LONDON – Rockcastle County’s John Hale has been named a recipient of Operation UNITE’s “Rising Above” Award for inspiring leadership, purpose and passion in the region.

The award was presented by Gil Kerlikowske, White House Director for Drug Policy, and Fifth District Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers during a celebration dinner at the London Community Center Wednesday, February 23.

Hale has served as principal at the elementary, middle and high school levels for 26 of his 39 years in education. Because of a prescription drug issue within his immediate family, Hale attended the first UNITE meeting in Rockcastle County and decided he could make a difference.

“Capitalizing on his role in the school system and belief that building a culture of resistance begins with youth, John reached out to parents and students in order to create a unique community coalition built around the school system,” said Karen Kelly, director of UNITE.

“You have witnessed just a snapshot of what his and Nancy’s leadership has done to save the lives of students in Rockcastle County,” Kelly told those attending the celebration. “When they could have given in and focused on what their family has been through, instead, they decided to dig in their heels and make certain every student from elementary to high school hears the message loud and clear – we care too much about not to share the truth. That is why we honor them tonight.”