South Shore Stepping Up to Take Care of One of Their Own

South Shore Stepping Up to Take Care of One of Their Own

Lisa Conn

Ashland Beaconlisa

It’s always been said that “a real friend will show you who they are” when you’re going through difficult times. Jessica Patrick and Crystal Wells have been best friends for 16 years. When tragedy struck in the way of a car accident that left Patrick partially paralyzed, Crystal proved that a long friendship has a long bond. She almost immediately put plans into action to help Jessica with all of the new expenses that life had thrown at her. The community of South Shore has also stepped up to help. A big fundraiser will take place at South Shore Park on Saturday, May 11. Think “Quilt Fest but on a smaller scale,” said Wells.

 

        On April 1, 2024, Jessica was riding in the passenger seat of her Tahoe with her husband, Tom Patrick who was driving and their nine-year-old daughter, Remi, who was riding in the back. As they were turning onto Route 60 near Cannonsburg Walmart, their vehicle was hit on the passenger side by another vehicle. The Tahoe flew up and flipped over a bucket truck before landing. Tom landed in the backseat with Remi. He had a laceration between his eyebrows. Remi had hit her head and got a pump knot. Her grandmother took her to the emergency room to be checked out and to have a concussion test but, luckily, she was fine.

        Jessica wasn’t so lucky. She ended up in the console with a broken neck and a skull fracture. She was life-flighted to Cabell Huntington Hospital. She was told that she would be paralyzed from the neck down for the rest of her life, but she wasn’t going to let that be her truth.

        After being discharged from Cabell, Jessica was moved to a rehab facility in Lexington. One month after the accident, she is already able to move her arms, able to eat some foods by herself, and she has a “tingly numbness” from her chest to her waist according to Wells.

One of the things that Jessica loved to do was sing. Even after the accident, she can still sing. Wells remarked that she has a video clip of the first time that Jessica was able to move her hand enough to operate a motorized wheelchair, she burst out with “they see me rollin.”

Insurance will only pay for three weeks in a rehab facility, so Jessica will be discharged home May 11 with a motorized wheelchair on loan from the rehab facility. She will have to go through her insurance to get her own. The Patricks live in a split-level home, so there will be a lot of renovations needed to accommodate her wheelchair.

        Wells said that the Patricks refused to allow a GoFundMe account to be opened, but they did agree to an online benefit page. The Jessica Patrick Benefit page can be found on Facebook. Jessica has “an army” behind her, said Wells. The whole community of South Shore has been so good about trying to help the family as their monthly bills, medical bills, and travel expenses skyrocket. Even though the Patricks hired an attorney to make sure that they get the max amount from the insurance company, even that amount is “just going to be a drop in the bucket” according to Wells.

        The benefit being held at South Shore Park on May 11th from noon to 6 p.m. is going to be carnival style with games for the kids, a silent auction, door prizes, and a 50/50 raffle. There will be vendors and food trucks set up. The vendors will be donating to the items for the silent auction and the food trucks will be giving a percentage of their profits to the Patricks. That is, except for the food being sold by the Greenup County Lion’s Club. They are donating 100% of their profits to the family.

        Wells said that this is a free event with free entertainment being provided by the Courtney-Jo Band. Tickets for the carnival games will be 10 for $5. Door prize tickets and the tickets for the 50/50 raffle drawing will be $1 each or 6 tickets for $5. Once all of the donations are completed, Wells is going to post the presentation to the Patrick family of all of the cashier’s checks that are given to them.

        Jessica does not know about the benefit yet. Her husband, Tom, is hoping to get her home in time after being discharged to bring her to the benefit so she can see it for herself. Tom needs to figure out a way to transport Jessica and her motorized wheelchair.  

        Wells referred to Jessica as “a good, Christian lady” who is going to use her faith and motivation to get better. She also wants to remind everyone that it “just takes one little accident to change a life.”

        Donations to the raffles and silent auctions, inquiries about setting up at the vendor fair, volunteering at the event, or any other questions related to raising money for the Patricks can be directed to Crystal Wells at 606.541.1456.

