The Christian Appalachian Project selected John and Jean Rosenberg with Appalachian Research and Defense Fund (AppalReD) and Texas Roadhouse as its 2019 Champions of Appalachia.
The award recognizes individuals and organizations that have had a positive, long-term impact in the lives of people in Appalachia.
“We created this award to recognize the work of like-minded people working to make a difference in Eastern Kentucky and Central Appalachia,” said Guy Adams, president/CEO of Christian Appalachian Project. “The Rosenbergs and Texas Roadhouse exemplify what it means to be personally involved in uplifting Appalachian communities.”
“AppalReD has been committed to making a difference and ending the effects of poverty in the lives of its clients,” a press release said. “In 1970, John Rosenberg became its first executive director in Kentucky and became a legendary pioneer in Appalachian poverty law. John was also a founder of the Appalachian Citizens Law Center which focuses on environmental work and has helped hundreds of former miners and widows seeking black lung benefits. His wife Jean helped bring the first ASPO/Lamaze childbirth classes to Floyd County and for 18 years served as the director of a campus support program for single parents and homemakers at Big Sandy Community and Technical College.”
Rosenberg was humble about the honor.
“The success for which we are credited, could not really happen without the support of the many people with whom we have been associated over the years,” Rosenberg said. “We have seen CAP’s contribution to improving the lives of people in our community and throughout Eastern Kentucky. We appreciate the support and assistance from CAP over the years.”
This year marks the 10-year anniversary since employees of Texas Roadhouse first came to the CAP to volunteer to help serve those in need of a helping hand here in Appalachia. Throughout the past decade, Texas Roadhouse’s 160 volunteers have provided over 3,500 hours of service and donated over $250,000 to various CAP programs and participants.
“Ten years ago, I spent two days touring one end of CAP’s service area to the other. I saw the devastation and the poverty of the community and I felt broken, like how can this be. As I saw the work that CAP was doing to make it better, I really knew that we needed to be a part of that,” said Diania Ciresi, community relations senior manager. “We would like to thank CAP for letting us be a part of your work in Appalachia.”
The fifth annual event also highlighted CAP’s donors and volunteers and the impact Christian Appalachian Project has made in the region. Hannah Thomas, a college freshman, shared the impact CAP has made on her life and that of many of her family members through CAP’s summer camp program at Camp AJ in McKee.
“People always say, ‘Home is where your heart is.’ But, you realize that home is not a place. For me, CAP and Camp AJ will be my forever home,” said Hannah Thomas, who has attended Camp AJ since she was a child. She has returned for the last two years as a junior counselor and was CAP’s only full-time junior counselor this year. “CAP wrapped their arms around me and never let me go. They always made me feel loved, and like I mattered. They told me that I am enough, that I am worthy, that I can do great things,” she said.
The event was sponsored by NetGain Technologies, a provider of Information Technology services and solutions.