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NewsMaker 2020: Alecia Webb-Edgington took a path rich with experiences to her perfect place at LLC

By Judy Clabes
NKyTribune editor

Once upon a time — yes, this a fable-level story with lots of life lessons and a happy ending — a slip of a girl named Alecia was enjoying her growing up years in the little Kentucky town of Brownsville, population not yet near 900. She was the only child of the Postmaster and a school teacher.

The family had multiple businesses and lived on a farm, because it wasn’t so easy to make a good living in Brownsville, so Alecia Webb had the advantage of many experiences around work. Starting as a child she helped put mail in the Post office slots, later she worked in the town lending library and helped on the farm. She learned the value of hard work and self-respect.

She eventually became the first woman deputy sheriff in her home county, Edmonson, and subsequently attended the State Police Academy when the height restriction was relaxed — the lesson here being: take opportunities as they present themselves.

It was as a rookie trooper that she was assigned to NKY and ended up taking “two DUIs” to the Kenton County jail where she called for help to make the breathalizer work. Enter Ted Edgington, who had just booked his own bad actors — an unruly prostitute and a tattoo-covered illustrated man. She did notice that he was “really, really handsome” but it took Fate to intervene. About a year later Alecia and Ted worked together. She was an undercover narcotics agent and he was keen on getting drugs off the streets of Covington. This will be a pivotal scene in the movie that must surely be made about Alecia’s life. She knows when to say yes to a good thing.

Along the way, Alecia was Senior Police Advisor at the U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, Director of Law Enforcement Operations at Louisville-based Appriss, Inc. and had a remarkable 15-year career with the Kentucky State Police, retiring as a Major and Chief Information Officer in the Technical Services Division. She served four years in the Kentucky General Assembly as an elected State Representative for the 63rd District and prior to that, she was Executive Director of the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security under then-Governor Ernie Fletcher.

And when she was least expecting it, she was offered the job of a lifetime and became president of the innovative Life Learning Center in Covington.

Justice Keller and Alecia at a nonprofit celebration

“Whoever thought I would be working for a nonprofit — and love it,” she says.

But truly, this is the job Alecia Webb-Eddington has been preparing for all her life.

It’s for her incredible work with the incredible Life Learning Center, where lives are transformed and futures can be discovered, that the NKyTribune is honoring Alecia with its NewsMaker Award.

“Alecia has been a strong leader as President of Life Learning Center and I am honored to serve on the Board, but most importantly, I am honored to be her friend,” said Supreme Court Justice Michelle Keller. “Those who know Alecia know that she is “all in” on everything she does. She excels at making and building relationships and that particular skill has enabled the LLC to reach new heights, further expanding the vision of founder, Bill Butler.

“Alecia’s entire life has been about service, whether it be as a state trooper, in government security, elected office, and now, non-profit. She has accomplished all of this while being an excellent mother to Jill and wife to Ted. Alecia lives her life with such great energy and focus, especially in her community service, and she is more than deserving of being named a NewsMaker honoree.”

Alecia puts all her well-earned skills and her innate good judgment to best use as she has moved the singularly unique Life Learning Center to next-levels. The center delivers a holistic, integrated continuum of learning and care to help ‘at-risk’ citizens to reach their highest potential.

But the at-risk people — addicts, some referred by the court — come to the Center never having realized they have potential. That’s where Alecia and her dedicated team come in.

Kenton County Prosecutor Rob Sanders and Alecia

“We turn on the light bulb,” she says.”It gives me cold chills to know — with our proven 12-week intensive program — we can give people a chance to get their life back.”

She says she isn’t fond of saying “second chance” because sometimes it just takes more chances than that.

“We give them an opportunity to train and learn — and an opportunity to get a job and be a productive member of society,” she says. She knows it’s working when she hears, “I never thought I could” get a job, get my kids back, stay sober. . .

The program is built around five pillars of life: Emotional, Financial, Physical, Spiritual and Relational.

Most of the clients “haven’t ever learned how to live life,” she says, describing herself as a law-and-order person with a good helping of compassion. “As a narcotics officer, I saw unbelievable things. It made me look at people differently, to see that mistakes can be made but they are still just people.

“We can’t arrest ourselves out of the situation we’re in,” she says. “But our ‘One Stop Shop’ can offer transformational change — and a long-term solution.”

As a collaborator, she is skilled at getting people to come together. She has worked with Kenton County Prosecutor Robert Sanders, Jailer Terry Carl, and Kenton County Judges in an effort to reduce the population in the jails. It started with overcrowding and concern over COVID and addressed the issue of non-violent offenders. The objective was to get them into a program, keep them out of the criminal justice system, and help them find a productive life. As a result, the jail population has been reduced by half.

This year LLC has received 654 referrals; 261 started the 12-week program and 151 have graduated and moved to stable employment.

Alecia and Dr. Fernando Figueroa, president of Gateway Community & Technical College

Working with 182 employer partners and 150 volunteers, the LLC staff — Alecia and 12 others — are building the local economy one transformed worker at a time.

Clients must be 18, pass a drug test, and read at 7th-grade level. When they need a GED or skilled training, a range of nonprofit providers step up. Everyone gets a coach and counseling. Space is provided for meetings with probation officers. LLC offers a gym, cafeteria, and computer lab. And there’s a Dignity Store where purchases can be made with the Dignity Dollar incentive program, rewards for meeting goals and doing good work. There are pathways to Northern Kentucky University, Thomas More University and Gateway Community & Technical College. No stone is left unturned.

LLC takes a holistic approach with clients and offers a continuum of education and care that can transform individuals and help them find their passion.

“There is no program in the country like Life Learning Center’s,” Alecia says. “We are going to keep experimenting, keep improving, and continue to make a difference. We are hoping to replicate it elsewhere.”

Alecia has always been able to see a future, if not necessarily the future. She is full of hope, committed to hard work as central to success, driven by relationships and relationship-building, and aiming to make a difference.

Her happily-ever-after is a work in progress, on the right track. She and that ‘handsome guy’ Ted live in Covington and relish the adventures in Washington, D.C, of their daughter Jill, 25, who is making her mark internationally from her job with the State Department.

Perhaps the sequel has already been set in motion.

NewsMaker 2020

The NKyTribune’s “NewsMaker 2020” awards program has gone virtual this year, due to the pandemic. Please keep yourself safe and healthy and wear your masks. We have celebrated our five terrific award winners with a feature story a day honoring their success.

• See NewsMaker Catrena Bowman-Thomas’s story here.

• See NewsMaker Brent Cooper’s story here

• See NewsMaker Bob Hoffer’s story here.

• See NewsMaker Ashish Vaidya’s story here.

Our annual fundraiser for the nonprofit NKyTribune depends on sponsorships, virtual ticket sales and a silent auction which has now ended. We will in touch with the successful bidders. Our thanks to all who participated.You can still support the Tribune’s annual NewsMaker event by clicking this box. Your donation will be matched by NEWSMATCH:

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