By Ryan Clark
CHS Communications Director
This week, the UK DPT Hazard Class of 2023 participated in their PT Day of Service project building safe recreational trails for the community at the Perry County Park. Students worked with Ben Braman of the Pathfinders of Perry County Kentucky, a non-profit organization that promotes community engagement, recreation, and education for Perry County.
“We helped Ben Braman that day who runs the Pathfinders of Perry County,” said Becky Wang, Physical Therapist Student in the Class of 2023-Hazard Campus. “It was an eye-opening experience because I don't think the majority of us realized that people like Ben are constantly laboring to not only keep those trails safe, but to even allow them to exist!”
Wang said the group of 16 was thankful because the tasks would have normally taken days. But by combining their efforts, they were able to finish in hours.
“Small, individual actions have a large impact,” she said. “Giving back is such an important idea to add to our studies because it reinforces a sense of purpose and gratitude for everyone involved.”
“It was some hard work and took a lot of physical endurance, but, by the end of our work, it felt great to see the progress we made on the trails,” said Seth Hagan, Physical Therapist Student in the Class of 2023-Hazard Campus. “Before we started working, the trails were rugged and bumpy, but we were able smooth them out and make them suitable for walking or bike riding.”
Wang said Pathfinders creates opportunities that engage younger teens in the community who have not always been surrounded by the same support systems or influences that many in the PT program have been fortunate to have.
“Throughout our time in Hazard, we have been exposed to many of the challenges that rural Kentucky and its community faces,” she said. “There are some wonderfully motivated people working towards reform, but it is definitely not easy. So being able to contribute to community growth in any way felt like a meaningful way for us to get connected and support Perry County.”