Homer Hickam & Look Like A Local -WVP008

On Episode 8 of the WV Podcast, our famous West Virginian is Homer Hickam, Jr. and we are playing the first half of an interview Jeff had on the New York based podcast, Look Like A Local. The host, Joel Hiscutt finds people in various cities to learn where to eat, what to see and do locally, so when a tourist visits, they won’t seem like a tourist, but can Look Like A Local. Jeff is talking to Joel about Charleston, WV. 


This episode is sponsored by Skylight Media in Vienna, West Virginia.




Welcome to the WV Podcast, West Virginia’s Podcast. This show features the great state of West Virginia and stories of the amazing people who make it such a wonderful place to live. Your hosts are Jeff & Dee Holbrook. Let’s tear down the negative hillbilly stereotype that has been assigned to us by the national media. Let’s tell our own story.


Maker Of The Rain, our theme music, was composed and performed by Tonya Kouns Holbrook




Jeff-  WV Musicians United Community on Facebook


For local WV musicians. Post your music, join new projects, meet fellow local artists. Closely monitored NO negativity, REAL music only, NO sell/trades.







West Virginia Day In Florida


The page is about West Virginians in NW Florida who get together each year on the first Sunday in May to celebrate and remember their home state. It started 27 years ago and is still going strong. It takes place in Milton, Florida. Check out the page on Facebook for more details.









Ellenboro is a town in Ritchie County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 363 at the 2010 census. The town is located at the junction of U.S. Route 50 and West Virginia Route 16; the North Bend Rail Trail also passes through the town.[6] 


Ellenboro once had a glass factory and at a much earlier time a very well known resort. However, both have ceased operation. The town was created in the early 1900s and was named after the postmaster’s daughter, Ellen Mariah Williamson, the eldest daughter of the family that granted a right of way for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to build their line through the town; an earlier name for the community was Shumley.[7] Ellenboro was incorporated in 1903.[8]



Happy Trails Cafe


Our Story 

  by  Gary Schoeny


 Gary and Mary Ann Schoeny have always enjoyed skiing in the winter at Canaan Valley, West Virginia. They talked about how it would be great one day to open up a small Gourmet Coffee Roastery. They are “true” coffee lovers who enjoyed researching a great deal about coffee and the roasting process.  Gary and Mary Ann thought that when they retired from their professional positions they would do something they were both passionate about.  Gary worked as an Information Technology Manager for a large company, and Mary Ann worked as a Administrative Assistant/Contracting Officer for a government law office.  


 In April of 2003 (4 days before Easter) while still in Charlotte, Mary Ann was driving home from work in rush hour traffic and was in a severe car accident.  She was in the right lane when a construction truck carrying 7, two hundred and fifty pound roof trusses, swerved causing its load to shift.  The trusses hit the rear of her Trailblazer while spinning around the trusses were banging the side of the car then spun around and hit the front driver’s window by the front windshield post.  She was told that 2 inches either way it would of killed her.  The double impact caused her to have a traumatic brain injury. 


 Mary Ann was unable to read complete sentences or walk (without assistance) for about 4 to 6 months.  She was told that the pathways in her brain had been damaged.  She suffered severe headaches when trying to do or listen to anything.  Test results showed that  Mary Ann had a “traumatic encephalopathy”;  recovery at that time was unknown. 


   Because of this, Mary Ann was no longer able to work at her position with the government.  Her healing was going so slow, and Gary knew it would be a good time to resume looking for their dream of opening a Gourmet Coffee Roastery.   

In the designing planning stages…Mary Ann would dream of what the coffee shop should look like.  Gary tried to build just as she described to him.  It was a long process of trying to put the Café together just right, but they were both pleased with the outcome.  You can find the finished pictures at www.happytrailscafe.com.


In the fall of 2004 their Gourmet Coffee Roastery opened its doors…it was awesome to receive the great reviews.  Gary and Mary Ann’s dream of having a Gourmet Coffee Roastery had come to be. They were told by their customers how the atmosphere made them feel so much at home. Customers shared that they were able to feel the love that has built Happy Trails Café.  Gary and Mary Ann still laugh about the stories their customers tell them about seeing Mary Ann , and how they enjoyed talking with her.   


