2013 Extreme Build Recipient: Shawna Barnett

By Josh Speight

KBF visited McCreary County last week for our final site visit before the build.  Sharon Davis and her daughter Lilly, KBF Intern Phillip Davis, and I had lunch at local favorite The Diary Bar with Shawna during our visit.  During our lunch with Shawna, we learned more about this 20-year-old's inspirational story that is filled with courage and resilience. Shawna and her husband Malachi married early in life right after high school and soon gave birth to their son Easton.  While raising their family, they have both worked and gone to school to advance their careers and ability to make a better life in McCreary County.  Shawna began taking classes at the University of the the Cumberlands in Williamsburg for nursing. She commuted 3-4 days a week, often with little sleep as a new mom who also worked hard to study.  


On the morning of September 14, 2011, Shawna was commuting to class when she fell asleep at the wheel while driving on Kentucky 92.  Her car crossed the center white line, colliding virtually head-on with a commercial refrigeration truck. Shawna was airlifted to a Tennessee hospital with life-threatening injuries which included multiple broken bones, head trauma, and lacerations. She spent more than two weeks in the hospital before she was able to be downgraded to rehab and recovery care.  

Shawna's Ford Focus on Kentucky 92 on September 14, 2011

Shawna's Ford Focus on Kentucky 92 on September 14, 2011

Shawna, 18 at the time of the accident, has spent the better part of the past year and a half recovering from her injuries.  Her broken leg did not recover as well as doctors initially had hoped and eventually required a bone marrow transplant from her own hip to stimulate the growth in her injured bone. According to Shawna, the pain was awful until she had this marrow transplant.  

Despite this significant trauma in her life, she and Malachi have stayed faithful to their goals of loving one another and making a strong life for their family. Shawna kept up with school during her healing by attending the community college in McCreary County. She is planning to work in pediatric nursing and hopes that her experience with trauma can be a source of hope and healing for others along the way.  

Shawna, Malachi and Easton embody the "Miracle" of our "Miracle of Partnerships" tag we use with Extreme Build.  Shawna realizes that it is a miracle of healthcare and service providers that she is alive and walking today after her accident. After our lunch, the four of us who traveled to McCreary were impressed by the gentle spirit and beautiful life that Shawna presents. Her smile is contagious and her courage is inspiring. KBF is proud to come alongside her and her family to support them as the achieve one of their goals of becoming homeowners and we look forward to what the future has in store for them.