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Volunteers mix job and life lessons

 

Strike!

CYNTHIANA

There’s still no sleeping in on Saturdays for Gary Harney, although son Tanner is now 20. Instead, Harney is up early for matches and tournaments as assistant bowling coach at Harrison County High School.

“About 10 years ago, my wife, Stacey, and I got our son involved in a Saturday youth league,” Harney recalls. “I enjoyed every Saturday morning watching our son and the other kids bowl.”

A few years and numerous leagues later, Tanner made the high school bowling team, and Gary joined the school’s coaching staff. He has been instructing young bowlers ever since.

A lineman with Blue Grass Energy for 19 years, Harney also teaches the young bowlers life lessons.

“High school bowling is a team sport, not just an individual sport,” he says. “I teach them to work together as a team and to communicate with each other. I also teach them respect.”

Jason Luebker, a dispatcher with Jackson Purchase Energy Corporation, has been chief of the Palma-Briensburg Volunteer Fire Department since 2001, protecting residents across 42 square miles in central Marshall County. Photo: JPEC

Dispatching for a difference

BENTON

Getting the right people to the right place to help those in need fills Jason Luebker’s days and nights and weekends and holidays.

A dispatcher with Jackson Purchase Energy Corporation, Luebker directs crews to outages and service calls for the cooperative.

Luebker does likewise as chief of the Palma-Briensburg Volunteer Fire Department, which boasts 31 volunteers, two stations and seven vehicles to serve roughly 3,200 residents in central Marshall County. A member of the department since 1991, Luebker has served as chief since 2001.

“All volunteer fire departments require people that will do what needs to be done,” Luebker says. “If people don’t volunteer, we don’t have the responders to help when needed. I think volunteering is the right thing to do—to do what we can to help our neighbors.”

In his rare spare time, Luebker is a ham radio operator—still connecting with people.

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