From Body Building to Building Others Up: Eden Roach’s Inspiring Journey of Fitness

From Body Building to Building Others Up

Eden Roach’s Inspiring Journey of Fitness

By: Sasha Bush

The Ashland Beacon

When it comes to setting out on the path to a healthier and more fit version of yourself, many people fail to realize that fitness is not always about the destination… it’s about the journey! One local fitness phenom, Eden Roach who is a personal trainer, nutritionist, and co-founder of The Gym and The Basement, has made it her mission to help guide other women through their own personal fitness journeys.

 

Roach's own journey into the world of fitness was not merely a career choice but a calling.  She was raised in a family who prioritized physical activity and wellbeing.  Roach developed a deep-seated passion for fitness and its transformative effects at a very early age. Roach credits her love of fitness to her father stating, “My father was very active especially when it came to doing things outdoors from yardwork and gardening to taking care of farm animals and living off the land. He was always doing something to stay active.”

 Roach recalled, “My father was always into body building. Growing up, he would always have all these body building magazines around, so I was exposed to that world at a very young age. I remember we had this little weight room area outside, and I would always use the leg extension machine. My dad would start adding all these weights and would just burst out laughing because I guess it was just obscene how much weight I could lift with my legs at such a young age. So, what started out as kind of a family joke actually ended becoming a hobby. That hobby led me to where I am today.”

All through school, Roach was active in sports. It wasn’t until she had graduated high school that Roach decided to take her love of fitness to another level.  “After high school, I started college and was studying for a degree in nutrition. During that time, I ended up getting a job at the local GNC (General Nutrition Center). This really helped me get more accustomed to a more holistic lifestyle,” noted Roach.

Roach was always drawn to the images she would see in her father’s fitness magazines growing up and aspired to look like the women in those pictures.  Roach shared, “I decided I was going to attempt my first bikini show after I had my children, which probably sounds crazy because most people wouldn’t think of exposing their body like that after having children. But I did, and I did quite well for my first competition. My first show was at the North Coast Championships that took place in Akron, Ohio. I ended up taking the overall win for that show.”

Despite growing up in a fitness minded home, being fit her entire life, and having recently taking the overall win in her first bikini competition, Roach shared that she still didn’t quite have her confidence up where she liked. Shortly after her first competition, Roach decided to enter the Julie Palmer NPC Ultimate Showdown, which is a bigger named bodybuilding competition that includes a bikini division.  Roach ended up taking the class win as well as the overall. This qualified Roach for nationals held in Pittsburg, PA where she placed 16th in the nation.

Body building was certainly a disciplined and demanding lifestyle for Roach. She enjoyed it; however, Roach came to the realization that perhaps that lifestyle wasn’t the path she wanted to take in life and decided to change directions. Shortly after competing in her last competition, Roach found herself working as a dietary supervisor at Kings Daughters Medical Center as well as a dietary supervisor for the nursing home. Roach shared that she quickly came to the realization that she wanted to do more to help people. Roach explained, “I wanted to feel like I was making a difference in the lives of others. What body building did for me was provide me with the credibility to be able to show prospective clients that I know what I am talking about, and I know what I am doing.”

Over the course of the next few years, Roach did just that…touching the lives of others and paving the way to a healthier tomorrow. In 2018, Alicia Eldridge became Roach’s client. After about a year had passed, both Roach and Eldridge found themselves discussing the possibility of opening gym. In 2019, that discussion turned into a reality and together, Roach and Eldridge opened The Gym, which is located at 7707 US Route 60.

Yes, you read that correctly. They opened a gym called “The Gym.” Roach stated, “You know you always hear people say, ‘I’m going to the gym,’ so I thought why not call it The Gym since that’s what it is.” The name was catchy, and the support for it was astronomical. The partnership between Roach and Eldridge and the formation of the Gym has allowed Roach to touch countless lives from all around the Tri-state. The Gym is a community-centered fitness program designed to empower women of all ages, shapes, and sizes to embrace their strength and potential. Through a combination of personalized training sessions, group classes, and nutritional guidance, Roach has worked tirelessly to help her clients achieve their fitness goals and unlock their full potential. Roach has strived to create a space where every person feels valued and accepted regardless of her starting point or perceived limitations.

