KRCC “Saddles Up” in order to Wrangle Mental Illness

Jonathan NicklesNews

On September 26, 2019, Kentucky River Community Care presented its 2019 Consumer Conference at the KRCC complex. The complex has several facilities located at 3826, Highway 15 South, in Jackson, Kentucky. 
The annual event was orchestrated principally by the Consumer Conference Committee composed of members, Tim Deaton, Lora Noble, Autumn, Melton, Vicie Pelfrey, Kim Morris, and Brittany Barrett. The event was titled “Saddle Up!! Let’s Wrangle Mental Illness!”

The event was excellently attended, hosting some 130 KRCC consumers from a total of 8 counties. The counties represented in Jackson on the 26th were Breathitt, Knott, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Owsley, Perry, and Wolfe.
There were a number of presenters at the conference. Lieutenant James East, Deputy Chief of the Hazard Police Department started off the conference with the first presentation which followed the conference’s getting kicked-off by a moving rendition of The National Anthem sung by Jackson’s own Melinda Cundiff. 

Deborah Brown spoke at the conference as its second presentation of the morning, followed by the Rebound Center’s Becky Lewis who serves as a Peer Support Specialist.The conference then heard from Malorey Webb and Courtney Worley from “The Sapling Center,” and Carol Riley from the ACT Team, and then Haven House’s Brittany Little. 

We were able to catch-up with Brittany Barrett, program director for the health and wellness centers. She told The Times-Voice, “It’s truly a pleasure to be able to work with our clients on a regular basis and watch them grow and progress. I am beyond impressed with the talent, teamwork, and support I witnessed today among both clients and staff from all of the 8 counties.”

After the mornings presentations, the conference enjoyed a catered lunch and then convened for its talent show. Following the talent show, there were a number of awards presented. There were awards presented for everything from singing to interpretive dance, wood-working to watercolors, and even awards for outstanding work in sewing to needle-point. 

In addition to the conference staff, KRCC’s CEO, Mary Meade-McKenzie, attended to take in the conference and assist in handing out the many door prizes and awards to the respective consumers. The Times-Voice was able to speak with Ms. Meade-McKenzie who shared with us how much she looks forward, each year, to this particular event. 

She told the Times-Voice getting to watch the consumers express themselves, particularly in their art and with their performances, is very rewarding. “They are not just wonderfully expressive and talented but are completely open and accepting of both us and each other. They approach each day with a complete lack of pretense and an honesty sometimes hard to find anywhere else. It is a joy to get to attend the conference and I look forward to it each year.”

The Times-Voice feels fortunate we were able to get to attend the conference and hope we continue to make the guest list. We found the conference contained many of the same attributes described by KRCC’s CEO.​