Students Thank Hardy For Opportunity

For Jesse Cook and Ashley Dove, the FRS Youth Tour was “exciting”, “enjoyable”, “amazing”, and even “educational.”

Jesse and Ashley, both rising seniors at East Hardy High School, traveled to Washington, D.C., June 5-9 as part of the Foundation for Rural Service Youth Tour. Hardy Telecommunications sponsored Jesse and Ashley for the tour, paying all basic expenses including meals, hotel, and transportation.  They joined about 100 other students from around the country in D.C., where they toured the sites while also learning about the rural telecommunications industry.  All of the students were sponsored by rural telecommunications companies.

Jesse Cook (left) and Ashley Dove at the U.S. Capitol during the 2010 Foundation for Rural Service Youth Tour.

During a visit to Capitol Hill, Jesse and Ashley visited the Congressional office of Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R – WV) to urge that rural areas such as Hardy County be given equal opportunity for faster broadband speeds under the Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Plan.  The initial FCC proposal established a broadband speed goal that is 25 times slower for rural areas than for urban areas.  (For more information about the National Broadband Plan, click HERE.)

Both Jesse and Ashley wrote about their memories of the tour.

“The Foundation for Rural Service (FRS) Youth Tour was an exciting, enjoyable, and educational experience.  I was honored to be selected by Hardy Telecommunications to go on the tour,” Jesse said.  “I really enjoyed the four days I spent in Washington, D.C., from sightseeing to meeting new people to learning about rural telephone companies across the nation, much like Hardy Telecommunications.

“While in Washington, we were able to visit several monuments and museums, including Arlington National Cemetery and the Smithsonian Institute.  We met with fellow students from across the country with lifestyles much like ours, with small towns and rural communities.

“… I am honored that I was sponsored by the only telecom in West Virginia that sponsors students to attend the FRS Youth Tour,” he said.

Ashley agreed that the trip will stay with her for the rest of her life.

“Visiting Washington, D.C., for the FRS Youth Tour was an amazing experience. … I will never forget the memories that were made while I was there.

“… My favorite event of the whole week was when we were guided through D.C. on a night tour where we were able to see the Vietnam and Korean monuments, the Reflecting Pool, and the Lincoln Memorial.  I would definitely recommend that upcoming juniors consider filling out the applications (for next year’s tour), for this is the opportunity of a lifetime.”