One of the ways Roach has accomplished this is through the annual Miss Barbelle Competition. which is a ten weeklong competition. Each week, clients are given one fitness challenge to complete. At the end of the ten weeklong competition, results are tallied up and a winner is chosen.  The winner is then announced at the Miss Barbelle Banquet. The banquet provides Roach, her clients, trainers, and business partners the opportunity to get all dolled up and come together for a night of fun, laughter and celebration as the new Miss Barbelle is crowned. This event is highly anticipated by all. Fitness is not one-size-fits-all… It's about finding what works for you and celebrating the progress, no matter how small.

The popularity of Roach and her uncanny ability to lead others down a successful path of fitness has grown by leaps and bounds over the years. Because of this growth, Roach has been able to expand to a second location that she opened with business partner Jodelle Yount called “The Basement.” The Basement is located at 1510 Winchester Ave. Roach explained that what she does is not simply a job. “I am fortunate to be one of the few people in the world that get to do something they love everyday. For me, this isn’t a job. It’s just something I truly love.”

Roach has no plans of slowing down now. In fact, Roach hopes to keep the momentum rolling as she sets her sights on the possibility of opening a third location sometime in the future. She shared, “I feel like we have a really good thing going here. This is just something that is too good to keep hidden from other women.” With her vision, dedication, and passion, Roach has created a real sisterhood in the world of fitness.

Strength In Numbers: The Birth of a New Kidney Dialysis Support Group

Strength In Numbers

The Birth of a New Kidney Dialysis Support Group

By: Charles Romans

The Ashland Beacon

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Kidney dialysis is a life-saving treatment for many individuals with kidney failure and is often accompanied by debilitating fatigue. Ronnie Faulkner shared, “Some days, I feel really drained. Other days, I can still get out and do stuff.” This has become Faulkner’s new reality as he undergoes dialysis treatments three days a week. The treatment, which is typically a three to four-hour process, leaves him feeling drained and the better days for him are usually the days after or before treatments.

 

According to the National Kidney Foundation, dialysis is a type of treatment that helps your body remove extra fluid and waste products from your blood when the kidneys are not able. Dialysis was first used successfully in the 1940s and became a standard treatment for kidney failure starting in the 1970s. The only other option would be a kidney transplant if a suitable donor organ is available and the patient qualifies.

Some days after Faulkner’s treatments, he comes home and just goes back to bed to get whatever rest he can. This is more than understandable considering that on the days of his treatment he gets up at 4:30 a.m. to begin his 6:00 a.m. treatment that lasts until 10:00 a.m. or after. Faulkner explained, “The doctors tell you they are going to put you on dialysis and then they ship you out of the room, put a port in you, and send you down to the basement of the hospital to get you hooked up to the dialysis machine and walk away from you for three to four hours.”

Faulkner noted that he was not complaining about the doctors and medical staff when he said this, but rather just emphasizing the isolation that dialysis patients feel. His treatments are administered at King’s Daughter’s Hospital in Ashland, and he has nothing but praise for the doctors and other medical support personnel there. Faulkner said that most patients really aren’t aware of the procedures and don’t know what to expect. This is why he and two of his friends have set out on a mission to start a local dialysis support group.

“There’s nothing like that in Ashland,” Faulkner stated. Getting the right kind of support is crucial because the whole process itself is more than a little scary. Faulkner had watched his own mother and brother go through the process of kidney dialysis. Despite having a little bit of knowledge going into his first treatment, Faulkner shared that he still didn’t fully understand the process or the toll that it has on the body. Faulkner remarked, “When they told me I would have to go on dialysis, it scared me to death!”

Faulkner and his friends decided that they wanted to offer any help and support they can to current and future dialysis patients. “We want to let them know what to expect. Perhaps by sharing our experiences with them, it would help them understand the process more. No one should have to go through something like this alone,” stated Faulkner.

