SOMERSET — Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, Inc., announced that Regina Johnson has joined its board of directors. She will volunteer her time and expertise to direct PRIDE, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the environment in 42 counties of southern and eastern Kentucky.
Born and raised in Harlan, Johnson is currently employed at Union College as a Grants Specialist. She lives in Corbin with her husband, Homer Johnson.
“We are pleased to welcome Gina to the board of directors,” said Tammie Wilson, PRIDE president/chief executive officer.
“Gina has been extremely successful in helping schools and communities secure the grant funds they needed to meet their goals, and that experience matches perfectly with the PRIDE mission to support schools and communities in their environmental education and cleanup activities,” Wilson said.
“Gina actually has been involved with PRIDE for nearly 20 years by helping schools and nonprofit organizations apply for our education grants,” Wilson added.
Through those PRIDE grants, “Thousands of students, teachers and community members have benefited and participated in fun and educational practices for protecting the environment, such as education in a greenhouse, exploring animal habitat, water studies and creating a monarch butterfly habitat,” Johnson explained.
Johnson also has a passion for improving water quality, another top priority for PRIDE.
“By serving on the Black Mountain Utility District in Harlan County, I have seen improvements in water quality for thousands of residents throughout the county,” Johnson said. “For years, some residents carried or had to purchase drinking water. Often, if residents had a water supply they lacked water pressure to carry out daily household chores. Today, through new technologies, consistent monitoring of water lines and water pressure monitoring ensures communities with adequate water supply.
“Through PRIDE initiatives, communities are cleaner, better educated on the need to protect the environment, and have cleaner drinking water, which has enhanced the tourism industry in our region,” Johnson said.
Johnson has worked in public education for nearly 25 years, holding such positions as Community Education Director, Service Learning Trainer and Grant Writer. She has sought and received more than $25 million in grant money for communities and school districts to support a wide variety of activities, such as reading, math, art, service, technology, school renovations and school building projects, as well as the school resources officers for both Harlan and Bell County School Districts. Johnson has served on numerous boards and councils, including her appointment by Gov. Steve Beshear to serve on the State Advisory Council for Community Education. Johnson has received several local and state recognitions for her community and educational successes.
The PRIDE Board of Directors meets monthly to establish guidelines for PRIDE programs and approve the organization’s budget. Ten board members are volunteers who bring particular expertise to fulfilling the PRIDE mission. One staff member, the President/chief executive officer, also serves on the board.
PRIDE, which stands for “Personal Responsibility In a Desirable Environment,” was founded in 1997 by Congressman Hal Rogers (KY-5) and the late James Bickford, who was the Kentucky Secretary for Natural Resources and Environmental Protection. The PRIDE mission is to contribute to the economic and cultural growth of southern and eastern Kentucky by improving water quality, cleaning up solid waste problems and advancing environmental education, in order to improve living conditions for its residents while enhancing the potential for tourism industry growth in the region.
To learn more about PRIDE, look for Eastern Kentucky PRIDE on Facebook or visit www.kypride.org.