30 Faces from Clinch-Powell's 30 Years

River Place on the Clinch has become the face of the Kyles Ford community, one of our region’s best kept secrets. A beautiful community located alongside the Clinch River in Hancock County, it is rich with natural beauty. But the real treasure is the people, and the Kyles Ford residents have shared a remarkable relationship with Clinch-Powell for many years.

Some people walk through life so well that they leave legacies rather than footprints. Herman Smith, a founding member of the Clinch-Powell RC&D Board of Directors, was just such a person. He served from 1989 until 2006, representing Union County. Herman served in such a way that inspired his granddaughter Kira to follow in his steps.

Frances Rasnic served as Chair of the Clinch-Powell Enterprise Community, a special ten-year federal designation for parts of Grainger, Claiborne, Hancock, Hawkins and Union counties from 1999-2009. Clinch-Powell RC&D worked with Frances and community leaders to lead the strategic planning process for the winning application to USDA Rural Development and also served as the fiscal agent. The EC designation was the catalyst for more than $195 million of large and small new investments into the region which have had major impacts on our communities today.

Heidi has a heart for people and her community. She is a longtime employee of the Jubilee Project in Sneedville, TN where she takes seriously the agency’s mission of helping the people of Hancock County to meet their spiritual, economic, social and physical needs. Jubilee has partnered with Clinch-Powell on many projects, and Heidi often makes referrals to Clinch-Powell for families she works with. So when Heidi had a need of her own, Clinch-Powell was more than happy to step in and help.

Gary Donahew was contracted to work on some construction projects in Hancock Co. in 2006. He didn’t think it would be any different than any other job he had worked on, but 12 years and scores of building and repair projects later, he is still with us. He was hired as the primary general contractor in February of 2007.

Clinch-Powell has had the opportunity to work with many wonderful businesses, groups and organizations from all over the United States, but one of our most valuable relationships is homegrown right here in Grainger County where our office is located. George Shirley is the president of Citizens Bank and Trust of Grainger County, a trusted partner since we opened our first bank account with them in the beginning stages of our organization.

Not many organizations (that are not schools) can say they touched the lives of more than 36,000 students through conservation education, but Clinch-Powell did just that over 20 years of our Water Wizards, Conservation Camp and Envirothon curriculums. Thirty years later, adults tell us they remember the experiences they had with our hands on learning days. We call that a win!

Bill Kittrell is one of our earliest partners. He headed the Clinch Valley office for The Nature Conservancy (TNC) from 1991 until 2003. The Nature Conservancy in an environmental non-profit organization founded in 1951 with the goal of creating a world where people and nature can thrive together. Today they are a global organizatuion working in 70 countires.

Daniel Horne has served with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) for 13 years, the first three as a soil conservationist, and the last 11 as the district conservationist over Hancock and Hawkins Counties. NRCS provides technical and other support to farmers and private landowners and managers who wish to improve, protect and conserve natural resources on their lands.

The Bulls Gap Railroad Museum Association (BGRM) is a nonprofit organization whose primary mission is the preserve railroad history for future generations. But this association is more than just a building, more than just a group of people with a common interest in trains. They are a completely volunteer organization that supports the local community in many ways. The BGRM manages the railroad museum, educates and preserves the rich history of the railroad in Bulls Gap, hosts open bluegrass music nights, and provides housing at Gilley's Annex Apartments.

Elizabeth Moore isn’t always the first face you see when you walk in the door at River Place on the Clinch, but the little café wouldn’t be the same without her. Moore has been the primary cook at River Place since its opening in 2007. Born and raised in Appalachia, Moore knows what good country cooking is, and most of the authentic Appalachian recipes the eatery is known for are recipes she has personally used for years. This authenticity is one of many things that makes River Place on the Clinch a very special place.

Trenna Brown manages Clinch-Powell’s Appalachia CARES program, which places more than 100 AmeriCorps members with community based organizations each year. Trenna has been in this role for almost 20 years, but before she stepped in to the program director position, she was an AmeriCorps member herself, with a great passion for service and experiential education.

Steve Roark has served on Clinch-Powell’s Board of Directors for 10 years, but he has been partnering with us since our early days. In 1989 Clinch-Powell developed an annual conservation education program called Conservation Camp which ran for more than 20 years. The program educated 6th grade students in East Tennessee about the importance of protecting natural resources. The success of this endeavor was contributed largely to the volunteer efforts of professionals from various aspects of natural resource conservation fields.

Candy Barbee began her long relationship with Clinch-Powell in 2001 when she was hired as an assistant working with the Enterprise Community, a 10 year federal designation that allowed Clinch-Powell to pour millions of new investment dollars into the region focusing on economic development, infrastructure, housing, basic needs and tourism, but one of her most notable and lasting projects with us the Appalachian Quilt Trail (AQT).

