PUTNAM COUNTY, TENN. – Life growing up for former Putnam County School System students
Charlie Lack and Jordy Adcock was anything but easy. But through all of life’s challenges, they
find themselves today grateful and giving back to a student walking a similar path as they did.
Since they were five, Charlie and Jordy have been friends, meeting in Kindergarten. Today, they
are in business together and both running small businesses. Charlie runs Blast Away Pressure
Washing and Jordy owns Next Level Construction focusing on gutters and siding. Charlie began
working for Jordy’s company before launching into his power-washing company last year but
still works with him when he can. The two Upperman High School graduates could have never
imagined they would be where they are today without Jesus, the support of their school and
the guidance of Shelia Barker, Social Emotional Wellness Coordinator for the PCSS. Charlie also
remembers the care offered to him by the late Joy Carter, who was the Nurse Clinical director
for PCSS at the time.
“I played sports all the way up until high school. My dad wasn’t involved in my life and mom
struggled with mental health, which left me to take care of the house and myself. I quit sports
and went to work at Dairy Queen to make money to live, have food, etc. I did that till I
graduated,” said Lack. “I have seen a lot of hardships even after high school. I had no guidance
and no one to answer to. It took me down a bad path for a few years, as well as Jordy until I
finally woke up and got my act together. Shelia helped me through counseling and talking about
my problems. It took a while to open up, but eventually, I did. Joy had known me through
sports, and she finally found out or picked up on the fact, I never had a ride home to and from
practice. She took me home a couple of times. But one thing I will always remember is she took
me shopping and bought me $500 worth of clothes because she saw I had the same clothes on
most days. They went beyond their job, and they helped prepare me for the future. I knew the
way I grew up wasn’t normal just by looking at others around me, but Joy and Shelia helped me
overcome that and encouraged me. They helped me tremendously.”
Jordy remembers being apathetic about school and doing what he wanted. He also remembers
the care he received from Shelia and how she intervened to help him take steps to overcome
his deep-rooted struggles.
“I was homeless at around 15 or 16 years old and didn’t care or like school. I was bouncing
house-to-house and landing on couches at my buddies,” said Adcock. “It was around the time
my mom passed that Shelia entered into the picture. I remember feeling care from her and
support through my challenges. I was extremely hard to get stuff out of when we talked, but
she stuck with me.”
Both graduates were given the gift of encouragement and support. Earlier in December, Charlie
ran into Shelia and spoke about his plans to provide Christmas gifts to a child in the school
“When I was in school, I remembered the school supporting me and others around Christmas. I
shared with Shelia that I was finally in a position where I can give back and that I had begun
saving money to provide gifts to another kid that was walking in the same situation that I was in
school,” said Lack.
Shelia received the items from Charlie and delivered the gifts to the student.
“It is amazing to see these two students’ stories come full-circle. Once the receiver of gifts is
now the giver of gifts. They both have overcome so much, and I am proud of them. Their
former teachers and school staff are proud of them. They should be proud of themselves. I am
blessed to be a small part of their story and believe their stories will inspire students who have
walked a similar path to know they can overcome their obstacles too,” said Barker.
Charlie and Jordy share advice and encouragement to students who might be walking through a
challenging home life, letting them know that it starts with opening up and talking about it and
surrounding yourself with the right people.
“I know it’s hard to open up to anyone when you have been hurt by the people who are
supposed to love you the most. It will be hard. But if someone is willing to help you, let them.
Trust them. It took me a while, but I am glad I did because I have found a friend in Shelia even
now. Make sure to surround yourself with the right people. When you are in that situation, you
feel held back or chained down, but you don’t have to stay in that. Meet good people and
expand your train of thought,” said Lack.
Jordy adds, “Don’t give up on yourself or Jesus. Be strong, but let down your pride and allow
people to help you. You will get through it and see everything play out on the other side. I had
several construction jobs and a couple I was fired from. I worked for one guy, and it was there I
realized I wanted to do this on my own. By the grace of God, I am running my own business,
and I am blessed.”
The Putnam County School System continues to educate and train school staff through its team
of counselors, psychologists, social workers, and the social-emotional learning coordinator to
learn how to help, support and guide students, just like Charlie and Jordy.
Photo: Jordy Adcock (left) and Charlie Lack (right) prepping to install siding at a home.