Home > About Us > Meet the Board > Linda Tuncsiper
Linda Tuncsiper with her faithful companion and service dog, Jenta
Linda's quiet gentleness will be missed.
Linda Tuncsiper first became involved with Mountain State Centers for Independent Living almost twenty years ago while providing personal assistance services to a new employee in our Beckley office. A relationship developed and soon Linda was coming to the center on her own in order to become involved in the center's programs. She was cautious of letting people get too close to her in the beginning, but she still came.
Linda was a graduate of Beckley College, now Mountain State University, with a degree in education. Her education and her years of experience as a teacher served Mountain State Centers well, especially as we developed life skills trainings.
Linda advised us and helped steer us as we were developing social skills trainings and specifically as we were identifying ways to create trainings on how to spend leisure time in the community. When we had decided to coordinate activities for people outside the office, Linda's quiet voice spoke volumes and reminded us that sometimes people aren't ready to venture out into the community with a group of people. Identifying the people who need the peer support of a staff person is still an important part of social skills trainings today.
Linda achieved much. After Linda acquired a support dog named Jenta, the world of the community opened up to her. The relationship between the Linda and Jenta was remarkable. Jenta, like Linda, was quiet and she knew when Linda needed her special support even before we did.
Linda became a true advocate for the Emotional Support Service Animal Project (ESSA). She traveled to many schools, from elementary through college, throughout West Virginia to promote the program and the value of therapeutic relationships between people with disabilities and service animals. Linda was always prepared to educate restaurant owners on the rights of people with service animals to be served in a restaurant.
Linda was also instrumental in helping establish the WV Mental Health Consumers Association Drop-in Center in Beckley. They started out with a small office in the Beckley center and as they were able to secure more funding, created their own drop-in center down the street.
Linda served on the MTSTCIL Board of Directors for almost 10 years and was a resource for Mountain State concerning services required for people with disabilities in the Beckley area. Linda would often drive to Huntington to attend the board meetings instead of attending by telephone in order to get to know the other board members who were from the Huntington area.
Linda was a mother, a proud MomMom, a friend, and a mentor. She was a compassionate person who was always willing to lend a helping hand. We will miss her.