On September 21st, Alice Lloyd College held the twenty-second annual Alumna and Alumnus of the Year banquet in the historical Cushing Hall. The banquet recognized two Alumni for their exemplification of the core values of the Purpose Road Philosophy. Mabel Childers (Class of 1954) and Dr. Clenon Turner (Class of 1961) gathered with family and friends to celebrate their lives of service.
Mabel Isaacs Childers grew up on Dry Creek in Knott County and is the daughter of Virnus and Mae Salyers Isaacs. At a young age, Mabel’s father stressed the importance of an education and instilled in her a passion for learning. When she was twelve, her parents transferred her attendance from a one-room schoolhouse to the Caney Creek Community Center where she learned under the guidance of Alice Lloyd and June Buchanan. Mabel graduated from high school at the age of sixteen and then she enrolled in Caney Junior College. She spoke of her time at college by saying, “My life at Caney Junior College helped me survive many obstacles I had to overcome. I always remembered that Mrs. Lloyd told my dad that ‘Mabel is a leader.’” She worked under Dr. June Buchanan for her work-study which is also where she first met her future husband, Sidney Childers. The year after she graduated, 1955, they married and the young couple moved to Ohio where Mabel taught and also pursued a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky.
In 1960, Mabel received her Bachelor’s degree and then went on to earn a Master’s in Education from Miami University in 1970. She completed advanced coursework toward a Ph.D. in School Administration, but instead of preparing a dissertation she took a job that she found rewarding and challenging – an elementary school principal. For thirty years, Mabel served in various educational positions such as a classroom teacher, reading facilitator, and high school intervention specialist. She has also served on numerous boards that promote education and she has received numerous awards and recognitions such as Kentucky Colonel, Director of Outcomes for IDEA Program, and Teacher Corp Presenter of the Year.
Mabel and Sid were active in their community but also enjoyed to travel the world. Unfortunately, Sid passed away in 2016. The Childers’ have always been dedicated alumni, and upon Sid’s passing Mabel established the Sidney and Mabel Isaacs Childers Endowed Scholarship to honor his memory and continue assisting Appalachian students for years to come. Mabel feels that Caney Junior College impacted her life beyond measure; giving credit to Alice Lloyd, June Buchanan, and the College for preparing her for a life of service and leadership.
Dr. Clenon Turner grew up in Knott County and is the son of Eacle and Eliza Hicks Turner. He attended Maytown High School and then he went on to Caney Junior College. At the College, he worked in the Chemistry and Physics Lab and also tutored students in math. He said on the education he received, “I didn’t realize I received a good education until I got to the University of Kentucky.” He graduated from Caney Junior College in 1961, and he continued his studies at the University of Kentucky where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education in 1965. Dr. Turner received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1976.
For several years, he served as Senior Laboratory Technician in Research for the University of Kentucky’s Department of Community Medicine where he did research in tuberculosis, histoplasmosis, and blastomycosis. During this time, Dr. Turner was also involved in the development of the tuberculosis tine test. His studies in these areas led to opportunities to author and co-author several publications as well as presenting numerous scientific articles to both local and national audiences. He has been published in the AVMA Journal of Veterinary Research and the Auburn Veterinarian. Dr. Turner has served in many positions such as becoming a partner at Pewee Valley Veterinary Center in Oldham County, Kentucky, where his primary concentration was cattle. In this position, he established the first Dairy Herd Health Program and was the first veterinarian in the practice area to perform a surgical procedure to replace a left displaced abomasum in a cow.
He retired in 2007, but during his thirty-one-year career, Dr. Turner received several prestigious awards and recognitions such as being a Lifetime Honor Roll member of the American VMA. He believes that the unique community and educational opportunities he experienced while a student on Caney Creek greatly impacted his development of self-assurance, leadership skills, and willingness to serve. He is a faithful ambassador for Alice Lloyd College and encourages students to believe that they can accomplish an education and reach their dreams regardless of their circumstances. Clenon and his wife, Diana, have shared forty-five wonderful year together. They are blessed with four children: Syphenia, David, Kymberly, and Fran; eight grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
Mary Childers and Dr. Clenon Turner were honored with a certificate of appreciation and given a commemorative rocking chair that was presented by ALC President Joe Stepp. For over one hundred years, Alice Lloyd College has brought people together from different backgrounds to work towards a common goal of serving others in the Appalachian Region. The annual Alumna and Alumnus of the Year Banquet is one of the many opportunities ALC uses to honor the countless graduates who apply this legacy of service to every aspect of their lives.