• Leadership Essays and Photo Gallery

  • Opening Retreat 2014

  • Leadership Hopkinsville Class 2014-2015 / Opening Retreat

    By: Sharon Butts

    The two-day opening retreat was held at the beautiful Pennyrile Forest State Park. We immediately began to learn about the 20 leaders that were chosen for this year’s class in which we all had various diverse backgrounds. It was very inspiring to me to see how each of my classmates were already considered trailblazers in their professions and have already been leading a path for others to follow. Each classmate exhibits a passion for serving our community and embracing new ideas and vision to take our community into the twenty first century and beyond.

    Our class had the wonderful opportunity to be engaged with the great leaders of our community (Trustees) who shared with our class how they have led our community to where it is today. We had the opportunity to explore the past and we learned about the history of our community in which the community foundation was built. We learned how we looked demographically compared to other areas in regards to growth and development and we shared our concerns for our community as well as our achievements for our community.

    We smiled, we laughed, we joked, we told stories…we bonded! We share the passion, we share the vision and together we will strive to lead our community to greatness and leave a legacy for others to follow.

    Thank you to each guest who came to present to our class and to our coordinators DeAnna Yates & Melissa Spurr, you kept us laughing all day long!

  • Military Day

  • By:  Melissa Stevenson

    To better understand the impact Fort Campbell has on the region, the Leadership Hopkinsville along with Leadership Cadiz were given a day long glimpse into the inter-workings of the military installation.   Fort Campbell, home of the Screaming Eagles of the 101st Airborne Division, is located only minutes away from Hopkinsville.  With its sprawling 106,700 acres, this massive installation straddles the Kentucky/Tennessee state lines.  In addition to the 101st, there are other units that are on post including:  5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, and 52nd Ordnance Group.  And in joint effort with the Army, do not be surprised to see the Air Force and the Navy located on the post as well.  

    Our day began promptly at 8:30am.  Specialist Johnathon Neat, our tour guide for the day, picked us up at Gate 7 where we boarded the bus to begin our day’s adventure.  First stop was Coles Park where we were briefed by James Halford on the significance, size, and demographics of the post.  Unlike other army posts, Fort Campbell’s unique location allows for quick deployment of its soldiers, units and supplies by its expansive one of a kind railway system, use of area rivers and highways, and its extra-long runways.  

    With approximately 31,000 active duty soldiers and approximately 53,000 family members, Mr. Halford also shared that Fort Campbell supports the 5th largest military population in the Army and the 7th largest in the Department of Defense.   And in addition to serving the military, Fort Campbell is also the largest employer of civilians in the area.  Within its confines, the post is a small city which can be self-sustaining if need be.  Soldiers and their families can live on the post, shop, eat, attend school from elementary thru college, and never leave its gates. 

    Following Coles Park, we traveled to Division Headquarters where we learned of the history behind the 101st Screaming Eagles and had the opportunity for a welcome and photograph with Major General Gary Volesky, Commanding General of the 101st.   

    Leaving headquarters, we visited one of the Engagement Skills Trainers where we had hands on experience shooting M-14’s and machine guns.  In the simulations, we also experienced different scenarios that soldiers face when they are in combat.   With our adrenaline pumping, we headed to lunch at the 5th Special Forces Dining Facility (DFAC).  Lunch in the present day dining facilities are no comparison to the mess halls of long ago, and the food was great too!

    Fort Campbell is also home to the Sabalauski Air Assault School, the only air assault school in the world.  On any given day there can be 200-1200 soldiers on the training grounds learning how to rappel, how to do swing loads with helicopters, running the obstacle course, or getting in their 12 mile run as part of the school requirements.  Each soldier that comes to Fort Campbell is required to complete the air assault school training.  The intense training lasts for 10 days and during those 10 days, soldiers are drilled at the highest level mentally and physically.   After watching an impressive demonstration given by the instructors, each person in the leadership class was given the opportunity to rappel.  For some, rappelling was by far the highlight of the day and an experience some will never forget.

    To close the day, our last stop was the Don F. Pratt Museum.  It is here the history of Fort Campbell is ever present as a reminder of how it all started and where it is today.  In peacetime and war, the 101st has been there.  Thank you to Fort Campbell for this wonderful opportunity.  We, as a region, are very fortunate for many reasons to have Fort Campbell near to us and we as a leadership group were very fortunate to share in this once in a lifetime experience.



    Education Day




    Our morning started at Millbrooke Elementary School with their morning assembly. Most everyone agreed at the end of the day that morning assembly was one of the best parts of the day. We then moved to Millbrooke’s Library where we had a nice breakfast and an overview of Christian County Public Schools from Ms. Gemmill. Leadership then traveled to Heritage Christian Academy where we took a tour of the school and learned about the private sector of education. From there we traveled to Hopkinsville High School and met in the cafeteria. We started with an introduction from the principle and assistant principle then were giving a tour of the school by the Hopkinsville High School ROTC. We then moved to the middle school where we had lunch and book discussion with Melissa Kempa. After our book discussion we had a Q&A session with a panel of various administrators in our school system. Afterwards we traveled to the Gateway Academy for a tour. Our last stop of the day was the Hopkinsville Community College where we watched a nursing class demonstration, had a technology center walk through with Stuart Zieman, Q&A with students from various private and public schools, Q&A with some of the college’s administration, wrapped up with presentation discussion and homework review.

