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Gov. Justice Observes Two-Year Anniversary of First COVID Briefing

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov. Justice announced that Friday marked the two-year anniversary of his very first statewide briefing to discuss COVID-19.

It also marked the two-year anniversary of the day he issued a State of Preparedness for COVID-19 and gathered with members of his administration to discuss the state’s next moves as the disease approached.

“I would have never believed that I’d still be in front of you talking about this two years later,” Gov. Justice said. “And even as long as it’s been, I still remember that day like it was yesterday. People were really scrambling around. We did not have a detected case in West Virginia yet, but we knew we had to get ready. So we got to work early on and we stayed ahead of the curve. West Virginia became the envy of the nation, if not the world. Here we were, out in front of everybody, because we gathered all the players together: the National Guard, the DHHR, all of the people that could give us real input into what was going on.

“This was supposed to wipe West Virginia completely off the map,” Gov. Justice continued. “It could have. We were the third oldest state in the nation, with the most chronic illnesses of any state, and we were a state surrounded on all sides by big populations of people. But even with all of that stacked against us, we stayed ahead of the curve.

“I want to take just a second today to thank all those out there that really did incredible work. You ran to the fire. All of our first responders, all those in the health care community across the board, the people that worked at the grocery stores; all West Virginians kept pulling the rope together. I could never thank you enough.”

Also on Friday, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks on COVID-19 to announce that he has appointed Brett W. McMillion as Director of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. 

“I congratulate Brett in every way,” Gov. Justice said. “I’ve taken my time with this selection because I really believe that – with how important our natural resources are to our state – the selection of who is going to head up the DNR is a tremendously important decision.”

Over the past 25 years, McMillion has served in administrative roles with Panther State Forest, Bluestone State Park, and Pipestem Resort State Park, before taking on the role of Deputy Chief of West Virginia State Parks.

“I am very, very confident that I’m selecting the right man for the job,” Gov. Justice added. “Brett has done an incredible job as the Deputy Chief of our State Parks system. I know he’ll do a wonderful job as our DNR Director.”