2023 State CEO Conference and the State Team Leader Weekend there.
“Experiential learning is learning by doing,” Mosesso explained. “It’s my favorite way to learn and to teach.”
“It’s incredible to watch young people discover something new or find their passion. I’m honored to get to do that work. That’s the fun part.
“Service is the best part of my job. There’s so much to gain from participating in service and caring for our communities,” she said.
Mosesso recently received another accolade.
She came back from Christmas break to find an important parcel on her desk. It contained a Value Coin from Extension Service Dean Jorge Atiles.
“It was a great surprise and a great honor,” she said.
The Value Coin was inaugurated in 2017 as part of West Virginia University’s 150th anniversary celebration.
Throughout 2017, WVU senior leaders awarded 150 commemorative coins to faculty and staff “who make our campus community a better place by living our core values of Service, Curiosity, Respect, Accountability and Appreciation.”
Although it originally was intended to last only one year, the program proved to be popular among faculty and staff, so it has continued.
Beginning in 2018, in addition to the coins presented by senior leaders, coin recipients from the previous year were provided a new coin and instructed to “pay it forward” to other faculty and staff who make a difference at the university.
There’s a new design for the coin each year and the “paying it forward” continues to this day.
“Being awarded this coin makes me especially proud because I’m an alumnus of WVU,” Mosesso said.
“One of the neatest things about the Value Coin is that, next September, I get to pass the honor along to someone else. It’s a little like this year’s Miss America getting to crown next year’s Miss America – but way neater,” she said with a smile.
“I tell people I prefer to hide in the background, and to be honest, I do,” Mosesso said. “It’s hard to accept an award with only my name on it, knowing that it really belongs to everyone I work with.
“The people I get to work with are the best – Greg Hamons and Connie Burns, the volunteers who generously give their time and abilities, and the kids whose enthusiasm is contagious and inspiring.”.
“These awards belong to all of them, and only exist because of them.”
Mosesso received her undergraduate degree in Agriculture, Business Manage- ment and Rural Development from WVU. She then received a WVU graduate degree in Agriculture and topped that off with a WVU graduate certificate in Community Development in 2023.
Like we said, 2023 was a big year for this Pocahontas County success story.
Mosesso thinks she has some idea as to why she received the Value Coin.
“I think it was our statewide service project last year- the Capitol Christmas Tree project.
“We were able to involve 4-Hers from across the state – we got at least one ornament from every county. There were 5,308 ornaments created by 4-H campers at camps throughout West Virginia.
“We also created 55 wooden 4-H four leaf clovers to represent each county in the 4-H program.
All the ornaments were packed by Mosesso and 4-H volunteers at the 4-H pavilion at the state fair last summer. The ornaments were delivered to the Forest Service offices in Marlinton and Elkins in preparation for their trip to D.C.
Twenty-seven Pocahontas County 4-H members and volunteers took a field trip to Washington, D.C. to see West Virginia’s Capitol Christmas Tree in all her glory.
The trip was made caravan-style in several personal vehicles.
“We left early in the morning, in the snow, and arrived about noon on a cold and windy day in Washington,” Mosesso said.
“We first toured the National Botanical Garden, which we all really enjoyed. It was truly beautiful and fascinating, and it was quite pleasantly heated,” she laughed.
The group was given a tour of the Capitol, which had been arranged by Senator Shelly Moore-Capito.
The Capitol Christmas tree lighting ceremony put the spotlight on West Virginia and its fine young people.
It was almost dusk when the 4-H contingent assembled around the Christmas tree, listening to the Richwood High School Band playing Christmas carols and watching the tree spring to life during the lighting ceremony.
After the ceremony and a quick photo op of the West Virginians in front of the tree, it was time for the exhausted group to head home.
This year there will be more 4-H fun.
2024 will mark the 80th anniversary of Camp Thornwood, and Mosesso is looking forward to it.
“That’s really something, and we’re all excited about it,” she said. “We’re going to do a ‘Throwback’ theme to celebrate 80 years of camp.”
There have been 80 years of 4-H camp at Thornwood, but there were several years of 4-H camp even before Thornwood, when it was held at the Marlinton Stockyards.
“It’s also Smoky the Bear’s 80th birthday this year so we hope to have Smoky be our guest at camp and celebrate with us.”
This has been quite a year for Mosesso. The awards she received are resting on her desk for now, but where will Mosesso keep her trophy and Value Coin?
“I’ll keep them here in the extension office on the bookshelf next to my two Championship Hog trophies from 2005 and 2007.”
There’s just no taking 4-H out of Mosesso or Mosesso out of 4-H.
“The 4-H pledge is: ‘My head to clearer thinking, My heart to greater loyalty, My hands to larger service and My health to better living,’” Mosesso explained.
“These goals have been relevant since they were created in 1927.
“I believe in the 4-H program and have witnessed first-hand the impact it can make.
“The heart of the Extension Service is the people we serve,” she continued.
“I’m thankful to live in Pocahontas County, raise my family here, and be part of this community.”