Valley Health Systems Awards Cokey Muth Scholarships for Aspiring Nurses

Huntington, West Virginia [December 11, 2023] – Valley Health Systems is proud to award the Cokey Muth Nursing scholarship to two deserving individuals pursuing a career as professional registered nurses. Mattaline Holland & Katelyn Barber are the first recipients of this newly established Scholarship to honor the life and legacy of the late Valley Health Systems Inc. Board member and registered nurse Cokey Muth.

“Mattaline Holland and Katelyn Barber are truly deserving of the Cokey Muth Nursing Scholarship. Their hard work, dedication, and commitment to nursing exemplify the values that Cokey held dear. We are proud to support their education and look forward to seeing them make a difference in the lives of their patients and communities.” – Steve Shattls, President and CEO of Valley Health Systems Inc.

Holland is from Fort Gay, West Virginia, and is attending the LPN to RN Nursing Program at Collins Career Technical Center. She is a full-time student and has worked at Valley Health Fort Gay since June 2023. Holland says she fell in love with providing care while participating in a high school vocational program and graduated with her CNA license. She earned her practical nursing degree and started as an LPN in the ER department amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Holland writes, “I have found my niche in Rural Family Medicine where I provide care to generations of families. I get to educate the elders who watched me grow up and care for the children of the mothers and fathers I graduated with. There is an amount of reward I can’t explain getting to care for the residents in your community.” Hollands plans to become a Family Medicine Nurse Practitioner and follow her passion for caring for patients in rural Appalachia. 

Barber resides in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, and is attending West Virginia Junior College in Charleston, West Virginia, pursuing a Registered Nurse degree.  

She is working full time while going to school full time. Her passion for caring for others was solidified as a high school student when she saved the life of an elderly grocery store customer by giving five rounds of CPR after the customer had collapsed. Barber has worked as a nursing assistant with individuals with special needs and is currently an LPN working on a medical-surgical/telemetry unit. She aims to earn her bachelor’s degree in nursing, work in a critical care unit, and one day transition to a managerial role.  

“I am hoping to not only advocate for my patients but for other nurses as well. I want to say I was part of the change to provide a safe nurse-to-patient ratio, fair wages for nurses, and safer facilities for nurses and patients,” Barber wrote in her application. 

Cokey passed away suddenly in June of 2023. She was a compassionate and dedicated surgical nurse at Cabell Huntington. As a Valley Health Systems board member, she demonstrated these traits as she championed a heart for the mission. She was particularly mindful of the need for quality health care and health equity for all patients, and her legacy lives on through this award. Cokey’s husband and several family members attended the award presentation. Her husband, Michael Muth, asked the recipients to carry on Cokey’s passion for people, saying, “Cokey loved being a nurse and caring for people with needs. She had some wonderful, wonderful qualities: kindness, caring, and compassion. We hope that you continue to have those qualities in your nursing.”   The Cokey Muth Nursing Scholarship is $2,000 and is a one-time award. The Scholarship will be offered again in the spring of 2024. For more information about future Cokey Muth Scholarships and other scholarship opportunities, head to

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