In December of 2019, Matt and Emilee were living in Las Vegas, NV following along with Matt's career in the United States Air Force as a SERE Specialist. At the time, Matt had served 16 years active duty, living in 5 different states. With no end in site, the couple decided it was time to lay down roots and be more in control of their lives. A unique opportunity unfolded for Matt to Palace Chase from the active duty force and secure a full-time AGR position in Charleston, WV. Without further ado, the pair began searching for a forever home in West Virginia. Their hunt began in and around the Charleston area. After a few months of searching, a couple airline flights and 3 nights of hotel visits, Matt and Emilee finally found a home in Sissonville, WV. Unbeknownst to them, a drastic plot twist was about to unfold. Things in the military take time and a Palace Chase is no different. Separating from active duty and meanuevering to the ANG takes a lot of paperwork and signatures. An additional month went by and the home they had put an offer on had slipped out from under them. The infamous waiting game was now their ticking time bomb.
Another month strolled by like the pace of a slug in an uhill battle in the mud, but this time their luck had prevailed. Matt's long awaited paperwork finally came to a closure and his orders were set forth. Destination: Charleston, WV. Now it was crunch time to locate a home. With only 35 days remaining until their move date, a local realtor finally narrowed down a few homes. Early on in their endeavor, Emilee had Google-searched "Things to do in Hurricane, WV." An article popped up mentioning a 2-5-5-2-6 plan for an intricate and developed trail system for hiking, biking and running. Interesting enough, the plan's initial vision and headlining title is the town's zip code. Simply put, the goal was to have 5 miles of trail complete in 2 years. And in 5 years, have 26 miles complete. As you know, that plan is tremendously ahead of schedule. That being said, luckily enough, one house in the Bloomingdale subdivision was on the Stevens' radar. The driving force in their exploration for a home was set based on that article Emilee had her eyes on months prior. Without ever stepping foot in Hurricane or Teay's Valley for that matter, Matt and Emilee decided to put an offer in on a house they had only seen through the lens of an iPhone. The two sold their Vegas home in a remarkable 12 hours after being put on the market, which allowed them to move forward with their new home in Hurricane.
Upon arriving in Hurricane, one of the first stops for the duo was Hurricane City Park. Their love for Meeks Mountain Trails had taken shape right in front of them. Since April 2020, Matt's vision of creating a race venue has slowly taken shape. With one race under his belt (Hurricane Honor Trail Race) plus a successful fundraiser (Laps For Cassie), it was time to up the ante and go 'all in' for 2021.
It all started with Meeks Mountain Trails. Stay tuned for amazing competition for the future...
Read the article pertaining to the 2-5-5-2-6 Plan mentioned in the column.