HAZARD — Southern Living released its Southerners of the Year list this month, honoring 50 people the publication considers to be moving the South forward with groundbreaking nonprofits, impactful projects and innovative ideas. Hazard native Jenny Williams made the list for extraordinary work she has conducted right here in our hometown.
In the Southerners of the Year article, Southern Living writes, “As her New Year’s resolution, Jenny Williams decided she wanted to start a community garden in her tiny hometown of Hazard, Kentucky, population 5,346. Around 750 lbs. of produce later, Williams, an English professor at Hazard Community and Technical College, had become a full-fledged local food advocate, donating the fruits of her labor to shelters, food pantries, and learning centers. Now, Williams has not only started community gardens elsewhere in town, including one for students at STARLand Academy, she also spearheads a program with Pathfinders of Perry County, which helps get kids active and gives them exposure to natural settings.”
Jenny Williams credits her hometown for the inspiration and encouragement to do great work.
“We are blessed to live in a region full of amazing people doing incredibly important work who deserve recognition far more than I do,” said Williams, “But I am deeply grateful for this honor and I’m inspired to try my best to live up to it.”
Williams, along with other civic leaders and volunteers, has played a fundamental role in establishing the River Arts Greenway in Hazard. She could step away from her service to the community today and still be worthy of Southern Living’s honor. However, her work continues. Currently, through Pathfinders of Perry County, Williams is working with other organizations to develop walking and biking trails in Perry County that will promote better health and advance local tourism initiatives.
Southern Living is a famous, and well respected, publication nationwide. According to the Southern Living website,
“Established in 1966, Southern Living was created to highlight the beauty and culture of the growing South. Since then, Southern Living has become one of the largest lifestyle brands in the country and is committed to sharing the region we love with our fans through the magazine, website, social sites, videos, cookbooks, special editions, and licensed products.”
Sam Neace can be reached at 606-629-3243 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.