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Awards & Recognition​


Fish and Wildlife conservation educator helps rescue driver from burning truck

A group of elementary and middle school students on their way home from a week of Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife conservation camp witnessed a harrowing single-vehicle wreck and then saw one of their camp counselors run to the stricken vehicle and pull the unconscious driver to safety seconds before it burst into flames.

Conservation educator Clay Brummal was driving south on the Natcher Parkway near Hartford in Ohio County June 10 shortly after 2 p.m. when he came upon a wrecked and mangled pickup just seconds after its driver had lost control and crashed. He ran to the vehicle and found its driver badly injured, bleeding and unconscious. "He​ did not respond when I tapped his foot,” said Brummal. “Then I saw the flames coming up out of the engine compartment and knew we had to get him out of there.”

Two other motorists arrived to help. “The doors were jammed shut, but the driver’s side window was broken out,” said Brummal. “It took all three of us, but we pulled him up through that window and got him out of there. I could never have even budged him by myself.” The flames spread quickly and completely engulfed the truck. “We got worried about an explosion and shrapnel, so we dragged him about 75 feet away,” said Brummal.

State Police said later that the driver, Jerry Crowler of Gordsville, Tennessee, was Life-Flighted from the scene to Vanderbilt University Hospital. 

Kaelin McWilliams, a conservation educator accompanying the campers returning to their Hancock and Breckinridge County homes, said they had stopped along the northbound side of the highway to repair a flat tire on the luggage trailer behind the Miller Transportation bus when the students began exclaiming about the wreck. “The wreck happened directly across from us. The campers saw it, and then they saw Clay pull up,” said McWilliams. “They all started shouting ‘Mr. Brummal’s here.’” They had just spent the last week with him at Camp Currie. 

“In a crisis situation, Clay is definitely the type of person you want there,” said Information and Education Division Director Tim Slone. “He stays calm; he keeps his head about him. We practice and train to deal with emergencies at camp, and that clearly paid dividends here.” 

Ohio County EMS Director Jim Duke said that it is extremely uncommon for a vehicle to ignite on contact and to have someone unconscious inside. “I’ve been doing this for 34 years and that’s a movie thing that just doesn’t happen in real life. (Brummal) was in the right place at the right time and he saved a life in Ohio County today,” he said Friday evening. “He got him out of that vehicle or he would have died.”

When State Police and ambulance personnel cleared, Brummal, who had slowed originally upon noticing the camp bus across the highway in the emergency lane, crossed the road and changed the luggage trailer’s flat tire. “Not only did he rescue that injured driver, but he changed our tire and got us back on the road home,” said McWilliams. “He was definitely our hero.”


Energy and Environment employee helps feed the hungry and curb food waste

By Mary Jo Harrod, Division of Compliance Assistance

John Walker, an environmental scientist in the Division of Air Quality had heard that 40 percent of all food grown in this country never reaches the plate. He knew that one in six Kentuckians does not have enough to eat or the ability to access food that is fresh and nutritious. 

So Walker and two friends in the Lexington area - all with gardens producing more bounty than they could use, decided in 2010, to tackle the problems of hunger and food waste.

More than six years later, GleanKY, part of KY EXCEL through the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC),  is providing fresh produce to thousands of people in central Kentucky. Partnering with the Lexington Farmers’ Market, Good Foods Co-op and Reed Valley Orchard, they rely on volunteers to gather excess produce from farms, orchards, farmers’ markets, grocery stores and supermarkets.

Volunteers pick up produce that can’t be sold but is otherwise perfectly edible and deliver it to more than 60 hunger programs throughout Fayette County and nearly 20 other programs in Scott, Franklin and Madison counties.

“I grew up in a small mining village in northern Wales,” Walker said. “I was raised by my grandmother and though we were poor, we never went hungry. After moving to Kentucky and being involved in local food movements, I realized that hunger was on my doorstep and that it was up to each of us to do whatever we could to alleviate hunger and help our fellow neighbors.

“I had read many articles about gleaning out west, but no one was doing it in Lexington,” said Walker. “When I saw so much food simply being thrown away, from farm to store, it was morally imperative for me to try and do something about it.”

Initially, the group targeted churches for volunteers and recipients and other agencies that fed the hungry, such as the Catholic Action Center, Nathanial Mission, Lighthouse Mission, and Lexington Rescue Mission. Stephanie Wooten, executive director of the organization explained, “GleanKY is neither a food producer nor a food preparer, but it’s a system to link them and solve two issues at once.”

Walker said the organization has a unique model. “We don’t go through a food bank, except when we have too much, when we will pass it on to God’s Pantry,” he said.

GleanKY has two requirements for any agencies receiving produce through the program. First, the produce cannot be sold since it is donated for the use of hunger programs. Second, the agencies who use it must serve families or individuals who experience food insecurity. According to Wooten, 96 percent of GleanKY’s partner programs reported an increase in the nutritional value of the meals they provide after partnering with GleanKY and 76 percent of their partner programs reported being able to serve more people after partnering with GleanKY.  “It’s something we are pretty proud of,” said Wooten.

In 2015, GleanKY achieved impressive results with 216,513 pounds of food being processed, 2,404 volunteer hours donated, 618 food trips made, 60 agencies served, and 38 sources of excess produce. According to the organization, it took in $147,511 in grants and donations and used all but $15,015 in administration costs on the hungry and undernourished. The organization said it was on target to collect and distribute one million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables in 2016. 

“We set out to do a good thing in the Commonwealth, and I think we are setting a great example for others in Kentucky to follow.” Walker, who is vice-president of GleanKY and a board member, said. “I think very highly of it, especially since it has managed to achieve so much in such a short amount of time. This is due in no small part to our board, staff, interns, volunteers and the farmers and stores that have been so generous.” 

One GleanKY recipient said service is a blessing for people who don't have enough money to buy things to eat. “It's a wonderful idea if they can keep helping people who really need the food," she said. Besides being dedicated to helping people in need, GleanKY is a member of KY EXCEL, the Commonwealth’s environmental leadership program that began in 2006, and is part of the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet.

If you want to get involved with GleanKY go to www.​gleanky.org​​ and follow the volunteer link.

Economic Development Cabinet communicators win top KAGC award

The Cabinet for Economic Development’s Office of Research and Public Affairs won the “Communications Office of the Year” title in this year’s Kentucky Association of Government Communicators (KAGC) Awards of Excellence competition. Government communicators from across the state competed for KAGC awards, which were presented during the group’s spring conference May 27 held at the Administrative Office of the Courts in Frankfort. 

The awards competition is open to those involved in government communications at the local, state and federal levels. The “Communications Office of the Year” award is given each year to the agency that wins the most KAGC awards among 22 categories, including writing, design, photo, audio, video and social media. This is the fourth time that the Cabinet for Economic Development’s Office of Research and Public Affairs has been dubbed “Communications Office of the Year.”

KAGC offers professional development opportunities to government communicators while promoting high standards of professionalism, networking opportunities, and recognition for the essential role good communications play in public service. The group holds monthly meetings as well as spring and fall conferences. For more information, go to www.kagc.net​​.​​​