Body, who has served as deputy commissioner since December 2002, assumed the head position July 1. As commissioner of the Division of Culture and History, he is in charge of a statewide agency which includes five museums, the state historic preservation office, the state commission on the arts and the West Virginia state archives. He oversees approximately 100 employees.
"This is my adopted home state, and it's a great thrill and honor. It is humbling that they trust you. They trust you with resources, they trust you with staff, they trust you with the mission. You are very appreciative and your concerns then become not letting anyone down," said Body of his recent appointment.
Body's work as deputy commissioner earned him the respect of those in the state's division of education and arts and made him the obvious choice to head the division.
Kay Goodwin, secretary of education and arts, said of Body in a recent press release, "Troy's combination of talent and experience make him uniquely qualified for his new position. As deputy commissioner, he has demonstrated unsurpassed commitment to serving the people of West Virginia, and the depth of his dedication is equaled only by the breadth of his skill and knowledge. He is passionate about the division's work of preserving and promoting West Virginia's rich cultural heritage, and I take great pleasure in announcing his appointment."
Body initially moved to West Virginia in 1993 to attend graduate school. After completing graduate school, he came back to Kentucky, then moved overseas to teach at a university. In 1999, he moved back to West Virginia and began working for the Department of Education and the Arts in West Virginia.
As a Harlan native, Body finds the culture he deals with in West Virginia somewhat similar to the culture in his native home. For instance, the bordering states both contain coal fields.
However, there are some differences between the states. Kentucky has more Southern traditions as opposed to West Virginia's Mid-Atlantic traditions.
Body believes West Virginia's culture and history is very important and admirable.
"This state was broken off from Virginia by executive order of Abraham Lincoln to stop the spread of slavery, and that's extraordinarily admirable. The role they played in this country not only with their mineral resources during the Industrial Revolution, but their nature as a state in general is of a very proud people, an open people and a friendly people," said Body.
Body, although a West Virginia resident, still remains very much connected with his Harlan roots. He still has family here and makes frequent visits to the area.
"It's the best of both worlds. It's like having two homes. Kentucky was my birth state and this is my new home. I'm very proud and pleased, and I hope I'm making both states proud," Body said.