Ruby Gayheart wouldn’t be living the good life she has now if it hadn’t been for the help of her friends. She considers Hazard Community and Technical College and its leaders, faculty and staff some of her great friends. Friends help each other out in a time of need, and that’s just what HCTC did for her.
After graduating from HCTC, earning a bachelor’s degree, and with a master’s degree from Lindsey Wilson College under her belt and she is enjoying her dream job as a therapist at Mountain Comprehensive Care Center. She moved into a new home with her partner, Marlena, and her three children in October, thanks to the help of the Housing Development Alliance.
She earned an associate in arts degree in May 2018; she attended HCTC fall 2013 through fall 2017.
In 2013, Ruby lived in the Corner Haven Homeless Shelter because she was a recovering drug addict. The drugs had destroyed her life in so many ways, with having no place to live just one of the effects.
She credits graduating from Drug Court in 2015 in helping her. “It taught me about structure,” she said.
Imagine her delight the day she moved from the Homeless Shelter into an apartment in downtown Hazard. She was enrolled at HCTC and things were looking brighter. But then a Sept. 1, 2015, fire at that building destroyed all of her possessions, including her car.
She was still recovering from her addiction and now she had to recover from losing her home. That is when HCTC stepped in, replacing her books and her computer so she could remain in school. “I felt the love and support and that kept me clean too,” she said of the HCTC support.
She credits the First Presbyterian Church in Hazard for helping her in having a place to live while she was in school. “I used to not see good people in the world. I was deceived. I know now if I need help now, I would get it.”
Being a non-traditional students made Ruby afraid to enroll at HCTC. As a 1991 Cordia High School graduate, it had been a long time since she had opened books. “I could not use a computer; I struggled with math,” she said. “But the professors were patient with me,” she noted. She felt so at ease with the faculty and staff members, she let them know she was in recovery. “I felt comfortable. You feel like you have family when you can share that; in fact, I felt led to share with them what I had been through,” she said.
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