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Kentucky by Heart: Liberty’s Galilean Home Ministries provides home for children of all ages


By Steve Flairty
KyForward columnist

The compassionate work of the Galilean Home Ministries (GHM), based in Liberty, has been nothing short of awe-inspiring since its establishment in 1969 after Jerry and Sandy Tucker, with a childless marriage to that point and living in Michigan, adopted a baby boy with medical needs and who needed a family.

Today, according to its website, the “Galilean Home” is “a 22-acre, multi-faceted, donation-funded, multi-generational ministry that serves the local communities and even worldwide…a place for children of all ages to call home.” Sandy died in 2007, but ask anyone affiliated with the operation and they’ll tell you that her strong influence remains in the spirit she left behind.

Quincy Burt (Photo provided)

I recently sat down with friend and GHM Public Relations/Development Director Quincy Burt to get an update on the work of the organization. (I previously profiled Jerry and Sandy Tucker and their work in my Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes #2 book in 2010.)

We talked about the variety of programs designed to meet specific needs, starting with the place Quincy and I met to talk, the Bread of Life Café, outside Liberty. The popular restaurant serves several purposes, including supplying jobs for GHM residents as well as those in the local community. It’s a place of visibility for GHM, sitting along the busy Highway #127, where locals and those outside the area can stop, get a good meal, browse the gift shop, and learn about the organization’s mission.

Bread of Life draws huge crowds now, but it started out modestly as a place to buy books in downtown Liberty. “Sandy had an idea to have a Christian bookstore in 1993,” said Quincy. “It didn’t go well.” Then she came up with the idea to sell sandwiches at lunch time, and it hopefully would attract customers to come in and buy more books. “Very shortly, the line was out the door. They had to close the bookstore and opened the Bread of Life Café.”

Business at the café was so good that it necessitated acquiring more room, and the business moved to its present location in 2001. The Bread of Life has won industry awards, and it houses the Bread of Life Botique, also successful. As for the restaurant, Quincy called it “not just a good cause, (but) good food and good atmosphere.” Perhaps the biggest benefit, besides bringing revenue for operating GHM, is its publicity presence, so important later to encourage people to give prayer and financial support through gifts.

With a relatively improved economy and improved giving, there has been some improvements done with facilities. We talked about The Blessing House, where those experiencing severe disabilities reside. “There are 22 who live there and we’ve never wanted to say no…‘there’s always room for one more,’” Quincy said. “We’re in the process of trying to expand the building a bit.”

Financial resources for GHM programs, explained Quincy, are not paid for by state government. “People who come here already receiving government support can keep it, but we are supported by you (the public),” he said.

Quincy waxed eloquently about the ministry’s Galilean Christian Academy, a pre-kindergarten to 12th grade school that has more than 80 students. That includes GMH residents attending and those from surrounding communities who choose such a religious education. He sees the high school part of the experience as unique. “There’s no other high school campus like ours in the country,” he said. “On campus, you’re around special needs kids, babies that have incarcerated mothers. . . (and) around all those people who give of themselves on a daily basis. Nowhere else in high school would you learn real-world compassion and tolerance like that.”

Another aspect of the “home” nature of GHM that Quincy talked about is its Born Free program, providing a temporary home for babies with incarcerated mothers and facilitates regular visits with each baby and mother. The outreach is located in the Angel House building on campus, where more than 700 children under the age of two have stayed since the program’s inception in 1991.

Recently things are being done differently, according to Quincy. “The state of Kentucky did an awesome thing last year,” he said. “They passed a bill where pregnant mothers who are going to prison can go to their county jail, do house arrest, or some others options where they don’t have to go to the state prison. Some mothers are going to rehabs, but they still need someone to take care of their babies.” Quincy noted that a lot fewer babies are coming to the Angel House because of the alternative measures, but GHM is reaching out to partner with rehabilitation centers and county jails in the state, giving them the message that “we have a million-dollar building on our campus with round-the-clock volunteers and staff. Let us help you manage some of this.”

Galilean Home founders Jerry and Sandy Tucker (Photo provided)

Quincy works closely with co-founder Jerry, who despite being age 78, is “still very much ‘it’ as far as being in charge,” said Quincy. The two work together on the organization’s monthly newsletter, called “Galilean Home Shepherd,” written in Jerry’s folksy style with frequent references to Sandy and her abiding presence, even in death.

The mission exists to show human compassion by helping vulnerable people, and it’s not too much of a stretch to say that their influence helps many more than the residents at GHM. “We are the fourth largest employer in Casey County, with over 130 employees,” Quincy noted. “But (ironically) we’re better known outside of Kentucky than we are here.”

While noting that country musician Charlie Daniels is a significant financial supporter of the Galilean Home, Quincy emphasized the importance of having a wide base of smaller contributors to continue its success. “It’s the monthly donation of five, ten, or twenty dollars…that’s what keeps us going,” he said. “It comes down to Providence and God has provided for 40 years. Until he tells us to quit, we’re going to keep truckin’.”

For more information, visit the web site or contact Quincy Burt at email quincy@galileanhome.org.

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steve-flairty

Steve Flairty is a teacher, public speaker and an author of six books: a biography of Kentucky Afield host Tim Farmer and five in the Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes series, including a kids’ version. Steve’s “Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes #4,” was released in 2015. Steve is a senior correspondent for Kentucky Monthly, a weekly KyForward and NKyTribune columnist and a member of the Kentucky Humanities Council Speakers Bureau. Contact him at sflairty2001@yahoo.com or visit his Facebook page, “Kentucky in Common: Word Sketches in Tribute.” (Steve’s photo by Connie McDonald)


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One Comment

  1. Anne Adams says:

    Wonderful article. Thank you for sharing this ministry in Casey County that reaches out to all who would join!

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