We at LAHC first met Mr. Messer as principal at the Dewitt Elementary School on KY 223 on the Stinking Creek Road. It was a small school which grew considerably in the late 1960’s when the one-room schools on Stinking Creek were consolidated into Dewitt. Mr. Messer hosted all the teachers in our area to form the Stinking Creek Association. We met for several years until the consolidation. Mr. Messer was very helpful to us by allowing the children to ride the bus up to the Center two or three times each week for 4-H. He also worked with Peggy on the dental program. He worked with the teachers to allow children to go to the free dental program that Peggy had worked out with dentists in Barbourville. We furnished the transportation and the needed support since many of the children had never been to a dentist.
Mr. Messer later served on our advisory Home Health Agency program during two decades. We supported the school programs including the PTA program. He also worked with our health screening programs.
I don’t remember just how or when we started sharing farming programs like in the early days. He had the hay and corn equipment and we had the extra tractor and labor. I would go early in the afternoon and rake the hay into windrows in preparation for him to bale when he got out of school. Soon I was driving my tractor up the many areas of Stinking Creek—Big Creek, Middle Fork, Road Fork and many hollows. I was teased as “Have rake, will travel.” I even caused a chuckle by raking the wrong field. It was fun to watch the twinkle in his eye as he watched my inexperienced volunteers running about picking up bales to stack on the truck to haul to be stacked into the barn. Likewise, he would pick the corn with his corn picker for us to unload into various places. We had several good years working together without counting the hours or the cost.
This was an excellent example of the opportunity to live our name—lend a hand and give others a chance to lend us a hand.