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WVU Children’s Hospital unveils Joe Manchin locker, marks donation to Hostetler Family Resource Center

MORGANTOWN – WVU alumni – and former WVU football quarterbacks – Jeff Hostetler and Sen. Joe Manchin joined Thursday to unveil Manchin’s locker space in the Jeff and Vicky Hostetler Family Resource Center on the top floor of WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital.

Hostetler pulls the curtain to unveil the locker.

The resource center offers a sports-themed getaway space for families of the hospital’s young patients, and the two walls of locker spaces honor WVU athletes and others who’ve donated money for the center. Manchin joins the likes of NBA legend Jerry West, WVU and NFL quarterback Mark Bulger, Coach Don Nehlen and more.

The Hostetlers and their Hoss Foundation initially donated $750,000 for the resource center; the foundation followed that with another $175,000 to benefit the “I Am A Mountaineer” initiative, a coordinated effort to create the sports-themed family resource hub designed to look like a WVU locker room.

Following the initial donation, WVU Medicine says in stories recounting the history of the resource center, Hostetler felt he needed to do more. In the middle of the night, the idea of reaching out to his fellow former WVU athletes came to him.

“Tens of thousands of former athletes – men and women across all sports – have come through WVU,” WVU Medicine relates Hostetler saying. “And, it occurred to me that we as former athletes could do something that’s never been done before and pull together the funding for this floor. If I committed to this and could get some guys to match me, we could get this ball rolling.”

Manchin noted that all three of his and Gayle Manchin’s children were born in Morgantown. “This hospital is pretty special. It’s built around children and it’s taking care of children in their most dire times.”

He visited WVU Children’s when he was governor and was impressed by the dedication and commitment of the staff, he said. “Once you’re part of the Mountaineer Nation, you’re always a Mountaineer. … Everything we have done and everything that we are is because of WVU. And this hospital means so much to us.”

Gayle said, “We’re proud to be WVU alumni. We’re proud to call West Virginia home.”

She pointed out some of the features of Joe’s locker: a family picture, a picture of Manchin on his motorcycle – “That’s part of who Joe Manchin is.” – some bullet points of his career, a big photo of him in his WVU football uniform.

At the top is one of Manchin’s favorite quotes by President John F. Kennedy, whom both he and Gayle said was so important to West Virginia. Manchin read it aloud: “Let our patriotism be reflected in the creation of confidence in one another, rather than in crusades of suspicion. Let us prove we think our country great, by striving to make it greater. And, above all, let us remember, however serious the outlook, however harsh the task, the one great irreversible trend in the history of the world is on the side of Liberty – and we, for all time to come, are on the same side.”

Manchin said WVU Medicine has been consistent in making its needs known to him, and he’s been able to provide earmarks – Congressionally Directed Spending – for Children’s. Those include $2.7 million in 2021 to help complete construction of the hospital, $8.5 million in 2022 for surgical space and equipment and to finish build-out of the top floor, and $6.2 million this year to expand the NICU, PICU and birthing center.

Children’s Chief Administrative Officer Amy Bush replied, “On behalf of the Children’s Hospital, thank you so much.”

Manchin’s donation wasn’t disclosed on Thursday, but WVU Medicine noted in various reports that Bulger and others donated $100,000 each.