Kentucky, particularly Eastern Kentucky, has the best people on earth. Hazard and Perry County contains the epitome of great people.

I have been in Kentucky for about 20 years and in another 20, I may start fitting in. I have been running the Hazard Herald for about three years and have found our staff and the people in Perry County just fantastic to work with. Perry County has welcomed our changes and they embrace their local source for community news, something for which I’m grateful.

Recently, our nation mourned as we passed the 19th milestone of the attack on our soil. The attacks during 9-11 were devastating and it felt like this nation got sucker punched.

Shortly thereafter this nation was united. There were no color, religious, social or economic barriers. We were one America. Since that time we have been veering away from our principles and have been politically polarized.

Being in the news, as our staff and I are on a daily basis, can result in one’s viewpoint becoming jaded. While not all news is positive or good, it’s still news and we have a responsibility to report it as the Hazard Herald is the printed record for the county, which we take very seriously.

Last week, we reported some good news. The Perry County BOE kept its tax rate the same, easing the taxpayers of any additional burdens. KRDHD discussed their services and how the community is taking advantage of the health services available to them. This is great because promoting health helps extend lives and keep people with their families longer.

Perry Judge-Executive Scott Alexander made, what I think was an emotionally wrenching decision to appoint Eunice Howard to the jailer’s position, which was vacated by Dexter Howard, Eunice’s late husband and friend of the entire community. We wish Eunice luck and she clearly has the support needed by Alexander and his team.

What struck me most importantly was the self-imposed challenge made by one of the Vicco-Sassafrass Volunteer Fire Departments’ members. Michael Conley wanted to pay tribute to the fallen first responders from that fateful day of September 11, 2001. His tribute was a challenge to the fire fighters to walk the courthouse stairs 11 times. There are 343 stairs in the courthouse and going up and down 11 times was the equivalent to what the first responders had to climb in the towers. Conley wanted his local brothers and sisters to make the climb in full equipment, adding another 60 pounds.

Our reporter Katie Kelly did a great job bringing emotion to the story and highlighting the passion that the VSVFD has to support their fallen heroes. I grew up close to the towers, so when I saw a volunteer team several hundred miles away that probably did not know one soul who died that day, show that kind of support, it solidified my feelings of the people of this region.

Kudos to you folks at the VSVFD and I hope in the years to come you keep this tradition going. And if I’m willing to walk, I would like to help next year in that challenge. I’m old and I have a hip replacement, but I will give it my best try if allowed.

Thanks to this volunteer fire department and to Alexander for his utmost support for his community.

Thanks for reading the Hazard Herald.

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