London citizens honored by Leadership Tri-County

May 15—"These are true servants."

That was the description given to four London residents who were honored at this year's Leadership Tri-County awards last Thursday.

Jane Williams was selected as Dr. William Hacker Leader of the Year for establishing Parkinson's in Motion as well as her intensive research on the disease. Williams' dedication to finding resolutions to the disease took her to Barcelona, Spain, last year where she spoke before the World Health Organization about the symptoms and coping with the disease.

Williams was an Administrative Law Judge with the Kentucky Department of Workers Claims when she was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 2016. After recovering from the initial shock of that diagnosis, she began reading and researching the symptoms and causes of the disorder.

"You always hear about having tremors," Williams said. "I didn't have tremors. That's why being diagnosed with Parkinson's was such a shock."

But she didn't let shock overtake her — deciding to find ways to ward off the disease as much as possible. She soon learned that exercise and movement is a key factor in delaying the long-term symptoms of the disease.

She also learned that the disease is brought on by chemicals used as preservatives in food products.

"Some countries have banned some of those. Many are not here in the United States," she said, pledging to continue her battle to have those chemicals banned for consumption in the U.S.

Luminary Awards honor the memory of persons who have contributed to the betterment of their community. This year's honorees were Rev. Greg Deaton and two London City Police officers — Sergeant Travis Hurley and Sergeant Logan Medlock.

Deaton was pastor of New Salem Baptist Church, where had served for 17 years. He served at Swiss Colony Baptist as youth minister and lead groups on several overseas missionary missions. He pastored at New Salem Baptist Church for 17 years.

Sgt. Hurley was a Laurel native and spent 21 years on the London Police Department. After retiring, he came back to serve as a School Resource Officer (SRO) for two years. Hurley also served as a coach to school teams and was an active member of First Baptist Church of East Bernstadt. He contracted COVID and was hospitalized for several months before passing in Jan. 2022.

Sgt. Medlock was on duty on Oct. 30, 2022, when he was hit in the driver's side by an intoxicated driver. Although just 26 years old, Medlock had served on the Keavy Volunteer Fire Department and as a correctional officer at the Laurel County Jail before joining the city police force, where he served for two years before his death.

Leadership Tri-County was founded in 1987 by Dr. William Oaks, Tom Handy and Jim Oaks — all of whom were in the charter class of Leadership Kentucky in 1986. The trio believed the Tri-County area needed a similar program, thus Leadership Tri-County was founded.

The program spans over nine months with meetings once per month and looks at the needs of the area and how local leaders can work together for a resolution. The program includes informational topics such as health care, government, the legal system, communications and media, as well as other topics relevant to the Tri-County area.

Each year the Leadership Tri-County organization presents $1,000 scholarship to a graduating senior who has demonstrated the skills and ingenuity in their community.

Their mission is to identify the needs of their region and work toward some resolution to problems while also building up the area on the positive level. Their website describes the program in the following manner:

"Class members are brought together to build vibrant relationships and deepen their knowledge of the area's challenges and opportunities and to inspire them to commit quality leadership skills either individually or collectively to further Southeastern Kentucky's future."

For more information, visit their webpage at Leadership Tri-County.