Lewis now lives in Charleston and runs her own consulting business, where she writes grant applications for nonprofits. She also advocates for housing as a lobbyist.
"I've known Virginia for about eight years, since I came to work for Habitat," said Lora Pierce, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of West Virginia. "When you think about people who really contribute to affordable housing needs and families in West Virginia, her name comes right at the top of the list."
In West Virginia, one out of five families live in some kind of substandard housing, according to information from Habitat for Humanity.
"Even though West Virginia has one of the highest home-ownership rates in the country, those houses are substandard," Pierce said.
Lewis is the eighth West Virginian to be inducted into the Housing Hall of Fame. Last year, Mary Skeens, executive director of Community Works WV, was inducted.
Lewis said she is humbled by the recognition and is proud to have made such a difference in Mingo County and throughout the state.
"I usually work behind the scenes and shy away from accolades, but this is timely and pretty much at the end of my housing career," she said.
"I think my son stated it best when he said, 'Mom, you have to be proud when you drive through Mingo County, there's not a place you drive that you don't see evidence where you've been -- whether it be a fire hydrant, a house or a community center,'" Lewis recalled her son saying.
For more information about the hall of fame event, visit habitatwv.org.Reach Kate White at kate.wh...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.