MADISON – At the beginning of this year, popular Van educator and coach Eddie Hendricks was named president of the Boone County Commission.
Hendricks is currently serving in his fifth year as a county commissioner.
“It’s been an unbelievable experience,” he said. “I have been a part of many new infrastructure projects, both big and small, and gone through trying times, like the Derecho storm and this recent chemical spill that caused a water crisis in Boone County.”
In the past few weeks, Hendricks was found handing out water to those in need and coordinating efforts to get bottled water distributed throughout the county.
“This water crisis has been frustrating for all of us,” he said. “But what I love about this county and these communities are that as Boone Countians we know how to come together during the most difficult times. We check in on elderly neighbors. We make sure our friends and family are safe. We embrace and help each other in the tough moments.”
Hendricks grew up in Coopertown on Big Coal and graduated from Sherman High School in 1976. He attended college at Glenville and taught for nine years at Madison Middle School.
“In 1989, I had a chance to take a coaching and teaching position at Van and I took it,” he said.
Hendricks has lived in Quinland, in the Van area, for more than half his life now. During Van High School’s graduation, each senior usually gives Hendricks a big hug and many tears are shed.
“In a small town community, you see these kids grown up right before your eyes,” he explained. “You get to know them and now I am teaching some of their children. They have always been good to me here and I really appreciate it.”
Ironically, he now serves on the commission with his former high school football coach Mickey Brown.
“He was a major influence in my life,” Hendricks said of Brown. “I have never wanted to disappoint him.”
Brown said Hendricks never has disappointed him.
“He is just a natural born leader,” Brown said of Hendricks. “He has always been the kind of person that wants to help others and puts the needs of others ahead of his own. He treats people the way they want to be treated and the way he would want to be treated. He is a very capable leader and one of the best people I have ever had the pleasure to work with.”
Hendricks said his love of children and his community are the reasons he loves being an educator, coach and county commissioner.
“I want to do as much as I possibly can for everyone,” he said. “I am a parent now and I treat the kids as if they were my own.”
Hendricks has filed for re-election in the upcoming 2014 election.
“There is just so much more I want to accomplish,” he said. “Working with commissioners Mickey Brown and Atholl Halstead has been an honor and I think we have done many good things. About 96 to 97 percent of the county now has public water and we continue to work on other water project as well. Getting good, clean water to everyone has always been a priority for me.”
Hendricks says even during tough times and the reduction of coal severance money, the county continues to assist many worthwhile and valuable projects across Boone County.
“We have helped lots of people and we never want to say no, but with the loss of funding the county is facing with a reduction in coal severance money we sometimes have to make tough choices,” he said. “We try to make the best choices and I have been proud of the choices we have made.”
Hendricks says sometimes the public has the misconception that the county has an unlimited amount of money.
“I wish that were true,” he said. “But the reality is that due to drop in coal severance funding to the county, we actually have less money.”
Hendricks says he wants to continue what he started when he first got elected to the commission.
“Being on the county commission was another way that felt like I could really help others,” he said. “That’s what I want to continue to do. Boone County is my home. It has been good to me and I want to do as much as I can for them.”