Appalachia CARES AmeriCorps alum, Kayla Carter, is the Outdoor Development Manager at Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership. After serving, she wanted to make this experience available to others, while helping to grow and develop a new organization doing great things in her community.

Jim King became the President of Fahe in 2000 after working with the organization since its beginning in 1990. Fahe and Clinch-Powell have a special relationship dating back to 2009 when Clinch-Powell officially joined the Fahe Network after hearing about the great work they were doing in rural communities. Fahe’s mission to eliminate persistent poverty in Appalachia fits well with our mission to build strong communities. Their collaborative model supports their motto “strength in numbers”.

Clinch-Powell’s Appalachia CARES program has been partnering with Tennessee State Parks since 2013 to place more than 160 AmeriCorps members across the state. Nancy Dorman, Program Services Manager in the Division of Interpretive Programs and Education, has been our go-to contact at the state level, and has been a tremendous asset to maintaining and strengthening this partnership.

Dave is Clinch-Powell’s longest serving Board member, providing twenty-six years of dedicated service. He began his service in September of 1993 after being appointed as the “At Large” member by then County Mayor Mickey Hammer. At that time, under the Resource Conservation and Development Council designation, county mayors were required to sit on the board and appoint some selected members.

The Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) has partnered with us since we first began working in affordable housing in 2002. THDA plays a very important role in many of the housing services we provide. As the pass-through agency for a number of federal and state grants, they have assisted us in bringing critical funds and services to the communities we serve.

Joe Woody is an active partner with Clinch-Powell in his role as Knoxville Area Director for Rural Development, but his ties to Clinch-Powell go well back to the 1990s, and he was instrumental in aiding Clinch-Powell’s application to become an Enterprise Community. Our current partnership with Joe and the rest of the Rural Development staff allows us to provide invaluable services to the community, including affordable lending for mortgages, home repairs, and small businesses.

Susan Eribarne is Clinch-Powell’s Counseling and Client Development Manager. She has been with Clinch-Powell since 2008 when she began serving as an Appalachia CARES AmeriCorps member, and became a full time staff member in 2010. She is considered by her peers to be one of the most knowledgeable foreclosure counselors in the state.

Volunteer Tennessee Executive Director, Jim Snell, has been serving the communities of Tennessee in official capacity for more than 20 years. After serving as an AmeriCorps member in Tennessee’s inaugural class in 1994, Jim went on to lead an AmeriCorps program in Nashville. A couple years later, he took a position as staff with Volunteer Tennessee, the state agency with the mission of encouraging volunteerism and service.

Cherry is the current Chairperson for our Board of Directors. Cherry has actively served on the Board for the last twenty years following a long career in insurance sales. Described by the Executive Director as “our Champion and the best kind of Chairperson an organization could ask for,” Cherry is not afraid to get her hands dirty and regularly volunteers her time to a wide array of Clinch-Powell projects.

In October of 2018 Rosa and her family were living with extended family while she was attending school to become a certified medical coder. Rosa really wanted to move her family into a home of their own, but she wasn’t sure if she could afford it or where to start. She received some information from Clinch-Powell at a Douglas Cherokee Headstart Parent Fair and decided to call. One phone call and her journey to homeownership began!

Growing up on a farm in Claiborne County, Ronald Lambert had always heard that you couldn’t be both a farmer and a conservationist, but he was determined to find a way. Pursuing his goal, he first encountered Clinch-Powell as a volunteer at youth Conservation Camp. After volunteering for a couple years, he started part time with Clinch-Powell in the summer of 1996, which led to a full time Conservation Technician position through a partnership between CP and The Nature Conservancy later that year.

Ashley Hux began her journey at Central Services as an Appalachia CARES AmeriCorps member in 2014. Already equipped with a passion for service and an educational background in social work, she applied for the AmeriCorps position to build on her skill set with hands on experience in the field. After serving two years, she was hired full time by Central Services in 2016, and just last year she took the reigns as Executive Director after longtime leader Barbara Simmons retired.

Kevin Brown was Tennessee's USDA NRCS State Conservationist from 2007 to 2018. He has always been one of Clinch-Powell's biggest supporters, and helped nurture a meaningful and lasting relationship between Clinch-Powell and the Natural Resource Conservation Service.

Deb and Roy Anderson became our first ever Home Able program participants in April of 2017. After paying almost 40% of their low disability income in housing costs while renting an old mobile home that was dilapidated and unsafe to live in, they now pay only 27% of their total monthly for a home that is safe, energy efficient, and best of all, their very own.

Lindy Turner has been with Clinch-Powell RC&D since its beginning in 1989. With a degree in agriculture from Tennessee Technological University, she became one of the first women to hold a leadership position in the Tennessee State Department of Agriculture. Lindy initially coordinated the operations of the organization as an employee of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, later becoming Executive Director in 2011 after retiring from NRCS with 30 years of service.