From left to right are Brushy Fork Institute Director Donna Daniels, Becky Crawford, Joe Crawford, and Cambel Crawford. Joe is holding a painting he was presented when he received the John B. Stephenson Service Award last week.
Estill County leader and Executive Director of the Estill Development Alliance, Joe Crawford was honored with the John B. Stephenson Service Award for his service to Estill County, the region, and Appalachia during the 2019 Brushy Fork Annual Institute on September 19, 2019.
For more than two decades, Brushy Fork Leadership Institute has recognized a person or people who have provided exemplary service to communities in the Appalachian Region. In 2012, this award was created in honor of Brushy Fork’s founder, John B. Stephenson.
Brushy Fork offers this award based on the values that inform their work and a vision for the future of leadership in the mountains. Recipients of the award have demonstrated that they honor the voice and vision of local people, uphold equality by asserting the kinship of all people, and engage community members for mutual learning, growth, and service. Additionally, they promote learning, innovation, and results through hands-on work, and encourage mindful living, have a zest for learning, and show concern for others.
Director of the Brushy Fork Leadership Institute, Donna Daniels, presented Crawford with the award, remarking, “The person to whom Brushy Fork is awarding the John B. Stephenson Service Award might be called something like a community’s dream come true. How often do we hear that we want our educated young people to return home? This year’s award recipient is a person dedicated to employing his education, enthusiasm, and innovation for the good of his community. This year’s John B. Stephenson Award recipient is Joe Crawford.”
Joe Crawford has a long history with the Estill Development Alliance and its variety of operating divisions and partners. After first participating in high school on the phone-a-thon to found the organization, Joe Crawford returned home to Estill County after attending college and began working for the EDA in 2005. He has been the Executive Director since 2006.
“I have worked with Joe on various community development projects over 15 years. There have been many ups and downs, surprises and pitfalls, but Joe’s devotion to his family and community has kept our organization always moving forward,” Yvonne Harrison, Chair of the Estill Development Alliance Board of Directors said. “It is an honor to us all that Brushy Fork, an organization that has taught and fostered community and economic development throughout the Appalachian region for more than 40 years, has recognized Joe’s leadership and work to progress Estill County. I can’t wait to see what happens over the next 15 years!”
Each year, the recipients are gifted a painting. This year’s award features a painting of a train trestle that can be found near the Estill, Clark, and Powell County lines. Daniels said, “Just as this trestle has made connections among communities, so has Joe in his work with leadership and economic development. The imagery of trains also suggests the success of one of the latest Estill County projects in which Joe has had a hand—the Kentucky Rail Heritage Center in Ravenna and the homecoming for a project with the potential for tourism development, education, and logistics, all based on steam rail service.”
The Brushy Fork Leadership Institute, a Strategic Initiative of Berea College, has worked to strengthen local and regional leadership in Central Appalachia for more than 30 years. Brushy Fork believes in the power of local people to lead the development of their communities. They strive to increase the number of people assuming leadership roles in Appalachian communities and organizations and seek to support people who are also working to accomplish this goal.
The Estill Development Alliance where Crawford serves as Executive Director has a mission to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Estill County, Kentucky, through conducting, promoting, and supporting civic, cultural, economic, educational and social activities and programs which maximize citizen and community involvement. Operating divisions can be seen throughout a variety of facets of the community with the Estill County Chamber of Commerce, the River City Players, Leadership LEAP, and the Estill Action Group.
For any questions or comments, please contact the Estill Development Alliance at (606) 723-2450 or firstname.lastname@example.org.