  A few years ago they had to close the “eat in” portion of their café…it was very difficult for Gary to take care of Mary Ann and stay open for “walk-ins” full time.  Mary Ann has to rest after each task in order for her pain to go away.  


    Additionally, their coffee is being sold in several restaurants, convenient stores and Coffee Shops.  You can find them on FACEBOOK and at www.happytrailscafe.com 


If you are ever in Ellenboro or enjoying the scenic North Bend Rail Trail, stop by and enjoy an amazing cup of gourmet coffee with The Schoeny’s. 


We are committed to roasting the best quality gourmet coffee. We devote ourselves to giving our customers the finest of quality care and service. We love what we do and look forward to serving you! 




Homer Hickam, Jr

Homer H. Hickam, Jr. is the second son of Homer, Sr. and Elsie Gardener Hickam and was raised in Coalwood, West Virginia. He graduated from Big Creek High School in 1960. While there, he led a group of boys who built rockets. They called themselves the Big Creek Missile Agency. After working on finding the perfect way to build rockets, they took their designs to the 1960 National Science Fair, where the BCMA won a gold and silver medal in the area of propulsion. Hickam graduated from Virginia Tech in 1964 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering.

A United States Army veteran, Hickam served as a First Lieutenant in the Fourth Infantry Division during the Vietnam War in 1967 and 1968. For his service, he earned the Army Commendation Medal and Bronze Star Medals. He served six years on active duty, leaving the Army as a Captain.

For the next 10 years he was an engineer for the Army, and then began working for NASA.

Hickam worked in spacecraft design and crew training. His specialties at NASA included training astronauts on science payloads, and extra-vehicular activities (EVA). He also trained astronaut crews for many Spacelab and Space Shuttle missions, including the Hubble Space Telescope deployment mission, the first two Hubble repair missions, Spacelab-J (the first Japanese astronauts), and the Solar Max repair mission. Prior to his retirement from federal service in 1998, Hickam was the Payload Training Manager for the International Space Station Program.

He began writing in 1969, publishing many articles in magazines and then had his first book published in 1989. It was called Torpedo Junction, and was about the battle against the uboats along the American east coast in WW2.

In 1998 the book he is most famous for, Rocket Boys was published, and it was a best seller in various editions, was the basis for the critically acclaimed movie October Sky.

He continues to write and publish today. Homer’s newest book, ‘Carrying Albert Home’ will be available in October 2015.




Skylight Media is a team of photographers, videographers, audio engineers and editors dedicated to making high quality media products at an affordable price. Based in Vienna, WV, they provide photography and videography services for events, weddings, reunions, concerts and more. They love what they do and they want you to love it too! They provide a pleasant experience and a product you will be happy with, and proud to share!


Skylight Media

3201 13th ave

Vienna, wv 26105



Look for their page on Facebook!


The Website:  http://www.skylightmedia.com/




All of the contact info will be available on wvpodcast.com. Look for Episode 8.





Look Like A Local


Jeff was interviewed by Joel Hiscutt on the travel podcast, “Look Like A Local”. It is a show that interviews a local resident of a town to find out what local restaurants, attractions and hidden gems are available so a tourist who visits will look like a local resident, knowing exactly where to go and what to do. Great concept for a show!

Today we are featuring the first half of this interview. 


Here are the links to the two episodes of Look Like A Local that featured Jeff talking about Charleston.










Our featured video today is a demo for the “All of us West Virginians” Facebook group. It was produced by Holbrook New Media and includes an amazing slideshow of images taken by members of the group showcasing the stunning beauty of the state of West Virginia. When combined with the beautiful piano soundtrack created and performed by Tonya Kouns Holbrook, this is a must see for anyone living in the state, or just wishing they were.


The link for this video will be in the show notes for episode 8.







Thanks so much for listening to the WV Podcast, West Virginia’s podcast. Come to wvpodcast.com and let us know what you think of the show. On the website there are links to subscribe. You can also email your comments and suggestions to feedback@wvpodcast.com


Let’s Tell Our Own Story.

Check out this episode!

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