We have been supporting residents of McDowell County for several years. As we continue to bring food and supplies, we also want to help the community tell its story to the world. This could help the county find long-term solutions to its problems. That’s why this year, we interviewed several influential people in the area.
We met Jack Fultz (84), who had moved to McDowell from Kentucky 22 years ago and founded School For Life. Jack started this nonprofit organization in a 65,000-square-foot building. Amazingly, he got a deal to pay only $100 for this property.
Jack and Marjie turned an abandoned high school into a place where kids could play, learn new skills, and receive love and reassurance. Jack’s mission is to help people who have fallen on hard times, including the homeless, who often find refuge at this building. Many of those now live successful lives.
I'm going to tell you about one girl. She stood on a street corner every day for ten years. Mrs. Marjie took her in and made her go to a nursing school, and now she has her apartment and car, and she is raising her child.Jack
This brilliant man also inspires all Appalachians to be active and creative members of their communities. That’s his way of helping McDowell County recover from the economic downturn.
Many of our people think that coal mines are the only thing to work with. And one of the things we would like to do is to change that.Jack
I was intrigued to learn more about his motives and life story. It turned out to be quite fascinating and inspiring. After working in manufacturing as a young man, Jack created his own furniture business in Tennessee. At 34, he entered a land development project and became a successful salesman.
Then, the story took an unexpected turn; Jack said he became deeply involved in drugs. In his attempts to get clean, he joined a church, which helped, but he ultimately wished for more. He got drawn to the path of Jesus, so he started a prison ministry and volunteer work.
Twenty-two years ago, he found his way to Gary in McDowell County, where he has since found a sense of peace and purpose.
Jack’s energy impressed me. He has the enthusiasm of someone much younger, at 84 years old. I felt inspired by his presence. All the time of the interview, he talked about the possibilities with eagerness. His next project is to build rustic furniture from the mountains and export it. He’s looking for help with that endeavor.
I'd like to work with young entrepreneurs from the area in creating small businesses. (...) Small manufacturing can be done anywhere, and that's what this county needs. We need industry other than coal.Jack
Jack has enjoyed the mountains more than ever lately. He is gradually leaving his work with the children to his assistant, Marjie. You can learn more about this incredible woman in the following article.
When I asked Jack about the key to success in Life, he told me these words of wisdom:
Motivation is the key to Life; You got to want to. If you do, you are human; you can do anything. So don't give up! (...) You will have to plugin to your motivation to get new information on how to make changes in your Life.Jack