CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Tracy White says she feels called to serve others and it is a calling she takes seriously.
The tireless advocate is also a wife to Jerry, a mom and the Kanawha County School Board president, but she’d prefer to be known as a mom, rather than a politician.
“We have actually three young adults. They’re not boys anymore. It’s hard for me to say, but we have three young adults and they all have autism. Our youngest is Bailey, and he is on the IDD waiver program in our state,” White said. “In 2015, they were making some extreme cuts to those lifelines of thousands of West Virginians.”
So she organized rallies at the West Virginia State Capitol to help clear the waiver waiting lists so that all West Virginians could have the care they need.
She remembers years ago talking at a meeting where U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller was present when her husband, a veteran, was having issues with the V.A.
White says she had never spoken up in her life, and she says her speech drove Sen. Rockefeller to tears.
“I showed up there one day and I stood up and I spoke for like 45 minutes, and Senator Rockefeller had tears rolling down his face,” she said.
In the last year, she dealt with the unthinkable. Her husband was gravely ill and hospitalized for four months. Some of that time he spent on life support.
A tireless advocate for all, she constantly did whatever it took to keep up the spirits of his medical team.
During Jerry’s hospital stay, the Red Cross gave her a call. The need for blood was dire and, in Jerry’s honor, she became the face of a “sleeves up” campaign.
While at the hospital, she even made a few phone calls to help another family in the same hospital wing with some IDD waiver issues.
“I remember one of the nurses saying, ‘who are you?’ And I was like ‘I mean, I can’t do anything about [about my husband’s health] but like, I can help over there’,” White said.
It was during this same time in 2022 that her aunt and cousin were involved in a car accident. They were found after several days. Her cousin survived, but her aunt did not.
So, it was back to the Capitol to lobby for stronger search and rescue laws.
“She is remarkable, she is talented, she is inspiring, she is noble. She gives without the want or need of reward or even recognition. Her favorite word is we or us,” her husband Jerry said.
Fast forward one year and Jerry is on the road to recovery.
The road has also led Tracy back to the Capitol where she advocated most recently for legislation to keep people with developmental disabilities safe.
“I don’t do any of this alone,” Tracy said. “While I’m grateful that we’re here, like I kind of, yeah, I kind of feel I’m very undeserving because I don’t do any of this on myself. I couldn’t do any of this unless I had people who believe in me and support me no matter what it is.”