Submitted by Charlotte Lane,
Public Service Commission Chairman
Lane turned on her car radio one morning and had to smile. John Denver’s song, “Country Roads” was playing, which always makes her happy. She is not an exception in loving this song; and hearing it lifts her spirit, which is true for all West Virginians.
As she listened to the lyrics, her mind drifted to the many who use the state’s highways every day as they travel through the mountains. West Virginians are a friendly bunch, not only offering hospitality, but caring about the safety of others. She has often watched a Mountaineer stop to change a flat or check on a stranded motorist. Residents care about people.
At the Public Service Commission of West Virginia, the staff is also diligent about safety inspections. The transportation officers perform inspections routinely on the large trucks and buses that travel the highways to make sure they meet strict safety regulations. They also man the weigh stations throughout the state that help keep commercial motor vehicles in compliance with state and federal regulations.
As Denver traveled through the state, Lane is sure he found great pleasure. He clearly defined the people and the state’s majesty in his lyrics. He portrayed West Virginians well.
“Country Roads” is one of West Virginia’s four official state songs. It captures the core of the state’s natural wonders and the spirit of its people. Denver’s tune is catchy, but his lyrics pay tribute to a remarkable place to raise families.
The well-known chorus, “…take me home, to the place I belong,” invigorates Lane. Residents are proud of the state and truly feel that sense of belonging. The people make this land unique, but the beauty and culture add to the magical nature of the state a person calls home.
When he sings, “Life is old there, older than the trees,” Lane is reminded of the deep-rooted history that breathes life into every corner of this great state. The heritage and culture are woven into a person’s very fabric through stories of resilience during troubled times, through one’s hard-working nature, and the strong spirit of the people.
As a person journeys through the rolling hills to explore the state’s hidden treasures, let Denver’s song guide a person along those country roads, reminding one of what makes West Virginia so special. Think about the great people who made the Mountain State what it is today; and whisper a thank you to the great transportation officers. And remember, this is “Almost Heaven.”