Last week, we honored longtime Board Chair John Pearce with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his dedication to ASP.  Read Walter’s speech below and learn about John’s history with ASP, beginning as a summer staffer in 1979.

“At other awards ceremonies you’ve seen, the lifetime achievement award is given out to one special person to recognize longevity and dedicated service to a cause. And ASP has not given out too many of these. To be specific, there are only 6 of these awards in existence, 4 of whom were given to members of Tex Evans’ families when we established this award several years ago, and two others were given out at our 50 year anniversary celebration to longtime supporters and former ASP staffers who helped shape what ASP’s ministry is today – Jim Robinson and Brian Rosecrance, both who are in attendance tonight. 

This award honors individuals who have been an integral part of ASP’s leadership over the years, helping with crucial decision making, raising needed funds, promoting ASP in personal and professional circles: those who serve as tireless champions for ASP’s ministry day in and day out. Their professional and volunteer service to Appalachia Service Project spans decades, and this Lifetime Achievement Award honors this commitment with the highest form of recognition ASP awards. And tonight, there is no one person more deserving of this award than John Pearce. 

Here are some facts to the best of everyone’s recollection – about our Lifetime Achievement Award honoree:

  • 1977 – John volunteered with his youth group from Signal Crest UMC as a graduated senior in Barbourville, Kentucky.
  • 1978 – John and John Maynard were invited to be a part of a two-week set-up time for ASP in Stanton.
  • 1979 – John joined ASP’s summer staff in Pippa Passes, Kentucky, and John Maynard drove the supply truck.
  • 1980 – John was the Center Director in Pippa Passes, KY.
  • 1981 – John was a Center Director in Wolfe County. This was also when he first met his future wife Lori, who joined the summer staff.
  • 1983 – After graduating from college and working as an accountant, John became the president of an insulation company. He married Lori in the fall of 1983 and moved to Nashville joining Belmont United Methodist Church. He led youth and adult groups with that church for many years.
  • 1986 – John joined ASP’s Board of Directors.
  • 1999 –  John became the first non-clergy Board Chair, following Reverend Tex Evans, Reverend Jim Robinson, and  Reverend Stewart Gulley.

John has been the Chair of ASP’s board for 26 years and continues to volunteer as a group leader and part of the New Home Build program. All of the Pearce children have been ASP volunteers as well.

John and Lori have also supported ASP financially by introducing their friends to ASP and advocating on our behalf. John has seen a number of executive directors come and go through the years and will outlive one more as I retire next year.

John and I have had many wonderful times and have faced challenges together that ASP has encountered.  He has always put ASP first and given me the support I have needed. I have seen him laugh and cry all in the same moment, and we all have smiled at his gruff Board chair exterior at times that belies the tender heart that hides underneath. No one person has had more influence on the direction and culture of ASP than John Pearce. We love him because he cares and is willing to do the hard thing. He isn’t just our Board chair, he is our ASP brother and friend. Thank you for your faithfulness and dedication to this ministry. 

It is my great pleasure to present the 2023 ASP Lifetime Achievement Award to John Pearce.”

Walter Crouch, ASP President and CEO