With their love for children and desire to help the program, a local company has taken the charge to become the headline sponsor for the annual “Pull for Kids,” an annual benefit held to raise money for the Monroe County Backpack program.
When Steve and Lesley Harris, of Precision Engineering, decided they wanted to choose a local cause to support, their company decided to sponsor the annual event and their own portion, the non-sanctioned portion of the pull. “We are doing all the marketing and we are sponsoring the prize money so everything goes to the kids,” Lesley noted. “On top of that, most guys donate their prize money back so its even more money for the program.”
This will be the first pull sanctioned by the KOTPA and that should help pull in more trucks, with an expected 70 to 80.
The event will take place at the fairgrounds on Oct. 6, at 7 p.m. Until that time, Lesley is doing all she can to get the word out, to make the pull bigger and better than ever.
“I want to do billboards, hand out flyers at sporting events, do a radio show — just anything I can to advertise this wonderful event.”
This is just the start she states, adding that she hopes to add to the event each year making it better than ever while helping the youth of Monroe County.
The Back Pack Program is currently in all Monroe County schools with volunteers from the high school helping to deliver food bags to over 180 students. The purpose of the program is to help students have food for the weekend and holidays, when school is not in session.
The food is purchased through Feeding America in Elizabethtown and is delivered already in bags for volunteers to dispense.
Program coordinator Carolyn Emmert, explains “Students can not learn when they are hungry. I have heard the thoughts of some who say ‘well their families get all the help from the government’ and yes, they do, but can that student help what the parents or guardian does with it? I think not.
“I pray that if I have learned anything in the last few years of my life, it is that we may not reach all the children so they know someone cares, but maybe we will reach a few who say someone cares, I can learn and I can have a good life,” she added.
It costs $120 to feed one student for the entire school year. In order to raise these funds, the program relies on the support of the community as well as local businesses and fundraisers. Four years ago, the annual “Pull to Feed the Kids” was begun to help bridge the financial gap left after local donations.
Precision Engineering, located on Columbia Avenue in Tompkinsville, (at the old Extension office) is a locally-based company which located here in 2014.
Steve Harris, the principal engineer, is proud of projects his company has completed over the past four years to help this community and to benefit the public. His company’s principals are rooted deeply in faith, honesty, integrity, courtesy and hard work.
Harris, brought these principals along with him in mind of his new company when he relocated to Monroe County in 2013, from Knott County, Kentucky.
Harris explained how he ended up in Tompkinsville because of the economy.
After graduating from The University of Kentucky in 2004, he was doing a lot of mining permits and as the climate changed he migrated toward Monroe County, where more opportunities awaited him.
One of those opportunities, he pointed out, included meeting his now wife, the former Lesley Hale, who serves as his office manager.
The couple now work together at Precision, along with what Harris describes as an excellent team of really good people, all now of Monroe County.
The team includes Thom Kendall, Jason Hagan, Damian Whitaker, Ethan King, Trey Baston, John Barnett, and Matt Dillon.
Harris not only bragged on his team, but expressed his love of small-town life,
“I know the feeling of having to leave to find a job. If we at Precision can keep kids here that would be great,” he added.
He continued on “I have met a lot of people here who truly care about the town. To name a few, and I may be overlooking a few who were influential in bringing Precision to this point including Amy Thompson, Scotty Turner, Steve Hagan, Bob Greer, Bart Rowland, Joe Finley, Marty Milam, Darren Cleary, Andy Bushong, Mitchell Page…” He trailed off continuing, “They really love T-ville and want to give back and they have inspired me to as well.”
He laughs and says Tompkinsville is a “big town” next to where he grew up, a rural mining town in the Southeastern part of the state. His family worked in the coal fields and mines and he grew up poor, as did most of the families in the area. Unfortunately, the economy has only worsened with the industry shrinking.
Harris, with several awards and certifications to his name, prefers not to mention too much and is very humble in stating, “I wanted to get behind this program — it meant a lot to me because I know what it means to kids. 100% of the proceeds go to the kids. Coming from where I did I can relate to a child needing some assistance here and there.”
“I actually met Carolyn in 2015, when she came in asking for donations. This was the first I had heard of it,” he continued.
“The easiest way to explain it, and I am not being negative, but we get approached all the time asking for donations to athletics. That’s extra. From my background, asking for a football jersey is a luxury. Some kids need more just for mere survival.”
He continued saying, “I believe there are kids who don’t have anyone or at least who feel that they don’t and those kids are brushed aside. I feel this is a way I can help. I can’t fix it but I can help.”
Harris wants to be a positive influence and an example in the lives of local youth both through his business practices and personal life. You have a choice, It is not who your parents are or what they have done but who YOU are and what you want. You can overcome and be what you want. I just want to pass that on.”
Harris’s firm provides residential and commercial site design, project management and inspection, permitting, boundary surveys, engineering and development, permitting and inspection, geotechnical services, soil testing and special inspections.
They have worked closely with the City of Tompkinsville on many projects, with the most current one to begin in the coming weeks — the sewer line extension to Carter Elementary.
With all of this in mind, and talking to Emmert as well as Dallas Carnahan (who heads up the truck pull), Harris said all of their visions, “just kind of lined up together.”
Lesley laughed, stating, “We don’t really know anything about pulls but we thought this was the best way we could help the kids. When we came up with the idea to sponsor, everyone here at Precision was for it. It is not just the company name. When we do something, we all do it, wives, kids, family. We are a family company.”
Lesley has three children of her own: Sable, 20 who attends Lindsey Wilson College; Ty, 14, a freshman at Monroe County High School and Oakley, 3. She laughs saying “we love kids and we always have extra around. They are very excited as well.”
For more information on the pull, contact Dallas Carnahan at 270-427-0792 or to for more information or to donate to the program contact Carolyn Emmert at 270-427-6876.