Type anything to search the archives

Amy Blevins, who teaches at the Rowan County Preschool Center, leads children in her class of 3- to 5-year-olds in a song.

Building a strong family

story by Craig McClure

For some, success is measured by social status, income or possessions.

For Amy and Darren Blevins of Morehead, success is measured by having a strong family.

Whether it is helping clean up a field after a flood or volunteering as a firefighter, their five children – Tyler, 20, Arlie, 17, Brook, 16, Tucker, 12 and Toby, 6 – reflect their parents' success by having strong work ethics and a commitment to helping others.

Amy, a teacher at Rowan County Preschool Center, says she started teaching as a way to "have a schedule that allowed me to be available for my kids." Amy delights in working with the preschoolers, just as she loves the time she spends with her own children.

Her work doesn't end with school. She works with her children to raise a large garden and then to preserve and sell the harvest for extra income.  She also volunteers in the community, doing such things as directing fundraising campaigns for the high schools girls' basketball team and baking banana bread with her children to sell at the Route 377 Volunteer Fire Station's fish fry fundraiser.

Darren, a full time firefighter at Montgomery County Fire and EMS Station 1, says he was raised believing that “everyone plays a role (in the community and the family) and you have to be aware of what goes on.”

The belief that people need to think of others is central to what he learned from his parents. He has tried to instill that in his children. He sets an example at home and in the community by also volunteering as a firefighter at Route 377 Volunteer Fire Station with his oldest son, Tyler, and his brother.

On another occasion he takes the lead in organizing a fish fry and involving the whole family in setting up the space and helping during the event.

By staying true to the values passed on to them through generations of living in the same community, Amy and Darren hope to equip their children with the skills to be successful themselves and create a stronger village for future generations.



Amy hugs Sawyer Stevens, 4. Hugs for her students and her children are an important part of Amy's day.


Amy greets Jonaha Burton, 3, in the entrance to her classroom.


Amy helps Jaycee Mayse, 4, Jase Gilliam, 4, and Jackson Elliott, 5, learn through the use of building blocks and teamwork.


During lunch, Amy pretends to be trying to get the pickle Caroline Robinson, 5, is holding. Caroline plays keep away while Houston Archer, 5, watches.


Amy encourages Emma Gregory, 4, to touch the inside of a pumpkin. Emma is not so sure she likes the texture.


At home, what started out as the regular carving of the Blevins family jack-o-lantern quickly turned into a lively pumpkin project with (from left) Arlie, 17, Brook, 16 , mom Amy, soon-to-be pumpkin model Toby, 6, and family friend Brianna Wallace, 15.


Brook tests the fit of the pumpkin on the head of her brother Toby with Arlie, Amy and Brianna enjoying the show.


After the fit test, Tucker, Arlie, and Amy offer advice while Brook makes changes and cuts a face and Toby happily tries to get pumpkin out of his hair.


Brook helps steady Toby while he proudly models the completed jack-o-lantern.

66 of 79 stories