Pennyrile Area Development District Holds 55th Annual Meeting

A Journey Through the Pennyrile was the theme of the night at the Pennyrile Area Development District’s (PeADD) 55th Annual Dinner Meeting held June 10, 2024, at The Bruce Convention Center in Hopkinsville, KY.  The evening was sponsored by Planters Banks Hopkinsville and under the chairmanship of Ms. Crissy Carter, PeADD Board Chair and Citizen Member representing Livingston County.  A crowd of over 450 state and local officials, legislators, business and civic leaders, and others from throughout the Pennyrile explored the extraordinary activities and ongoing advancements happening in the region.  

Judge Executive William “Kota” Young honored Gale Cherry and her late husband, former State Representative Mike Cherry, with the John C. Mahre Regionalism Award, recognizing their dedication to regionalism and community development throughout the Pennyrile region. Both had previously served on the PeADD Board and demonstrated a strong commitment to public service in Princeton, Caldwell County, and beyond. During the presentation, Judge Executive Young remarked on the exceptional contributions of Mr. and Mrs. Cherry, emphasizing their profound impact on the community. Mrs. Cherry graciously accepted the award on behalf of herself and her late husband.

The PeADD Board Nominating Committee brought three new appointments and four reappointments before the PeADD Board for consideration and approval. The new appointments included Tara Rascoe from Christian County, Mike Smith from Todd County, and Dan Wood from Crittenden County.  The re-appointed board members included Amanda Davenport representing Caldwell County, Lori Harper representing Hopkinsville, Mayor Martha Jo Ray representing Todd County, and Mayor Jim Seibert representing Caldwell County. The appointments were unanimously decided.

PeADD Board Service Awards were given to Mayor Tony Armour of Central City, Mayor Kevin Cotton of Madisonville, Mayor Gary Dameron of Salem, Mayor Bill Hesser of Smithland, Judge Jack Whitfield of Hopkins County, and Judge William “Kota” Young of Caldwell County for five years of service on the Board of Directors.  Lori Harper, Citizen Member for Christian County, received a 15-year service award and Robert “Bart” Frazer, citizen member for Crittenden County, received a 25-year service award.  Staff Service Awards were presented to Lydia Edwards, Social Services Case Manager, Leslie Goode, Administrative Assistant, Jennifer Medeiros, Social Services Case Manager, and Jared Nelson, Projects Coordinator for their five years of service.  Ali Jones, Aging & Disability Resource Coordinator, received a 10-year service award and Payton Kidd received one for 15-years of service. Finally, three staff members received awards for completing 20 years of service with PeADD including Jill Collins, Director of the Pennyrile Area Agency on Aging & Independent Living, Tom Sholar, Business Liaison, and Jason Vincent, Executive Director.

Outgoing PeADD Board Members were presented with a plaque including Scott Marshall of Todd County, Nikki Durham of Christian County, and Roger Simpson of Crittenden County.
Caldwell County Judge-Executive and PeADD Board Secretary, William “Kota” Young, gave a heartfelt presentation while introducing the recipient of the John C. Mahre Regionalism Award, which was presented to Ms. Gale Cherry, former Mayor of the City of Princeton and her late husband and former State Representative Mike Cherry.

Jason Vincent, PeADD Executive Director, welcomed everyone again to the 55th Annual Meeting.  He thanked everyone from congressional representatives to committee member and partners for their support throughout the year, stating, “your support and commitment to the Pennyrile ADD are what enables us to achieve our goals and continue making progress in our region.”  He went on to thank the PeADD staff for their passion and dedication which fuel the success of the organization.

Following a video showcasing a few of the accomplishments that occurred in the past year, Mr. Vincent mentioned that one of the milestones, the 50th year of ensuring that our older adults receive the care, support and resources the need to live their lives with dignity and independence, “is not just a testament to the longevity of our programs but to the unwavering commitment and compassion of everyone involved in our mission.”  He then recognized and showed appreciation to Commissioner Victoria Elridge, of the Department for Aging and Independent Living (DAIL), for being in attendance for this momentous occasion.

The guest speaker, Jason Koger, an Owensboro, KY native, took the audience on a journey articulating his tragic accident that occurred on March 1, 2008, that has impacted his and his loved ones’ lives in an unimaginable way.  He preceded his narration stating, “my story is not any bigger than yours,” explaining that everyone has triumphed over something.  He stated that he tells his story in hopes it will inspire others to persevere against the odds and overcome obstacles.

While taking a four-wheeler ride on the family farm, as he had done countless times before, Mr. Koger encountered a downed power line, resulting in 7,200 volts of electricity traveling throughout his entire body.  The jolt left third-degree burns and lacerated tendons along his arms and hands, which resulted in having both arms amputated.  Mr. Koger described the occurrence while showcasing clothing worn during the accident and items he had devised from unordinary objects to assist in his new way of life.  Since then, Mr. Koger has become the world’s first bilateral arm amputee to be fitted with multi-articulating bionic hands and has found ways to turn his tragedy into an uplifting and encouraging mission to help other amputees in their journey.  Mr. Koger has attended fundraising benefits, hosting several of his own, appeared on several national news outlets, followed by several TV appearances.  Most recently, Mr. Koger released his first book, Handed A Greater Purpose. Without facing the 2008 accident with faith and family in his corner, while maintaining a focus on prosperity and his unearthed purpose, none of these events would have transpired.

Ms. Crissy Carter brought the evening’s journey to an end showing appreciation to Mr. Koger for his inspirational story and thanking everyone for their attendance.