We can all learn a lesson from the folks who turned out to support the East Kentucky House of Hope last week.

We know it wasn’t easy for some of them to get up on stage in front of hundreds of people and dance at the Mountain Arts Center, and we’re sure it wasn’t easy for them to give up their time over the past several weeks to train with their instructors. 

Dick Clark of Hall and Clark Insurance wore a Lion King costume and danced on a prosthetic leg. 

“We as a community need to take care of our own homeless and not depend on people from outside the area. We’ve got a responsibility to these people and we need to stand up for them,” he said. 

Fitzpatrick Baptist Church Pastor Tommy Reed wasn’t shy about pointing out his aversion to music, and he wasn’t shy, either in joking about having to spend four weeks to learn how to do the Floss. He praised the people who are working to help the homeless.

“It is an issue. It’s our issue. These are our folks and I’m very thankful for the people that are serving,” he said.

It’s been amazing to watch the community pull together to open this homeless shelter. They spent years planning, raising funds and working to get it open. 

It’s been open for about eight months now, and in that time, officials report the shelter has helped 131 people — 60 of whom have found other types of suitable housing.

Because of this shelter, 131 lives have changed. 

That is an amazing accomplishment that came because people were dedicated and passionate enough to try. And it’s also possible because the community support for this shelter is so great. 

Community members, churches and organizations cook for the folks staying at the shelter, which is not equipped with a kitchen. These individuals and groups take turns to ensure that our homeless will not go hungry. 

With all of the challenges that Eastern Kentucky faces, we cannot thank those folks enough for the work they have done and are doing. We can’t thank them enough for not giving up when it seemed it would not work. We can’t thank them enough for doing what they do to change lives.

What they are giving these folks is a hand up, a chance for a brighter future. And when the weakest among us get that kind of support, all of our communities thrive. 

We encourage our readers to continue to support the homeless shelter and thank the people who make it happen, which include board members Gail Spradlin, Lynn Case, Robin Slone, Lowell Parker, Roy Harlow, Leslie Nelson, Robert Carpenter, Renee Thornsberry, Sherry Sellards Cline, John Rosenberg, John DeRossett, Gerald DeRossett, Jamie Conley, Clayton Case, Dr. Mina Gopal Majmundar and Micky McGuire.

We can all learn a lesson from the dedication, passion, work ethic and creativity it took to get the shelter going and, most of all, from the community support that keeps the doors open. Imagine what Eastern Kentucky would be like if more folks found a mission worth fighting for and started walking steadfast — like these folks did — toward that goal.

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