PeADD recognizes regional attendees at their 55th annual dinner

At the Pennyrile Area Development District’s (PeADD) 55th annual dinner on Monday, attendees were recognized for their work promoting economic development, PeADD staff presented their annual report and an Owensboro man shared his journey as a bilateral amputee.

Members of PeADD’s Board of Directors were recognized for their work and membership and the John C. Mahre Regionalism Award was presented to Gale Cherry and the late Mike Cherry for their contributions to the region.

Mahre was a Hopkinsville native who was an accomplished architect and served many roles in the community such as chairman of the Christian County Chamber of Commerce, president of the Hopkinsville Rotary Club and the West Kentucky Chamber Alliance and served on several boards including the PeADD Board of Directors. PeADD’s annual regionalism award was named in his honor in 2021, Mahre later passed away in July 2022.

The award was presented by Caldwell County Judge Executive William Young, and he talked about the accomplishments of the recipients. Gale Cherry is a former Mayor of Princeton and PeADD board member. Young says her work kicked off a renaissance in Caldwell County.

 Mike Cherry was a retired Navy captain and following his service he was elected as Kentucky’s District Four Representative for Caldwell, Crittenden, Livingston and part of McCracken Counties. Mike Cherry passed away in February 2024.

Gale Cherry was in attendance to accept the award for herself and on behalf of her husband Mike Cherry.

Along with recognizing the Cherry’s, the incoming and outgoing PeADD board members were recognized by Elkton Mayor Arthur Green. New members include, Tara Roscoe of Christian County, Dan Wood of Crittenden County and Michael Smith of Todd County. The outgoing members include Scott Marshall of Todd County, Nikki Durham of Christian County and Roger Simpson of Crittenden County. 

PeADD Executive Director, Jason Vincent shared the board’s annual report which spotlighted the Pennyrile Area Agency on Aging for its 50 years of service. Vincent says the agency’s longevity is a testament to the its commitment to those in the region.

To conclude the evening, Jason Koger, an Owensboro man, shared his journey following an accident in 2008 that resulted in both of his arms being amputated. Koger shared that in 2008 he was riding an ATV on a familiar route on his family’s farm when he ran into a downed powerline taking 7,200 volts of electricity.

Following the accident, he was transported to a hospital in Owensboro and from there he was life flighted to a Nashville hospital due to the severity of his injuries. In Nashville doctors had to amputate both of his arms and Koger shared that his doctors said the inside of his arms looked as if a shotgun had gone off.

 Koger would go on to be the first bilateral upper arm amputee in the world to be fitted with two bionic hands. Following his accident Koger became a motivation speaker, published author, played a role in the TV show “Hawaii 5-0,” become a representative for the prosthetic company Össur and much more.

If he could go back in time, Koger says he would not change any of the events that brought him to where he is today. Through his accident, Koger says he was given a mission to help fellow amputees.

More about Koger’s story can be found at his website