Community coalitions are the backbone of Operation UNITE. To show appreciation for the hard work of volunteers from across southern and eastern Kentucky for promoting prevention and treatment initiatives, UNITE held two regional “Bringing Community Partners Together” symposiums.

The luncheon events, which drew 265 people from across UNITE’s 33-county service region, were held at The Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg on August 1 and the Eastern Kentucky University-Manchester Campus on August 3. Each location featured a welcome from U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-5th), a community partners panel discussion, keynote address, more than 18 exhibitors, and an awards ceremony.

 

“We have been partnering and evolving for the past 20 years to address this insidious (opioid) epidemic as it evolves and tries to eluse us,” Nancy Hale, UNITE’s President & CEO, told the hundreds of attendees at each location. “You might be wondering if we have grown weary from the battle. Maybe you have become overwhelmed, because as soon as progress is made a new enemy seems to emerge.”

“You feel like you are playing Whack-a-Mole, but this is not a game. It is deadly serious,” Hale continued. “Well, I am standing here to tell you that I have hope. And even more than that, I want to remind you that we are a community of hope.”

There are three reasons for that hope, she explained: First, recovery is powerful. Second, just one person can make a difference. And, third, As a community, we can do anything; as a community, we can bind up each other’s wounds and re-emerge transformed.

In Prestonsburg, the keynote speaker was Ronnie A. Nunley, Chief Business Development Oofficer for Pathways, Inc. Panelists were Jay Davidson, Founder and Executive Chairman of The Healing Place; the Hon. Kevin Mullins, 47th District Court Judge; Tim Robinson, Founder and CEO of Addiction Recovery Care; and Dr. Jason Roop, Founder of the Center for Trait-Based Transformation at Campbellsville University. The panel was moderated by UNITE Deputy Director Tom Vicini.

In Manchester, the keynote speaker was Monty Burks, Deputy Director of the Tennessee Governor’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Panelists were Matt Brown, Chief Administration Officer for Addiction Recovery Care; Jay Davidson, Founder and Executive Chairman of The Healing Place; Dan Mosley, Harlan County Judge-Executive; and Dr. Jason Roop, Founder of the Center for Trait-Based Transformation at Campbellsville University. The panel was moderated by Neil Middleton, Vice-President and General Manager of WYMT-TV.

Each UNITE Community Coalition was presented an original piece of artwork painted by students in the region and displayed at the annual Rx and Illicit Drug Summit, which UNITE created and serves as educational advisor.

The symposiums were sponsored by Addiction Recovery Care (Platinum), Advent Health-Manchester (Silver), CHI Saint Joseph Health (Silver), and WellCare (Bronze).

Award Recipients

“Making It Safe” Law Enforcement Award

  • Magoffin County Sheriff Bill Meade
  • Laurel County Sheriff John Root

“Butterfly” Treatment Award

  • Addiction Recovery Care – Tim Robinson
  • Hope City/Redemption Road Recovery Center – Scott Phipps

“Making It Happen” Regional Leadership Awards

  • Georgia Burton, Defensive Action Against Drugs (DAAD) Wayne County UNITE Coalition
  • Karen Griffith, Breathitt County UNITE Coalition
  • John Hale, Rockcastle County UNITE Coalition
  • Bill Harris, Boyd County/Champions Coalition
  • Glenda Shrum, Knott Drug Abuse Council UNITE Coalition
  • John “Boo” Smith, Clay Countians UNITED Coalition

“Teamwork” Coalition Awards

  • Harlan County UNITE Coalition
  • Laurel County UNITE Coalition
  • Magoffin County Teen UNITE Coalition
  • Champions UNITE McCreary County Coalition
  • Menifee County Champions/UNITE Task Force Coalition
  • UNITE Pike Coalition