September Community Captain of the Month: Joseph Gutshall

Active Southern West Virginia takes great pride in its Community Captains. We strongly believe that without them our mission would be impossible. They are dedicated to making their communities a happier, healthier, and an altogether brighter place to live. We are forever grateful for their service and passion for creating equal and free opportunities for their community members to participate in. This month we are highlighting the accomplishments of our Oak Hill Community Captain, Joseph Gutshall, to both show appreciation for his service and to showcase a little bit of his story. We hope it will resonate with some of our readers and motivate them to start their journey toward a healthy and active lifestyle change.

First, a note from Joseph:

“As the new Community Captain for Active Southern West Virginia for the community of Oak Hill I would like to take the opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Joe Gutshall and I currently live in Rainelle WV. I teach Health and Physical Education at Collins Middle School.  My wife, Stella, of thirty-one years teaches third grade at New River Elementary. We have our home in Rainelle for sale as our three sons have grown and with our attachment to the children and community of Oak Hill we desire to be closer to our work.

I graduated from Liberty University in 1981 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Physical Education. As things would have it I worked as a residential building contractor for the bulk of my adult life. Three years ago I decided I wanted to pursue my dream of teaching which brought me to Oak Hill and Collins Middle School. I have just completed my Masters of Science Degree in School Health Education from West Virginia University.

As a community captain my goal along with the partnership of Active Southern West Virginia is to provide opportunity for students and families in Oak Hill to be more active as they pursue personal goals of increasing their physical activity levels in and around the community of Oak Hill.”

Joe was awarded one of the WV County Teachers of the Year this year.

He has now served as a Community Captain for Active Southern West Virginia for 5 weeks leading a group of runners and walkers on the White Oak Rail Trail every Tuesday and Thursday meeting at 5pm in the lot off of Virginia Street as you go toward Pizza Hut. He is currently searching for an indoor option to keep his group active throughout the winter season and has found interest in the Line Dancing classes at Fayette County Vo-Tech. We are in search of sponsorships totaling in $300 to help cover the fee for this community group to be able to utilize this option. If you or someone you know would be interested in providing a sponsorship please have them email Courtney Roark at [email protected] or go to this site and scroll to the bottom of the page to make a donation.

Very soon after starting his program as a Community Captain, Joseph went above and beyond to also become a Training Team Coach for Active SWV and now coaches a Beginner to 5K Training Team that is training for the October 31st Devil Dash 5K, a community race that Joseph has been organizing since he has been a teacher at Collins Middle School with a special focus on brining the community and school together for the common cause of becoming more physically active. The Training Team meets with Joe’s walking/running group every Thursday at 5pm for their group training run and have a training manual that includes a weekly training schedule. We are actively seeking a $150 sponsorship for this team to cover the cost of training shirts and race registration fees. If you or someone you know would be interested in providing a sponsorship please have them contact Melanie Seiler at [email protected] or donate directly by going to homepage and clicking to donate at the bottom of the page.

Joe with a few of his walking/running group members.
Joe with his Training Team and some walking/running group members.