LONDON – McCreary County’s Braxton King 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.

As pastor for Resurrection Life church in McCreary County for the past 28 years, King wanted to be relevant in the lives of young people. But he knew the church typically attracted only about 1 percent of his target audience. Following the pattern of the Lord’s Gym in California, Braxton set out to change the odds.

In 2002, he created the Lord’s Gym of McCreary County to provide safe, drug-free activities. More than 100 youth show up on any given night to utilize the computer lab, basketball court, music and weight rooms, video games, volunteer tutoring or just hang out.

“He now reaches about 80 percent of the middle and high school students in McCreary County with his message,” said Karen Kelly, director of UNITE.

“Braxton didn’t stop there,” Kelly continued. “He welcomes Drug Court participants through Celebrate Recovery and he also runs a teen mentoring group called New Generations. This, in addition to volunteering with Champions for a Drug-Free McCreary County (chaired by his wife, Monica) and participating in mission trips to India and Pakistan.