Recovery Soldiers Ministries: hope for addiction

Ben Cole, Recovery Soldiers Ministries Founder

After struggling with addiction himself for more than a decade, experiencing a car wreck and subsequently a year at a rehabilitation center, Ben Cole founded Recovery Soldiers Ministries in Elizabethton. Recovery Soldiers is an addiction ministry that provides residents a 12-month program to help them beat addiction, strengthen their faith, and reintegrate into a stable life and job. The ministry opened in February 2017 and can serve 25 men at a time. Since its inception, 12 men have graduated the program. The program is supported by area churches, individual contributions, and its thrift store. We’re glad to have such a strong leader managing this ministry and sharing the message that freedom from addiction is possible.

Kiwanis Club of Elizabethton invites businesses to support children through flag sponsorship

Kiwanis Club members (from left) Jim Wilson, Danny Smith, Tim Broyles, David LeVeau, and Bill Kyte are some of the members who distribute flags on national holidays throughout Elizabethton.

Kiwanis Club members (from left) Jim Wilson, Danny Smith, Tim Broyles, David LeVeau, and Bill Kyte are some of the members who distribute flags on national holidays throughout Elizabethton.

Presidents Day is Monday, a time to celebrate United States presidents, past and present. On this day and other national holidays, residents of Elizabethton will notice dozens of American flags on display in town. These are placed by members of the Kiwanis Club of Elizabethton and are a way to both honor presidents and to support Carter County and Elizabethton children.

Local businesses sponsor these flags and proceeds support the Kiwanis Club’s annual picnic for children with disabilities. Currently, the club places 82 flags on each holiday and invites other businesses to sponsor their own flags.

“We are proud to carry on this tradition and hope it is a reminder for people to honor the flag and our country,” said Flag Committee Chair Danny Smith. “Any business that wants a flag – we’ll be happy to accommodate them.”

Flag Day began years ago by the late Civitan member Dean Blevins. The Kiwanis Club took over the tradition a few years ago and is now looking to see it grow. Smith said while some businesses sponsor one flag, others sponsor as many as four. Sponsorship is $40 for the first year and $20 for subsequent years.

Flags are four by six feet in area and are mounted on 10 feet poles, which the club installs with flag holders. Those interested in sponsoring a flag may contact Smith at 423-335-4530.

Kiwanis was founded in 1928 and is proud to have 31 active members who organize several projects throughout the year that benefit local children. The Club now has six Service Leadership Programs in local schools including 2 Key Clubs, 1 Builders Club, and 3 K-Kids Clubs. Those interested in sponsoring a flag or joining the club may contact us at the links below.

New Community Partners Coordinator to create opportunities for students, community

Maggie Donnellan

Community Partners Coordinator Maggie Donnellan is the newest addition to the Bartleby Program at Elizabethton High School. She updated the club on her new job to serve as a liaison between school and community. This is a role at other XQ Super Schools and exists to create real-world experiences and opportunities for students. Donnellan is working to establish project partners, mentors, project judging panels, internships, college partnerships and more. Currently the school has completed dozens of community projects and secured three official college partners.


Runner inspires with story of perseverance following amputation

Katie Jenkins shows off her running blade.

After a car wreck and 21 subsequent surgeries, including amputation below the knee, Katie Jenkins has been through a lot. Despite this, she continues to inspire others with her story of perseverance, hope, and transformation. Now she works with Victory Orthotics and Prosthetics as a patient liaison and marketing coordinator, where she gets to inspire others on their journeys. We appreciate you sharing your story and educating us! She now plans to participate in the Color Run 5K Atlanta, and we wish her the best of luck!

Ballad Health to focus funds, efforts on Population Health

Corey Paulson

Corey Paulson, Community Engagement Specialist, Ballad Health

Our region ranks lower than national averages according to numerous health and socioeconomic indicators. At our meeting today, Corey Paulson, community engagement specialist with Ballad Health, shared how Ballad plans to turn the tide for these trends. Ballad Health, the merger of Wellmont and Mountain States Health Alliance, has made a commitment to improve 25 health factors across the 21-county Tennessee-Virginia region with its new Population Health department.

Over the next ten years, Ballad will invest $308 million into initiatives targeting regional health. in three key areas: behavioral health, academics and research, and addressing key population needs in specific areas. Some of these target areas are childhood obesity, diabetes, tobacco cessation, opioid abuse, literacy, physical activity and more.

Paulson said the initiative begins with research and coordinating with existing initiatives. This will transition into an action phase with funding to support existing and new initiatives, as well improving coordination across thte region. Paulson said no other health system has taken this approach, and part of the catalyst for the new Population Health program was the system’s Certificate of Public Advantage, granted by Tennessee and Virginia. The two states will hold Ballad accountable as it works towards these goals.