The "Heart" of a Community

By Adam Black

The Ashland Beacon

It’s said the impact of a good teacher can never be measured, but in Greenup County, the impact of two great teachers is being seen in a big way.

Jessica (Gullett) Miller has been a teacher at Greysbranch Elementary School for 14 years, and her mother Jackie Felty is a retired Greenup County teacher. When news broke last week that Miller was in need of a heart and kidney transplant the community response was enormous.

“Once we found out that Jessica was going to need a heart and kidney transplant, we knew we needed to help our friend,” Greysbranch Elementary Principal, Misty Tackett said.

Miller is a survivor of pediatric cancer. The treatments that saved her life as a child, also damaged her organs, necessitating the transplants.

It seems everyone has either had one of the women as a teacher or worked with them, and people are eager to help out in any way they can.

Miller’s only request was for prayers, and the community was happy to oblige. Fellow teachers donated sick days to cover the time Miller would spend waiting for donor organs and recovering, but community members wanted to do more.

“Jennifer Trippett, our school nurse and Stephanie Chapman, our FRYSC Assistant, approached me with the idea to hold a benefit to help raise funds to help with the hospital costs,” Tackett said. “They quickly began preparations and recruiting help to make this event happen.”

The staff of Greysbranch Elementary School began planning a spaghetti dinner to benefit Miller, and the offers to help came pouring in.  Co-workers, community members and the many students and families that have been impacted by Miller and Felty over the years all reached out to help. 

“The outpouring of love and support that we have seen for Jessica has been absolutely touching,” Tackett said. “Jessica has spent her life taking care of everyone else and now the community wants to help take care of her.”

The spaghetti dinner and auction will have items donated from across the community and country, including UK tickets, furniture and gift baskets to name only a few.

“We have people contributing, donating, and calling to support even from Florida,” Jennifer Trippett, co-organizer of the benefit said. “The outpouring of love and support for such an amazing teacher is a testament to the wonderful person she is!”
“Jessica and Jackie are incredibly loved, and we are all just tripping over ourselves to help in any way we can,” co-worker and friend Anna Potter said.
Prayers were answered Sunday when Miller was matched with a donor for both her heart and Kidney.

While Miller and Felty’s impact can’t be measured, the love shown is a reflection of the lives these celebrated educators have touched. With her new heart and kidney and enduring spirit, Miller is sure to continue impacting the children of Greenup County for years to come.
The auction and spaghetti dinner is scheduled for Friday at 5 p.m. at Greysbranch Elementary. Greenup County students are also encouraged to wear purple (Miller’s favorite color) Friday to show support for the teacher.