As we close the books on yet another year in Floyd County, we take the time to reflect in the stories that most impacted us and the people who made those stories possible.
The list of the 2019 stories of the year share news that, for the most part, negatively impacted this county, its residents and our future. It also gives us hope because this list shows us that there were also a few glimmers of hope in 2019. We saw that hope even in those negative stories we had to report.
Take for instance, the storm that killed a Pikeville resident in May. That was a horrible incident that changed lives, without a doubt, but buried deep in that story is also the hope of knowing that our first responders were there within seconds, doing what they were trained to do to help.
In another example, the story we highlighted about the testing improprieties at Betsy Layne Elementary in 2019 did not show the myriad of things the school district is now undertaking to ensure the same problem does not return to our classrooms. That story did not show the programs in place now to ensure our kids are getting the education they deserve.
Considering those things and the list of positive news stories we had the opportunity to share this year, we understand that Floyd County has much to be thankful for.
At the end of 2019, there are still a lot of unanswered questions in Floyd County, like the murders of two people, the killing of 20 horses, whether the fiscal court will straighten out its bidding dilemma, whether the Martin City Council will open up about its finances or whether the Allen City Commission will finally, after more than a decade, complete an audit.
But, at the end of 2019, there are still a lot of things we can undoubtedly be rest assured about.
The story of 22-month Kenneth Howard being found “by the grace of God” is a remarkable story that exemplifies just how important teamwork is for this community. The same is true of the story we were privileged to report about the opening of the East Kentucky House of Hope. That shelter, built on the back of volunteers, has already changed more than 100 lives, and there will be more.
There is one theme that runs through these stories and countless others that matter, and that’s the importance of community, of teamwork and resilience, the ability to see past adversity and find our way out of it — all of those qualities that Eastern Kentucky has in droves.
It’s hard to have hope in the face of adversity, and it’s sometimes easier to see the negative things that impact our lives. We ask our readers to take another look at the stories of 2019 and to ask themselves how they can help.
Eastern Kentucky cannot survive if its residents don’t work together for the benefit of all. Our small businesses need our help, especially, as do the people who live here and are struggling financially. Everybody has something to give. Everybody has something they can do to make their community a better place.
In 2020, we hope you find at least one community priority that you can be passionate about. We hope you find yourself so passionate about it, in fact, that you wipe away all excuses and you decide this is the year that you will do something. Be it a small thing or something huge, whatever it is will make a difference, and that’s what matters.
Happy New Year, everyone. May it be our best one yet.