Fahe hosts Mission Tours for new employees to meet our Members and experience firsthand how we all work together to eliminate persistent poverty in Appalachia. Since our Members are boots on the ground practitioners, they provide experience and insight which proves invaluable to our collaborative work across the region. I was fortunate enough to be one of the eleven employees who attended this year’s Mission Tour. Vonda Poynter, SVP of Membership and Norma Edwards, VP of Human Resources organized the tour, creating a very efficient schedule of events. During the tour we visited: HomeSource east tennessee in Knoxville, TN, Clinch-Powell RC&D in Rutledge, TN, and KCEOC Community Action Partnership in Barbourville, KY.
Our first stop was at HomeSource east tennessee where Jackie Mayo, Executive Director and Chris Osborn, Chief Operating Officer, delighted us with stories about how the company has evolved over the years, building capacity and leveraging resources to improve the lives of people living within their service area. After a great discussion and Q&A session, we went on a tour of their main office building and then took our caravan of minivans to the Village at Holston – an innovative housing solution for senior and disabled individuals and families. When we visited the Village at Holston it was in various stages of construction, but once it’s completed, it will include 24 one and two bedroom apartments, a community room and 2 three bedroom houses cohabitated by members of the TennCare CHOICES program.
After our visit at the village, we headed to our second stop, Clinch Powell RC&D. We were greeted by Lindy Turner, Executive Director, Sabrina Seamon, Deputy Executive Director, Laura Turner, Financial Manager, and Stephani McCarty, Program Assistant. We gathered in a gorgeous dining room where Lindy told us the history of Clinch Powell and how it has grown throughout the years to provide several programs and resources to individuals within their service area.
After a delicious lunch and a great meeting, we headed to Pleasant Ridge, which is an affordable housing community Clinch Powell is developing in Bean Station, TN. Once we got to the subdivision we drove around the loop admiring the newly constructed homes with a view of a lake off in the distance. We stopped at a gorgeous dark blue house and took a tour of the interior. This house was amazing. It had an open floor plan, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, stainless steel appliances, great closets, and a walkout basement. When our tour was completed we said our goodbyes and headed north to visit KCEOC.
At our first stop with KCEOC, we met Jennifer Smith, Vice President of Program Operations, at Ryan’s Place; a safe haven for homeless youth ages 18-24. We took a tour of the facility which contains four separate apartments with two private bedrooms and a beautiful common area. We learned how vital Ryan’s Place is to the area and how they provide supportive services for the individuals living there. After viewing the common area and learning about their future plans for Ryan’s Place, we drove to our second stop with KCEOC, Mixon Manor; an affordable apartment complex for senior citizens. During our visit we learned that KCEOC offers 34 programs in 8 counties. KCEOC is dedicated to helping people and their communities.
The Mission Tour was informative, educational, and inspirational. We got to meet our boots on the ground Members, learn about their programs and projects, and then see how they are making a positive impact in their communities. Every house built, business started, and youth sheltered is another step in eliminating persistent poverty. I’m glad to work for a company so invested in its mission, Members, and employees.