Celebrating 50 Years of Service

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Look up service in the dictionary, and you'll likely see something like this: "an act of helpful activity; help; aid."

However, if you look it up in life, you see someone like Jay Rockefeller.

His 50 years of devotion started as a public servant with VISTA, all the way back when he wasn't much older than Malik Smith.

"An example to folks like me that you can make a difference," said Smith.

A sophomore at South Charleston High School, Smith has quite a few years before receiving a celebration of this grandeur.

However, thanks to Rockefeller, the drive is there.

"Go out there and serve, and just do what you can," said Smith.

Saturday night, this room for the Jefferson Jackson dinner was filled with people who give to a cause much bigger than themselves. All of them have aspirations thanks to this man.

"if I could have the resume at the end of my time that Mr. Rockefeller has, then I would obviously be very blessed," said West Virginia State Senator Daniel Hall.

Rockefeller's service continued even on his day of celebration, attending the ribbon cutting of a new health clinic in Dawes, West Virginia that he pushed for.

"It's all those hundreds and hundreds of little bills, big efforts," said Rockefeller, "to help create something like this."

Things like that, that are cementing a legacy that's as admirable as the one he hopes will stay behind.

"That I was an honorable, and honest, and hard working public servant," said Rockefeller, "and that everything I did was for the people. That's what got me up in the morning, that's what allowed me to sleep at night."

Rockefeller says although he's finishing up politically, he still plans to be involved in West Virginia.

He said he came to West Virginia with no plans to stay, but after one year, he had no plans to leave.

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