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Coalfield Champion Patrick Bradshaw Talks Recovery, Resilience, and Refresh

Patrick Bradshaw has spent much of his time in Westmoreland, the westernmost community in Huntington, West Virginia. It’s where he grew up, making friends and memories. It’s where, as an adult, he struggled with substance use. And it’s where he began his journey into recovery, agriculture, and personal development. 

Just five years ago, Patrick “Pat” Bradshaw joined Coalfield Development as a crew member at Refresh, an on-site agriculture enterprise in our Westmoreland-based West Edge Factory. Since then, he’s worked his way up to become the crew chief of Refresh, leaving lasting, inspiring impacts on everyone he’s encountered in the process. 

As a Coalfield Champion, Pat embodies each of the qualities Coalfield Development is founded upon — gumption, grit, and grace. Today, we’re releasing a multimedia story about Pat’s Coalfield experience with a documentary video and podcast (linked below). Through this recognition, we celebrate our colleague — and our friend — Pat Bradshaw, his accomplishments, and his bright future as a leader in our community. 

Pat’s story is a reminder that leadership doesn’t come in one shape or size, and that with heart and perseverance, anything is possible.

Recovery is possible

For several years, Pat battled substance use disorder. It was a struggle that impacted every facet of his life, including his relationship with his sister. After breaking into her home and stealing valuables to sell, Pat was arrested. Seeing his sister in the courtroom for a pre-trial hearing, he said, was the final straw.

“Everything was going good, and then I slipped and fell again,” Pat said of his substance use. “I saw my sister sitting there, and I was in shackles, in orange, shackled around the waist and feet. For her to see me walk in like that, it devastated her and me. And right then, I knew. I went ahead and plead guilty.” 

From there, he began his journey toward recovery — regaining his sister’s trust in the process. Now, he babysits her children each week. 

Digging into agriculture and education

Within months of getting involved at Refresh, Pat knew it was something he wanted to pursue long-term. As an enterprise, Refresh is dedicated to helping agriculture-focused entrepreneurs learn skills needed to establish their own businesses and to supporting farmers in the region to increase access to healthy, locally-sourced produce. While at Coalfield, Pat also graduated from Mountwest Community and Technical College, earning a degree in Technical Studies. 

At Refresh, Pat has done a little bit of everything: He’s learned about the food system, built high tunnels for gardening, and he’s grown, prepared, and delivered various crops and flowers throughout the region. Sharing knowledge he gained from Refresh Project Manager Tim Wiley, Pat now teaches his fellow crew members how to care for the plants in each stage of growth, starting from seeds. 

Through Refresh, Pat hopes to help other communities across Appalachia that have limited or no access to fresh, healthy foods find ways to grow or source their own produce.

On personal development 

At Coalfield Development, we follow the 33-6-3 model, where our crew dedicates 33 hours per week to paid work, six hours per week to higher education, and three hours per week for personal development. For Pat, taking time to reflect and have conversations about his personal growth was particularly helpful. 

“Personal development helps with life,” Pat said. “With every day, with budgeting, with how to make your life better or more responsible. Budgeting, for instance, that’s hard for me, but it teaches you life skills that you don’t normally get or you don’t necessarily know.” 

Coalfield Development CEO Brandon Dennison was quick to praise Pat’s resilience. 

“Our values are gumption, grit, and grace,” Brandon said. “Pat has all three in spades. We are genuinely inspired by Pat’s story and we appreciate him sharing it with us. This is his accomplishment. He’s stuck with it and made it happen. Now, hundreds of other Coalfield Development trainees can look up to him as a role model and as the emptimoe of what this place is all about.” 

Pat cited his wife and Luke Huffman, a lifelong friend and fellow Coalfield crew member, as sources of inspiration in his journey. 

On behalf of our team at Coalfield: We are so proud to call Pat a part of the family. Thank you, Pat, for allowing us to be part of your journey — it’s been a privilege to work alongside you, and we look forward to many, many more years together. 

For more information about Pat Bradshaw’s story, Coalfield Development, or our social enterprises, contact Brandon Dennison, bdennison@coalfield-development.com

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