  • Agriculture Day

    By Natalie Adams

  • Mr. Jason Jenkins, Planters Bank VP of Ag & Commercial Lending, lead the day and provided us with some remarkable insight to the world of agriculture and its multi-layered dimensions. My biggest take away included one of my favorite smells…the smell of dark fire tobacco being cured. It is one of the many unique things about Christian County agriculture. I always enjoy the aroma on my drive down 68-80 towards Cadiz, but on this day I was able to experience it firsthand as I stepped in one of Mr. Roy Jenkins’ tobacco barns off Pembroke Road.

    It is truly amazing to see the hard work and sweat that goes into cultivating this beautiful land that we have been provided. The physical demand is not a job for the weak and weary as the days are long and tough, but that is what makes the reward that much sweeter. We watched men hang burley tobacco to air cure and cut rows of dark tobacco. We heard from Mr. Roy Jenkins about the daily process of farming and the different ways to cure tobacco.

    We listened to Michael Forsythe and Laura Powers with the Kentucky Business Management Program through the University of Kentucky, Department of Ag Economics talk about accounting and income tax for farmers. They are able to help farmers better manage their finances and work on strategic year-end tax planning.

    We had a panel that consisted of Mr. Jerry Gilliam, AgQuest; Mr. Ben Payne, Payne Real Estate; Mr. Jeff Davis, local farmer and owner of Buy-Rite Parts & Supply; and Mr. Daniel Heltsley, Heltsley Appraisals. They spoke about the factors of production including loans, land pricing, labor minimum wage, housing and travel costs, and changes in equipment and technology over the years.

    Hutson, Inc. is a John Deere dealer with a large stock of new and used inventory of all types of agriculture equipment. Not only do they sell equipment, but they have a service department that takes care of repairs. We were allowed to view and even sit in one of the big tractors. The technology implemented in this new equipment has created a vastly efficient and effective farming operation that no other generation has seen.

    Commonwealth Agri-Energy, LLC is 100% farmer owned by the 2300 members of the Hopkinsville Elevator Co-op. Grain is used in three different cycles at this plant. It is turned into ethanol for fuel, distillers grains for livestock feed, and the CO2 is directly transferred to Airgas, Inc. to produce dry ice. We were able to see the entire process and learned that the plant is a zero emission zone, something in which the owners and employees are very proud.

    The last place we visited that I have yet to mention was Harvey Zimmerman’s dairy farm. His family lives off the crops they grow for themselves and the milk their cows produce. Harvey has a contract with Dean Foods for his cows’ milk and he sells raised produce to locals. It is an awe-inspiring experience to see a family that truly lives off the land.

    I think it is safe to say that we all learned something new from this experience. It makes me proud to know I live amongst so many families who have made Christian County one of the top producing agricultural areas in the world. Thank you to each and every one of you for all you continue to do!


    Leadership Government and Justice Day




    Health and Human Services Day


  • Our facilitators were Tony Winfield and Jayme Tubbs, who each did a great job leading us through another full day of community learning. The day started at the Jennie Stuart Medical Center with each class member having their blood drawn to have Lipid panel tests. We then had a history of the hospital told by Steve King. Steve told the story of Ms. Jennie Stuart and how the hospital was created out of the love of her husband. We learned that JSMC was founded in 1913 at a mere $3.00 per day rate, and now is a major medical facility with 194 beds and servicing over 3,000 patients thru the emergency room per month. We visited the historical wall and observed several items that helped explain how far JSMC has come.

    From there we had a Q&A panel with representatives from Christian County Health Department, Pennyroyal Center, Pennyrile Hospice, and Pennyrile Area Development District. We learned about numerous programs that the Health department offers including a community health assessment, and classes for CPR, antismoking, and substance abuse. Amanda Stokes from PADD discussed the many programs they offer including a program for grandparents raising small children to help with homework. PADD’s Aging program main goal is to allow the person to stay in their home and not need to go to a long term care facility. Kelly Martin then gave an impassioned discussion about the services offered by Hospice.

    We then travel and completed tours of the JS Imaging Center and Ambulatory Services.

    From there we traveled to Trilogy Center for Women. We had an excellent lunch prepared by Trilogy while completing a discussion of the 21 Laws with Melissa Kempa. While at Trilogy, the director Holly Perez- Knight began a discussion about how she came to Trilogy and the history of the center. Followed by two staff members who shared their story of substance abuse and how they Trilogy has helped them to overcome their problems.

    The day ended with a tour and history of Western State Hospital led by Tony Winfield.