Don’t count us out just yet.

The flood has us down, but working hard to get up.     In 2006, the Lexington Herald-Leader ran a feature on our village of Paint Lick and entitled it “Don’t count it out “. Four years and one big flood later has some of our first generation residents worried about the village they have come to love. Debbie Parker has worked harder this week at Friends than most anyone. Loraine came home Monday singing her praises and saying what a God-send she was. Yesterday she showed me something she had sat down and written to share the burden of her heart.      

Debbie (on the right) sorting the wet clothes with Janet.

By Deborah Parker- May 5, 2010 

IT IS NOW THREE DAYS since the flood and I’m thinking, “ Will this be the nail in the coffin of our little town of Paint Lick”? 
 
I moved to this community known as Paint Lick in February, 1960, from the coal fields of Harlan County. My dad was a coal miner. It was a thriving community of three grocery stores, a post office, the mill, Peoples Bank, two service stations, a restaurant, the Sportsmen’s club Eva Lee’s beauty shop, Earl Nave’s barber shop, J.R. Television repair. . .just to name a few of the one’s from the memories of a young child. As the years went by there have been numerous floods,fires, and tornadoes that caused changes both good and bad. The bad economy almost got us in the eighty’s, but still our heart was beating strong. We lost the Ashland station about this time. We are a community that cares about each other. When a tragedy happens, the people of Paint Lick are there lending a helping hand. Rumors began to circulate that we were losing our post office, but thank God, at least for now we still have her.
  
 In the late ’80s and early ’90s we lost the grocery stores of Calico and Brown, and Herlin McQuerry’s.The mill is long gone. About that time, The Friend’s of Paint Lick was formed by Dean Cornett who was also responsible for praying Doctor John Belanger to Paint Lick. He and his staff has provided us with the Family clinic which also suffered extensive damage. The bank changed to First Southern and we got a world-class wood shop in the person of Don Weber. He came to us from Wales via California, in an old green Chevrolet truck. Don has brought national attention (television) to Paint Lick. Of course it was Dean Cornett as one of President George Bush, Sr’s, “Point of Lights” recipient that first gained national attention for Paint Lick.
 
 So many people who have been a vital part of our community are no longer with us: Joe and Helen Adams, Dud and Eva Lee Hurte, Charlie and Maxine Brown, Franklin Dillion, Lucien, Geneva, and Ralph Starnes, Maggie and Otis Gooch, Jessie and Gladys Miller, Rudy Hensley, and others too numerous to list here. All are still remembered as a vital part of our heritage. Now we are in the twenty-first century and we have lost our restaurant to a fire and no longer have a station that sells gas. The days of the post office is on it’s way out.
 
 I guess what I’ve been trying to say is that the heartbeat of Paint Lick seems to be fading. Only we, the community can act as a defibulator to shock it back to a healthy condition. I don’t want Paint Lick to just be a memory. We dare not let this flood be the occasion that delivers the death toll. Let’s do something, whatever it takes to show there is still life here where we live, play, and work. I care deeply about my community and am willing to join others to get the heartbeat strong and dynamic.
 
As the saying on Dean Cornett’s truck reminded everyone that saw it- “Press on Regardless!” Let that be our rally cry as we work together to bring back the life-force to Paint Lick.
  Related article in 1991 New York Times about Katie Rollins and the hard times Debbie speaks of in the ’80s in Paint Lick.
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3 Responses to “Don’t count us out just yet.”

  1. e4unity Says:

    See our post on the 20th anniversary of “Points of Light” program entitiled “The Light Still Shines”!

    https://paintlickfriends.wordpress.com/2009/10/22/the-light-still-shines/

    Never under-estimate the incredible staying power of the human spirit when it is given hope and a vision to work with.

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