WESTON, W.Va. (WBOY) — Imagine spending some of your free time in one of the most history-filled places in West Virginia. That’s the reality for Michelle Graham, as she works as the Haunted House Coordinator and Actor Manager for the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum.

She spends October running the asylum’s haunted house.

“Typically, we work with about 75-100 youth a season, and we train them in the ways of acting, scare acting, and give them something fun and productive in a nice little creative outlet for them in the month of October,” Graham said.

Graham has been around theatre for years, first as an actress, then taking a more behind-the-scenes approach. She calls the haunted house “her fall show”.

The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (WBOY Image)

Even when she’s not manning the haunted house, she and her nine kids volunteer for other events.

“Any time there’s an event, if they need any help with organization or just volunteer work, I bring a lot of my kids over here,” Graham said. “I have several children who like to volunteer here as well.”

It doesn’t just bring Graham’s family together though—she says it brings the whole community together.

Michelle Graham (WBOY Image)

“The best part of the asylum is just how it brings a community together. Everybody seems to have a connection to this place,” Graham said. “When I used to work as a historic tour guide, people would say they had a family member that worked here, or they had a family member that was a patient here, or when they were younger, their parents would threaten to send them here.”

Outside the asylum, she helps local high schools and beyond with productions.

“I found a passion through high school theatre for directing, and I’ve been through South Harrison and Robert C. Byrd [High School]. I’ve worked with Robinson Grand Community Theatre,” Graham said.

Between her work at the asylum, local schools and even her foster care, Graham has been awarded our Celebrating Volunteer for the month of May, with $500 going towards the RCB Show Choir thanks to the Miley Legal Group.

Michelle Graham (left), Celebrating Volunteer for May 2023, and Tim Miley from Miley Legal Group (WBOY Image)

“It’s just such an honor that I can be recognized in that all of my hard work is actually going to filter back in and be a positive influence on another organization that I work with,” Graham said. “So it’s really appreciated.”

If you know of a volunteer who could be honored with our Celebrating Volunteers series, email HBenda@wboy.com or fill out our form here.