BECKLEY, W.V. (LOOTPRESS) – Those driving down Harper Road Thursday evening may have noticed a group of residents at the Chick-fil-A intersection bearing signs and gaining supportive horn honks from passing cars.
The demonstration, which was held in opposition to the national COVID-19 vaccine mandates and the push for vaccination by hospitals and the military, was organized by Todd Kirby, a local business owner and attorney. Thursday was the fourth demonstration Kirby has held in two weeks.
“It’s not giving anybody any freedom of medical choice or the decision to decide what is best for them and their family,” Kirby said of the mandates.
With each new rally, more people have attended to show their support, but Kirby says it will take more.
“I am just one person. Even with the 35 people that showed up, that’s just 35 in a community of tens of thousands just here in southern West Virginia,” he noted. “My main goal is just to get people thinking and to get them asking questions about our political leaders and what the political leaders can’t seem to answer.”
Brandon Steele, a Republican Raleigh County delegate, attended Thursday’s rally and said he was happy to join with regular citizens wishing to share their concerns.
“Whether you want to get the vaccine or whether you don’t want to get the vaccine, that is your personal choice…” Steele said. “What we need to see the government doing right now is stop putting people in a situation where they need to resist something. What they need to do is go back and remember why they are doing what they are doing: to protect people. That is why you get in government. You get in government because you want to protect people’s personal rights, and that is now what the government is doing right now. It’s doing the exact opposite.”
Among those rallying was Brandy Stover, a Raleigh County citizen and worried mother. While Stover has attended rallies before, she said this is her first rally in opposition to a national mandate.
She was never involved with a national issue until it began to affect her children. Stover told Lootpress that she was trying to set an example.
“My daughter has to see a specialist because the masks are causing her nosebleeds and other issues,” the mother of four said. “I want to stop the mandate for my children’s future. I feel that it’s important for people to start standing up. It’s not political, but these are my kids. I just feel like people should have a choice.
“Now, I am going to stand up. These children are the future, and they need to know to stand up for themselves.”
Kirby says as the government continues to push, more people’s “red lines” will be crossed, and more rallies will be held.
“We are fighting against this, and we will continue to do so for a while,” he shared. “This is vital to our nation. It’s vital to our republic that we are able to go to the streets and petition our government for change and ask the questions that are not being answered. It’s energizing to know that we are not alone.”
Stay up to date on future rallies here.