LET ME BE FRANK: On ‘My Huntington’


Sadie Helmick | The Parthenon

Franklin Norton, left, stands with Sarah Payne, associate vice president for external engagement at the Marshall University Research Corporation, and Marshall University president Jerry Gilbert at the My Huntington press conference on July 9.

For me, Huntington is personal. It’s where I grew up, where I learned how to ride a bike, went on my first date, graduated high school and started living on my own. It’s where restaurant owners know me by my name and where you can’t ever seem to drink coffee alone.

For too long, Huntington has been beaten down by harsh criticisms. And yes, while Huntington faces significant challenges, that does not diminish the fact that this community is special and unique. Good, exciting things really are happening here. Light shines bright in darkness, and that’s what the ‘My Huntington’ movement is all about.

It’s all of our stories. It’s all of our experiences. And we are going to tell those stories, and we are going to take back the narrative.

We’re not going to settle for negativity, and we’re not going to stay beaten down. If we look for the light, we will find it. For those who are searching for darkness, well, they’re sure to find that, too. But that goes for any city in any country on any continent. I choose to look for the light.

There’s this excitement, this potential in Huntington, that pulses through its sidewalks, and this excitment comes from people who care enough to try. It comes from people who are willing to ask the question, “Why not Huntington?”

As a college student on the cusp of my professional career and personal life, I want to be a part. I want to get my hands dirty with all of the people in Huntington who are putting their hands in and saying this is My Huntington. This is my home—my community—and I want to be a part of that.

All of the experiences I’ve had, all of the lessons I have learned, I want to contribute to my Huntington.

Franklin Norton can be contacted at [email protected]