MERCER COUNTY (WVVA) -- After a shakeup in leadership that led to the resignation and retirement of Mercer County's top health officials, the Board of Health has appointed its new public health officials.
At just 28 years old, Dr. Steven Stefancic has received the title.
"When I received the phone calls asking for assistance, that was very humbling," Stefancic said.
A Mercer County native, Stefancic graduated from Princeton Senior High School in 2010. He went on to study medicine at West Virginia University.
"I always had my eye on WVU for my education," he explained. His brother and sister, who suffer from cerebral palsy, received treatment from doctors at the school. "So growing up, that's where a lot of my knowledge came from. I gained an interest in it from that perspective."
Stefancic moved on to the University of Virginia, where he completed his residency. He currently serves as an ER physician at Princeton Community Hospital.
"When it came time to choose a specialty program, emergency medicine is what had my heart," he said. "I love to be on the front lines - I love to help people in their biggest time of need."
But it's the people of southern West Virginia that brought him back home.
"I haven't experienced anywhere else where people have been hospitable in the way West Virginians are; like come on over for dinner kind of hospitable," he explained. "I just love our community, you know, this is home."
And as the county's public health officer, he looks forward to caring for the people that made it all possible.
"It's just such a blessing in my mind, because I can finally say thank you in a way that is rare to do, and actually give your time back," he said. "I really just hope and pray that the community can come together and we can get through this - I know we can."
Dr. Stefancic's position still pends approval from state medical officer Dr. Ayne Amjad.
The Mercer County Commission is expected to fill the two other vacant seats on the Board of Health by Friday.