Overcoming job loss
Coal is one of Kentucky’s greatest natural resources, and losing over 1,000 jobs in Eastern Kentucky is devastating. We must determine how we can bring renewable energy sources to the commonwealth of Kentucky and keep the revenues generated from these resources in our region.
We must become the makers of our own destiny and stop relying on government and industry to determine our future. There has never been a time where our community needed us so desperately. This immediate economic loss presents the opportunity to join energy companies, city and state government and educational leadership together to help. We have the ability to make a difference in this region, but it also requires a personal commitment to make this happen.
Initiatives to institute industrialized hemp within the commonwealth exist. We have the chance to bring Eastern and Western Kentucky together in an alliance with such a managed market to create jobs and benefit the overall economy in our state.
There is a need for education in Eastern Kentucky, to bring hope to this region that fights so many battles without considering the loss of jobs. There is a need for financial aid and relief from utility companies for this region would be epic. There is a need to take control of our future. What will it take to overcome stigmas associated with certain crop production and see the big picture?
Life is full of coincidences
When my husband Jim and I were driving recently from Arizona to our home in Vancouver, Washington, we had rare car trouble. Between Needles and Barstow, California, on a long steep climb in 105 degree heat our engine over-heated. We stopped the car and opened our hood for a cool down.
Many cars and large trucks whizzed by climbing to the summit. Finally, a large truck stopped about a block ahead and the driver and a young man walked back to offer help. My husband went up to meet them and on the way back asked where their home base was. When the answer came back, “Kentucky.” My husband said, “My wife is from Kentucky!” The driver asked what part, and Jim said she was born in Hazard. The surprised driver responded that he was very familiar with that area and in fact went to Hazard High. As the driver was trouble shooting our problem, I told him my parents first met at Hazard High where she, Della Martin, was captain of the girls basketball team and he, Joe Francis, was a referee. I also told him Dad was descended from the original Elijah Combs. He said Governor Combs was one of the best ever.
They were so nice, bringing cool water and sodas to us to drink, as well as coolant and water for the engine. Knowing that time is money to truckers especially, we encouraged them to get back on the road with great gratitude for their help and for the friendly chance visit. We were all sure that when the engine cooled down we would be on our way. The young man told us the driver’s name was Shelby Asher, and he was from Ohio.
We arrived home a couple days later reflecting on our good fortune to meet such a kind, friendly and generous fellow Kentuckian whose last words to Jim were, “Now you take good care of Miss Hazard!” We have thoroughly enjoyed telling our family and friends about this typical example of good helpful people of Kentucky!
Virginia (Combs Francis) Brooks