July 12, 2016
Brandon Dennison is the son of two Marshall University professors and the brother of a former Thundering Herd football player, but when it came time for him to go to college, he went to Shepherd University, about 350 miles away in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.
He said he wanted to get away from the area and expand his horizons.
He chose Shepherd "mainly because it was the farthest away I could get with in-state tuition costs, but it still felt far away," he said. He became very involved with Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church, served five years as youth director at the church, and simultaneously served three years as faith outreach coordinator for the West Virginia Wilderness Coalition.
"The church was very committed to social justice," he said. "We would have all of these encounters with poverty all over the country and even the world." He worked with the church on poverty issues at Indian Reservations, inner cities and even those involving migrant workers.
"I even got to go overseas to Nepal and Botswana, and the experience was amazing," Dennison said.
Those experiences led him to found the Coalfield Development Corporation, which aims to provide opportunities for affordable housing, sustainable employment, and a quality life to low-income families in southern West Virginia.
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