Faulkner found out about his condition on Thanksgiving Day of 2022. He had been on the waiting list to receive a kidney but then a separate diagnosis derailed that hope. “I’m going to be on dialysis for a while. I was on the waiting list, but then I was diagnosed with lung cancer. I think you have to be in remission for at least a year before they will even think about putting you back on the list,” explained Faulkner.

The new diagnosis of lung cancer hasn’t changed Faulkner’s goal of creating a support group for others going through the same thing but rather has strengthened it. Knowing he is on treatments for the long haul makes him want to establish the support group even more. If you would like more information on this new group, you may reach Faulkner by telephone at: 606.922.0262.

Artistic Solidarity: Art4Aid Tattoo Benefit to Raise Funds for Victims of Recent Tornadoes

Artistic Solidarity

Art4Aid Tattoo Benefit to Raise Funds for Victims of Recent Tornadoes

By: Charles Romans

The Ashland Beacon

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In the aftermath of the recent and devastating tornadoes that touched down within our community and surrounding areas, the community of Boyd County is rallying together in a rather unique way to support those affected. Local tattoo artists are joining forces for the first-ever "Art 4 Aid" event where they will use their creative skills to help raise funds for those affected by the path of the recent storms which left some without a home.

 

Art4Aid will be held May 5 from 4:00 p.m. until 12:00 a.m. at the Boyd County Convention Center located 15605 KY-180, Catlettsburg. This ink-tastic event is sponsored by the Boyd County Community Economic Development and will feature on-site tattooing from some of the area’s most prominent tattoo artist, live entertainment, vendors, food trucks and a live auction. All proceeds will benefit local residents and businesses impacted by the recent storms and tornadoes.

Olive Hill native Garrett Carroll is the owner of Midnite Society Tattoos located at 5405 Roberts Drive, Suite 9 in Ashland. Carroll and his wife Kasey wanted to help local residents, and the idea just came to them. Carroll noted, “We were watching the storms on TV, and my wife looked over at me and said, ‘we need to do something to help.’”

 Carrol has been a tattoo artist for about 20 years and has made many connections and friends within the business. Carroll explained that he has no real preference for the type of tattoos he does. His likes range from realistic black and gray or color to the more ‘cartoony’ images. “It’s all up to the customer,” Carroll stated.

Tattoo artists have held benefits in the past for community aid, and Carroll believed that it was time to bring the community together again. “Investing our time is all that’s required to help, and we are more than willing to give that time for our community,” shared Carroll. Carroll noted that other members of the tattoo artist community are every bit as responsible for making the event possible as he is himself. “The tattoo artist community is amazing. Everyone wants to give back and help and support the area. Our volunteers have been amazing as well. They have worked hard, and we really appreciate them because without them this event wouldn’t even have been possible.”

All the participating artists will be set up and ready to go to make your ink dreams come true. You can choose from previously prepared designs or even bring your own design as long as it isn’t too time consuming. “As of right now, we will have around 23 tattoo artists participating, possibly more by the day of the event. The proceeds from the event will go to The United Way and from there they distributed back into the local community,” reported Carroll.

If you would like to inquire about more information or to volunteer, you can visit Midnite Society Tattoos Facebook page or call them at: 606.331.8836.

Libraries: More Than Just Books

Libraries: More Than Just Books

By: Lora Parsons

The Ashland Beacon

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King Ashurbanipal, Euripides and Emperor Shih Huang-ti all had some form of a library with texts recorded on scrolls, clay tablets, papyrus or vellum, each collection sharing the purpose of archiving the thumbprint of their society. Inspired by these earlier forms of a library and motivated by the expense of books, Benjamin Franklin pooled his financial resources with his contemporaries, starting The Library Company of Philadelphia. Mimicking libraries of the Ancient World, he effectively fathered libraries in the U.S., though the earliest were only accessible by the shareholders who contributed books to them. After opening them to the public, patrons were required to leave a deposit equivalent to the cost of the book they checked out which was refunded to them upon the book’s return. These earlier versions of a library don’t look like today’s, but they all have one thing in common:  information collection and sharing.

