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Times honors Blankenship with award



Each year since 1973 as a part of the annual Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce awards banquet, The Southwest Times recognizes an individual in the community that has made a noticeable impact on the lives of people in Pulaski County. This year that award was presented to Joe Blankenship for his many efforts to make our hometown a better place.

Joe Blankenship is a Pulaski County native and a graduate of Pulaski County High School. He and his wife Kelly have committed their lives to helping tend to the needs of the youth and adults of our community.

After graduating from high school, Blankenship joined the United States Navy. After returning home and beginning a family, he became active in church, eventually becoming the Youth Director at the Pulaski Church of God. He earned his license through the Church of God.

In 2006, Blankenship started the Rock Youth Center at the Central Youth Center in Pulaski, also known as Central Gym. That program strives to provide nutritional, physical, economic and spiritual assistance to underserved youth in the area.

The Rock Youth Center operates an afterschool program that provides special events for Pulaski Middle School students and Rock Youth Center participants on a regular basis. During the summer months, Blankenship also oversees a six-week youth camp in a partnership with Pulaski County and Central Youth Center, providing meals and activities for young people.

He has served as a volunteer coach for football, basketball and baseball for Pulaski County Recreation League teams and served as a football coach at Pulaski Middle School for several years. He is regularly seen at youth athletic contests, encouraging and cheering on many of his young friends.

But Joe Blankenship has also taken his ministry to new levels outside of serving young people.

He purchased the former Share warehouse on Dora Highway and developed it into the “Dream Center.” That center serves as a collection and distribution point that supplies food and other supplies to several hundred families each month.

While all of those programs are public and well-known, other programs are used to privately meet the needs of people.

One of his more ambitious programs, which is still in the planning phase, hopes to bring portions of the Atlanta based City of Refuge to Pulaski County. The goal is to provide more training, assistance and support for people who have dealt with hard times and life-changing experiences.

Joe Blankenship, along with his wife, Kathy, continue to reside in Pulaski County and make it a better place.



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