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Promise Zone Profiles

Doug Adams - Letcher County

By Hannah Adams, Letcher County Central High School

Doug Adams is a familiar name within the Appalachian region. He is locally famous for his one-of-a-kind artwork that can be found throughout many small towns in the region. Local people may be surprised to know that Adams is also well-known throughout the country. He has several pieces displayed in various colleges, galleries and states.

Adams was born and raised in the Great Depression. Despite his difficult life, he and his family were happy. His father worked for Kentucky Power Company, was a state representative, and ran a general store on the side. Both of his parents were teachers, which inspired him to become one as well.

Growing up, Adams never considered a career in art because no one talked about its value. According to him, people would say, “Oh, that’s a pretty picture,” or “I like that,” but did not appreciate its true value. He decided to become an art major in college after becoming friends with people in the department. “Well, that’s as good as any,” Adams said. He once thought he’d become a doctor, but realized he’d rather paint than take out a gallbladder.

Adams plans to give back to the region that has given so much to him by continuing to work alongside the youth of Appalachia.

Tonya Holland - Clay County













By Deborah Decker, EKU Manchester

Tonya Holland is a special education teacher at Clay County Middle School. She betters the community by lifting the hearts and spirits of her students. She wants her students know that she cares for them. Holland tells them that they can learn and overcome anything they set their mind to. She makes sure they know that it's okay not to know something, but it's never okay not to try.

Holland heard about the struggles that kids were having and the need for after school care in the community. She knew she wanted to help, but was unsure how. After years of prayer and research, an opportunity came along.  She was offered a grant for preschool services through City of Hope Church. Since then, Holland has been working hard to run the A to Z Early Learning Center, while still working at the middle school. The A to Z Early Learning Center has allowed Holland to be able to touch the lives of many young kids, and provide safe, affordable, high quality child care to the children and families in Clay County.

Tammy Jones - Clay County

By Adrianna Eversole, EKU Manchester

Tammy Jones (pictured on the right) is actively involved in improving the lives of residents in Clay County, Kentucky. Tammy is an EKU alumni, class of 2011. Jones taught at the Clay County Area Technology Center for 10 years, and is now teaching Allied Health at the Center for Innovation in Laurel County.

Tammy, along with students in her HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) Club, have organized several events for deserving organizations in Clay County. In October of 2016, HOSA put together a Zombie 5K that raised $1500 for Clay County Relay for Life. Some of the participants dressed up as zombies. In May of 2017, the club held the Morgan Scott Hooker Color Run in memory of a former member of the community. This event raised $1500 for the Clay County Cancer Coalition, and $1500 for Clay County Relay for Life.

Tammy will do anything for her students. She is super sweet, and loves to help the people of Eastern Kentucky!

Allen Wilder - Clay County

By Annie Wilder, EKU Manchester

Allen Wilder has worked at Red Bird Mission School, now Red Bird Christian School, for more than 30 years. He spent 10 years as a custodian, 10 years as director of support services, and 13 years as manager and director of the school’s food service program. Wilder is responsible for marking off every student’s name when they go through the lunch line. He takes this time to learn every student’s name, ask how their day has been, and see if they’ve been keeping up with UK basketball.  He is a constant in many student’s lives. One student said, “Allen is an outstanding man of God who is a very bright light to everyone he encounters.”



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