Logan, WV group becomes official United Way agency - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Logan, WV group becomes official United Way agency

Posted: Updated:
Richard Ojeda, one of the founders of the LEAD Community Organization. Richard Ojeda, one of the founders of the LEAD Community Organization.

United States Army Major Richard Ojeda found that when he came home from deployments his community in Logan, WV was slowly going down hill.  Drugs, prostitution and abandoned buildings were all symptoms of the decline. For the past two years, he and others have been taking action to bring about change.

"Drugs and drug use is rampant in this area here," Ojeda said.

He said it was a conversation with his brother in law that prompted them to form the LEAD Community Organization in Logan County back in 2011. They decided they couldn't complain about the state of their neighborhood if they weren't willing to do something.

"I would find myself spending years at a time in other countries fighting to clean up their back yards and I would come home and find mine progressively getting worse every time I would return," Ojeda said.

Now, they have numerous projects under their belt ranging from graffiti cleanup, to toy drives to litter clean up and a soup kitchen.  Friday, they announced that they will become an official United Way agency. It is a big step for the group of dedicated dreamers. 

They have also been working with government groups in the area to encourage the demolition of several abandoned and run down buildings.

"You know we are starting to shed light into the darkness and when you do that all of the bad things go away," Ojeda said. He believes the structures are a haven for crime and decrease property value in the community.

He said LEAD is about something bigger than helping individuals. He said he hopes the group will empower people to believe things can be better.

"I can get 50 kids out here to pick up trash," he explained. "It is that one guy that doesn't care to roll his window down and throw his McDonald's wrapper out the car door, that is the person we have to reach."

There was a volunteer appreciation event in Logan Friday evening to thank the many people who have spent their time on LEAD's numerous projects.