CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice and Maj. Gen. James Hoyer spoke about the economic impacts of the West Virginia National Guard at the name unveiling of a 130th Airlift Wing C-130H plane on Friday.
Before the two spoke, it was revealed that the C-130H plane would be named “Spirit of West Virginia.”
Both Justice and Hoyer sang the praises of the National Guard for its positive economic impact on the state of West Virginia. Hoyer said that the Guard its extremely reliable and thanked its members for their work.
“Whether it’s going anywhere in the world to do our nation’s business, whether it’s at war or to build partnerships, whether it’s to make sure these airplanes fly or respond to emergencies when the people of West Virginia need you guys, you guys are amazing,” he said. “You do an exceptional job at what you do.”
West Virginia has about 6,500 National Guardsmen and women, and Hoyer said jobs are continuing to be added.
“We’ve grown 150 full-time, federal technician or AGR positions since October the 1st, but as we went back and looked at our numbers, that number is actually up to 203,” he said. “That’s 203 additional federally-funded positions since October the 1st, the start of the federal fiscal year.”
Hoyer emphasized the impact to the economy in West Virginia and said such growth provides more opportunities for people coming into the state.
“That’s a lot of opportunity and a lot of growth for a lot of people in West Virginia. It represents over 5.7 million dollars in payroll coming into the state of West Virginia,” he added.
Justice agreed, saying the amount of money the National Guard produced for the state is incredible.
“The economic impact of what you do for this state is unbelievable,” he said. “A half a billion dollars — do you realize what a half a billion dollars is in economic impact to this state? It’s astronomical.”
Justice added that he will do anything he can to help the National Guard. He said unlike other governors, he understands the hard work the National Guard does because he’s seen it firsthand.
“Oftentimes governors probably don’t have the opportunity to see you in action. I saw you recover bodies; I saw you wade the mud; I saw you come to the rescue of family, after family, after family when they needed you the most,” he said.
West Virginia’s National Guard is giving the state more money but not everyone realizes the work they do.
“Oftentimes we easily forget what you do for us,” he said. “We easily just let it slip away to the back parts of our minds, when really and truly what you give us is unbelievable.”
Story by Jordyn Johnson