Appalachian Connection teams up with Amazon Smile

amazon_and_AppConnIf you are an Amazon shopper, two small steps will allow you to continue shopping at Amazon and benefit our scholarship at the same time.

  1. Go to and designate us as your charity.
  2. Do all your shopping from and we will receive some of the proceeds.

Remember, you must use the URL whenever shopping at Amazon for us to receive the benefit. Thank you and happy shopping!

The Appalachian Connection Story

You may have already read our Mission Statement or Our History. For those of you interested, here’s a bit more personal info on how Appalachian Connection began.

What started out as an idea floating around all of our heads independently, came to fruition a couple of years back during a trip to Jenny Wiley State Park. John and Pat, who first met as classmates at the Air Force Academy, spent an afternoon in the state park, hanging out with one another’s family and catching up on old times. Pat, who is from Huntington, West Virginia, had just purchased a business that has a branch office in Hazard- Service Pump & Supply.

John began telling Pat about an idea he had been thinking of for some time. “I knew one day I would start some sort of a foundation to support a cause I believed in and hoped it would make a difference,” John said. “As time passed, my idea of a foundation transformed to a scholarship. By the time I sat down with Pat, I knew that I wanted to start a $10,000 scholarship for the students of Appalachia. I didn’t really know how to make this happen but felt that Pat could help and it would help him get further plugged into the Hazard community.” Pat’s response was clear. He was in.

John then reached out to his childhood friends, George and Trigg, to see if they would like to be involved. They had both been thinking of similar ideas. When John called they each jumped at the opportunity. “It was perfect timing,” said George. “We all know what the downturn in coal industry has done to the economy back home, and I had been actively thinking about ways I could help. So many people helped me when I was a student growing up in Appalachia and I felt this urge to give back.”

John reached out to his cousin Tammy, a Hazard resident, photographer, and graphic designer. She also came on board and the wheels were officially in motion.

Trigg, an attorney in Lexington, prepared the organizational documents. Tammy created our logo and image. John filed the application for 501(c)(3) status so that we would be recognized as a fully tax-exempt charitable organization by the IRS.

Logo_brown+green_stacked_w-tagMax Mitchell, a life-long resident of Hazard and Executive Vice-President of 1st Trust Bank, joined soon after and serves the important role of Treasurer of Appalachian Connection.

Tammy suddenly, and very sadly, passed away not long after the project began. Our logo, which represents the fusion of the mountains and the Air Force Academy’s lightning bolts, will forever be a tribute in her honor.

So that’s the story. We are just getting started but with our determination, and a little help, we feel we can build something that can have an important impact on Appalachia. As John said, “We hope one day kids from Hazard to Huntington will be attending college on our scholarship.”

Appalachian Connection awards its inaugural $10,000 scholarship


Lauren Little, with the Appalachian Connection board. (from left) Max Mitchell, Lauren Little, John Cornett, George Fitz, Patrick Farrell, and Trigg Mitchell.

Appalachian Connection is pleased to announce the recipient of its inaugural scholarship. Ms. Lauren Little, a recent graduate of Hazard High School was awarded the scholarship on April 22, 2016 at a ceremony at her school. Ms. Little will receive a grant in the amount of $10,000 to be used towards her higher education. She plans to continue her studies at Alice Lloyd College in the Fall.

“With so many impressive applicants, it was an incredibly difficult decision,” said John Cornett, President of Appalachian Connection.”We felt Lauren fit our mission of finding young people who will work hard throughout their lives to be a positive force in the Appalachian region.”

Besides an impressive academic resume, Ms. Little has had many leadership roles such as Class of 2016 President, Treasurer and founding member of the HHS theater department, Co-editor of the yearbook, and Co-Captain of the Varsity Soccer team. She has also been active in the community choir, Girl Scouts of America, Pathfinders of Perry County, Little Theater of Hazard, and HYPSCL rec-league soccer.

Lauren Little

Lauren Little

“When I heard I had won this scholarship I was overwhelmed and could not believe what I was hearing,” Ms. Little said. “It has been such a great help to me and my family. Now that I have graduated, I am attending Alice Lloyd College and have been accepted into the Honors Program. Receiving this scholarship allows me to pay for my room and board, while following a Pre-Med track.”

Appalachian Connection was established in November 2015. Its mission is to ease the financial burden of higher education for deserving students in Appalachian schools. Appalachian Connection is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization that provides scholarships to four year colleges. The scholarships have a value of $10,000 ($2,500 per year) and are awarded to applicants who demonstrate academic achievement, impact in the community, and a desire to utilize their education to help further our Appalachian region.

Congratulations to Lauren.