 

Serving the community through information is at the heart of today’s libraries, which are in no short supply in our area. Boyd County operates three branches--Catlettsburg, Midland and the main branch on Central Avenue--as does Greenup County--Flatwoods, McKell and the main branch on Main Street. Beyond the public libraries, every school in our area also provides library services to its students. Add to these the libraries at Ashland Community Technical Center and Southland Bible Institute, and the count rises to over 30 libraries in Greenup and Boyd Counties--28 in K-12 schools, six public branches, and two colleges. And that doesn’t include local churches or our Ashland Area Tool Library (where patrons can check out tools instead of texts). We are simply surrounded by resources and information!

As our society has grown, so has the type of information we need and the methods we use to access that information. Quickly peruse the public library’s webpage to find an almost overwhelming list of services available on a wide range of topics--from job assistance to voting registration to tutoring to notary public. Everyone will find something of interest. The resources available to (figuratively and literally) check out inside the walls of a library are innumerable. And, it’s precisely this variety that Summit Elementary School student, Frederick Molinary loves: “I have a bunch of fantasy and nonfiction books to choose from, and I like the SpheroHero and 3-D printing!”

While things inside the library are vast and cover a wide range of topics, part of what makes a library special is the space itself. Movies and television often depict libraries being silent, almost sterile environments where patrons are shushed for rifling the pages of a book too loudly. But, visiting a library proves that false. They aren’t exactly noisy places, but there’s an audible energy about a space dedicated to information gathering--a calm hum that draws patrons in, where curiosity is quenched and knowledge grows. The walls of libraries often hold memorabilia to connect patrons to the past, like the art on display inside Boyd County High School’s library. Or, perhaps they hold inspiring messages to prompt creativity and critical thinking, spurring patrons on by encouraging growth and development. They might even display advertisements of current events or community opportunities to connect patrons to their current world. Whatever it is that fills the space, patrons of all ages, all walks of life, all abilities, all ideologies, will find a welcoming, warm environment where they can get access to resources at their fingertips.

The information available may be the main attraction to a library, but people found there is another layer that makes libraries such special places. Visitors to libraries will always find library staff eager to help connect patrons to the information they need; it’s their passion. Letitia Rudie is the Library Media Specialist at Summit Elementary in Boyd County and described her job as being one in which she “teach[es] students how to access, evaluate, and use information ethically and effectively. [Librarians] also teach technology skills including digital citizenship and internet safety which is a must as a 21st century learner.” The skills librarians help students hone are often focused on identifying what information is needed and finding a resource that holds it. Deidra Bowling-Meade, Library Media Specialist at Paul Blazer High School, said: “We teach [students] how to find credible, valid information and then take that information [and] turn it into a product.” The people inside the walls are often the missing link between resource and patron.

Debbie Cosper from the main branch of the Boyd County Public Library expounded on that idea, reminding patrons--if finances are the barrier between a person and information, the library will break down that wall. If vision is the barrier, the library has solutions. If reading is the barrier, the library can provide information in a different format. In so many ways, our public libraries help to level the playing field. Bowling-Meade reiterated this same sentiment in pin-pointing that NOT providing information in these sorts of multiple formats is a true disservice to the public that they benefit. A library’s main purpose is, of course, to make information available to patrons, but in our technology-rich society, the question has become less about WHAT a library might offer, and more about HOW patrons want to access that information, according to Cosper. She said: “Material is now often available as regular print, large print, digitally…you can listen to it, watch it.... We provide information in the way that [patrons] access it the best” --and without cost. This fact isn’t lost on Summit Elementary student, Allison Smith: “I like how there’s a bunch of different activities because it helps us learn in a bunch of different ways.” Libraries are in the business of serving everyone, and even the youngest patrons recognize this.

With the people, places and things of libraries being so special, it’s no wonder that the month of April is chock full of various ways to celebrate our libraries. All of April is National School Library Month; we just wrapped up National Library Week (April 7th-13th); and, this past Tuesday was National Librarian Day (April 16th). If you missed these, don’t fret. Tuesday, April 23rd is World Book Day. Don’t miss out on another opportunity to celebrate the treasure we have in our local area’s libraries. Step into the magic of one of them, and thank our local librarians for the work they do to curate, preserve, and share information in accessible, relevant ways for us all.