Roark Sizemore helps strangers every day and asks nothing in return. If only we could all be more like Roark.
Many people in the Morgantown community already know the name Roark Sizemore. You may also know that he’s a 22-year-old volunteer dynamo working tirelessly to rally the troops and stamp out hunger in Mon County through the nonprofit he created—Pantry Plus More—with Mon County Commissioner Tom Bloom.
In our books, Roark is someone who identifies a problem and works relentlessly to find a solution. He doesn’t wait for permission to make the world around him the kind of place he wants it to be. He represents the very best of humanity.
But even full-time humanitarians have a backstory. Here what else you should know about Roark.
- He had hoop dreams, as many kids do, when he was younger, and he still likes playing basketball with friends. He also likes to read and play video games with his buddies. But for the most part, he lives a pretty quiet lifestyle.
- If you open his freezer, you’ll find it full of frozen Reese’s cups—his guilty food pleasure.
- He’s currently a senior at West Virginia University studying political science and economics. His favorite thing about the place is mingling with other idealistic young people. “There’s something about connecting with a greater community of people who also want to see West Virginia grow and change.”
- Roark was raised in Morgantown. He appreciates the strong sense of community here and the exposure to other cultures in such a diverse college town. His mother is 100 percent Chinese and his dad is “a regular white guy,” and that background meant that he didn’t always look like his peers. That is, until he met his lifelong best friend, who is half-Chinese, too.
- His name comes from The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. His parents didn’t agree with the book’s politics, Roark says, but loved the last name of the main character.
- Roark admits he’s done plenty of dumb stuff in life. But even dumb stuff teaches lessons. Just a few weeks ago he loaded 80 gallons of milk in the back of his car. He took off without closing the hatch, leaving a milky trail behind him as he drove away. He felt terrible about it but learned you just can’t cry over spilled milk.
Roark spends countless hours a week right now working for the Pantry Plus More program. It’s his passion, he says, and it’s hard for him to envision a day when that won’t be the case. Although there are other issues that he might like to take on down the road, including working with the homeless population and tackling housing issues. We know whatever he does, he’ll leave an everlasting impact.
posted on August 5, 2020
image courtesy of Roark Sizemore