Class of 2019 inducted into Woodford Schools Hall of Fame
Duncan’s life changed forever when her sister, Thomasina, died of suicide in 1995 at age 31 and again in 2012 when her 17-year-old daughter, Ashley, took her own life. It wasn’t until her and her family’s lives were forever altered by suicide that Duncan said she faced issues of denial, shame and isolation, and decided she wanted to make a difference. So she created the Ashley Jadine Foundation with a mission to increase teen suicide awareness, help prevent it and reduce the stigma of mental health issues. Duncan talked about the lasting impact of suicide when she spoke for the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2019. “Resilience and overcoming trauma is what I talk about,” she said. “My sister’s death,” she continued, “changed my life forever because I wanted a sister … I had the stigma and I had the shame and I had the silence from ’95 to 2012, and I never spoke.” Now, she reminds others that suicide is real and explains the value of sharing real feelings with someone you trust to avoid choosing “a permanent solution for a temporary problem. “… Remember, suicidal behavior is a cry for help …” Gaines spent 43 years serving the people of his hometown as Woodford County’s property valuation administrator. He was vice president and president of the Kentucky PVA Association, and received the first Kentucky PVA Gold Service Award from his colleagues in 1988. Besides being an accomplished PVA, Gaines was also very gregarious, according to granddaughter Elizabeth Roach. “He was one of the warmest people that I’ve ever met,” she said, “just very friendly. He was just very well-known in the community for that quality. “Everybody knew him.” Volunteers Ralph Combs, Ben Crain, Chuck Fouser, Jim Gay, Doug Matthews and J. C. Moraja, who were instrumental in the opening of Community Stadium more than three decades ago, were honored by the Woodford County Public Schools Hall of Fame. The efforts of these six tireless volunteers led a community effort in the mid-1980s to replace aging Memorial Field, with its poor lighting, limited seating capacity and “cow pasture” field conditions. Ground was broken for Community Stadium on March 16, 1987 thanks to the grassroots fundraising efforts of these core volunteers to promote an undertaking by community members to acquire land for a new athletic facility where football, soccer and other events are now held. “We took a lead role,” said Combs of him and the other core volunteers, “… but from day one, it was a county project. You couldn’t do that just anywhere. “It’s Woodford County’s stadium – always will be – but we’re proud to be recognized.” And it gives him “a great deal of pride” knowing kids in the community are still playing sports at Community Stadium, he added. Last Saturday’s induction ceremony included a moment of silence honoring the service of former Woodford County Judge-Executive John Coyle, who served on the Hall of Fame committee. He died last year. Launched in 2012, the Woodford County Public Schools Hall of Fame promotes the heritage of the local school district by honoring its most accomplished alumni: graduates of WCHS, Versailles High School, Midway High School and Simmons High School, as well as school advocates.