Well on their Way in the Bluegrass State
By Jonathan Pearson on Tuesday, August 17th, 2010
The upcoming 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps took center stage Monday night as members of the Kentucky RPCVs got together for a potluck/planning session at the home of group President John-Mark Hack, who along with his wife Carol Devine, served as volunteers in Costa Rica’s Integrated Community Development Program from 1992 to 94.
“I didn’t know how many people would come,” said Carol, who noted she continued to receive RSVPs up to a half-hour before the gathering. More than twenty members of the Kentucky Peace Corps community (including one RPCV who drove two hours to get there) were in attendance.
“For a Monday night, it was a great turnout,” added John-Mark, who said the attendees will serve as a core organizing group for 50th anniversary activities over the next eighteen months.
Along with receiving an overview on some of the key dates for national and international activities, group member Kay Roberts outlined local initiatives that are in the works. The Kentucky RPCVs already reserved display space for next February through April at the Lexington public library, where they will feature local Peace Corps volunteers from each of the five decades of service. They are working on plans to have the display travel to other parts of the state.
Next year will also see the publication of a book highlighting Kentucky voices over the fifty years of Peace Corps service. Events around the launch of the book are being planned.
With strong ties to the University of Kentucky, there are also plans to reach out to Resident Assistants at UK dormitories, to include Peace Corps presentations as part of the programming RA’s are required to organize. Articles featuring RPCVs at the university through the global newsletter of the Office of International Affairs are also anticipated. And, with Louisville liaison Jessica Koehler attending Monday night, and a follow up meeting planned for Friday, the building blocks of statewide connections are growing.
As this enjoyable evening came to a close, John and Carol added two more actions as part of their personal plan to bring the world back home. They plan to invite everyone back next March 1st, and host one of hundreds of birthday parties being planned to mark the day when President Kennedy signed the executive order creating the Peace Corps.
This October, they also plan a return to their country of service with their children (ages 16, 15 and 12). John-Mark and Carol try to return once every five years to maintain the connections that began nearly twenty years ago. “This year we’re going to find a service project we can do with our kids while we are there,” said John-Mark, who plans to contact his friend who is Director of International Programs at the University of Costa Rica for assistance.
The legacy of service rolls on.
Our road trip continues! Follow this link to see where we’re headed next.