A local man known for helping anywhere he can in the community was recognized by the Family Resource Youth Services Coalition of Kentucky for the Bridges Over Barriers Award.
Locally, Paul Montgomery, a member of the Salyersville City Council member, and active member of the Salyersville Masonic Lodge, is known for his fundraising abilities and networking, bringing much-needed resources to the community. Over the summer he spearheaded the fan drive, securing hundreds of fans for students and seniors in the community.
Shoe drives, coat drives, food pantry work, buying bicycles for students with perfect attendance, helping start the local Special Olympics chapter and annually organizing a special needs party are just a few of the things Montgomery has had a hand in just in the last couple years, alone, building a name in the community that people trust and bringing more resources to one of the poorest counties in the state.
Devon Allen, the FRYSC director at South Magoffin Elementary, explained, “Our job as youth and resource centers is to meet and identify any kind of barrier kids may have trying to get a good education. In doing that, we run into all kinds of barriers, basic, social, economic, and educational, and we must meet those barriers we have to try to find a way around them. Our FRYSC Coalition provides an award every year for Bridges Over Barriers and this year we were lucky enough to have somebody worthy to be nominated in our county and we were pleased and honored to do so,” announcing that Montgomery had been named for the statewide award.
“In Magoffin, we all know we are a small county with very limited resources, and we’re always going to all these different counties and getting to hear about the resources they have,” Allen said. “We don’t have that, but what we do have is a sense of community.”
Allen explained that, while bigger counties may have large corporations offering donations for tax breaks, Magoffin has individuals and small, community-based organizations that help secure donations when there is a need, noting that the most outstanding individual that has helped the community time and time again is Paul Montgomery.
“It doesn’t matter what we need,” Allen said. “If we call, he just says, ‘you all let me know what you need and I’ll take care of it.’ He’s so well known and trusted in the area that he can say, ‘hey, I know of a need,’ and they know it will go where it’s needed.”
Magoffin County Schools Superintendent Scott Helton said Montgomery has always been known to lend a hand, even if he hadn’t been asked.
“Over the last 20-some years I’ve been involved as a school administrator, Paul is one of those gentlemen anytime you call him he comes and sometimes he just volunteers. As far as individuals that have had a greater impact, he’s one of the top in the area,” Helton said. “He’s an exceptional person.”
While Montgomery was not comfortable with all of the attention, he said, “I’m very much appreciative of it. I do it from the heart and I don’t do it for the recognition, but I appreciate what the girls done to make this happen.”
The Bridge Over Barriers Award is usually awarded each year at the annual FRYSC convention, but this year it was awarded virtually due to the pandemic.