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May 25, 2012

Finding community in America's Appalachian region

Getty Images photographer, Mario Tama, spent time in and around Owsley County, Kentucky documenting the life and times of some of it's 5,000 residents. The 2010 U.S. Census listed Owsley County as having the lowest median household income in the country outside of Puerto Rico, with 41.5% of residents living below the poverty line. Familial and community bonds run deep, with a populace that shares a collective historical and cultural legacy uncommon in most parts of the country. The community struggles with a lack of jobs due to the decline in coal, tobacco and lumber industries. It's just a glimpse into their lives, but one we wanted to share. -- Paula Nelson (EDITOR'S NOTE: We will not post on Memorial Day, May 28, 2012.) (46 photos total)

Craig and Cora Adams, married nine years, outside their trailer in Owsley County, April 20, 2012, in Booneville, Kentucky. Daniel Boone once camped in the Appalachian mountain hamlet of Owsley County which remains mostly populated by descendants of settlers to this day. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Former chimney sweeper Mose Noble and his nephew Johnny Noble, 9, gather outside Noble's trailer during a visit, April 21, 2012 in Owsley County, Kentucky. Johnny visits his uncle from time to time. Noble no longer works but volunteers cleaning graveyards. His trailer has no electricity or running water but he receives governmental and neighborly assistance. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Johnny Noble sits in his uncle Mose Noble's trailer, that lacks electricity and running water, April 21, 2012 in Owsley County, Kentucky. Johnny visits the trailer from time to time. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Volunteers help restore the Noble Pioneer Museum which contains artifacts of local Appalachian pioneer life, April 21, 2012 in Booneville, Kentucky. The site contains original pioneer cabins and is currently closed but volunteers hope they will be able to re-open it soon. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

An abandoned building, April 19, 2012 in Owsley County, Kentucky. The 2010 U.S. Census listed Owsley County as having the lowest median household income in the country outside of Puerto Rico, with 41.5% of residents living below the poverty line. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Owsley County Outreach Center director, Cleda Turner, chats with a resident in front of a school bus used for donated supplies, April 16, 2012 in Booneville, Kentucky. Turner was born and raised in the county. The center provides services to the underpriveleged in the county including backpacks filled with easily prepared meals for school children who were found to go without meals over weekends. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

An old sign downtown, April 22, 2012 in Booneville, Kentucky. Though familial and community bonds run deep (with a populace that shares a collective historical and cultural legacy uncommon in most parts of the country), the community of around 5,000 struggles with a lack of jobs due to the decline in coal, tobacco and lumber industries. The residents also struggle with health issues, including drug addiction, without effective treatment. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Paul Neace, 72, sits in his home in Owsley County, April 20, 2012 in Booneville, Kentucky. The 2010 U.S. Census listed Owsley County as having the lowest median household income in the country outside of Puerto Rico, with 41.5% of residents living below the poverty line. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Mechanic Chucky Oliver welds a pipe at his auto repair shop in Owsley County, April 19, 2012 in Booneville, Kentucky. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Mechanic Chucky Oliver jokes with a client at his shop in Owsley County, April 19, 2012 in Booneville, Kentucky. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

James Moore plays the guitar as Robert Go sings while revelers hug at Joe's Meat Market #2 in Owsley County, April 20, 2012 in Booneville, Kentucky. Daniel Boone once camped in the Appalachian mountain hamlet of Owsley County which remains mostly populated by descendants of settlers to this day. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Former chimney sweeper, Mose Noble, in his trailer, that lacks electricity and running water, April 21, 2012 in Owsley County, Kentucky. Noble no longer works but volunteers cleaning graveyards and receives governmental and neighborly assistance. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Former chimney sweeper Mose Noble's kitchen in Owsley County, April 21, 2012 in Booneville, Kentucky. Noble is no longer employed but does volunteer cleaning graveyards from time to time. His trailer has no electricity or running water. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Mose Noble and Lowell Morris sit while taking a break from cleaning a cemetery in Owsley County, April 16, 2012 in Booneville, Kentucky. Morris' grandfather killed Noble's grandfather during a time in Appalachia when blood family feuds still existed. The county contains hundreds of centuries-old graveyards. Morris is paid $8 per hour to do the work while Noble volunteers. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

An old grave in historic Cortland Cemetery, April 17, 2012 in Owsley County, Kentucky. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Parishioners gather as Sugar Camp Baptist Church pastor Tim Charlton preaches in Owsley County, April 22, 2012 in Booneville, Kentucky. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Sugar Camp Baptist Church pastor Tim Charlton preaches in Owsley County, April 22, 2012 in Booneville, Kentucky. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Cora McIntosh displays a cross she knitted, April 20, 2012 in Booneville, Kentucky. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

A mural downtown in Owsley County, April 19, 2012 in Booneville, Kentucky. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Family members Ronnie Duff, Love Faith Duff, Jacob Lucas and Hope Lucas gather on the porch in Owsley County, April 20, 2012 in Booneville, Kentucky. Familial and community bonds run deep, with a populace that shares a collective historical and cultural legacy uncommon in most parts of the country. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Patrons relax in a restaurant, April 22, 2012 in Booneville, Kentucky. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

An old photograph on the wall of a restaurant in Owsley County, April 22, 2012 in Booneville, Kentucky. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

A man loads scrap wood available for free to residents in Owsley County, April 17, 2012 in Lerose, Kentucky. The scrap wood is donated by a local log-yard. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Barber Gary Mays chats with retired butcher Jesse Johnson in Mays' barber shop in Owsley County, April 20, 2012 in Booneville, Kentucky. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Owsley County Outreach Center director, Cleda Turner, carries food to be delivered from her thrift store to children as part of the center's Food Backpack Program, April 19, 2012 in Booneville, Kentucky. The program delivers backpacks filled with easily prepared meals for underpriveleged school children who were found to go without meals over weekends in the county. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Baby Jacob Lucas rests inside a thrift store in Owsley County, April 19, 2012 in Booneville, Kentucky. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Owsley County Outreach Center workers carry food to be delivered to children as part of the center's Food Backpack Program, April 19, 2012 in Booneville, Kentucky. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

The American flag waves at the Owsley County Saddle Club trail ride, April 20, 2012 in Booneville, Kentucky. The trail ride attracts riders from outside the county who contribute much needed revenue. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Riders prepare to depart after a break at a gas station during the Owsley County Saddle Club trail ride, April 21, 2012 in Booneville, Kentucky. The trail ride attracts riders from outside the county who contribute much needed revenue. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Riders pass an abandoned car during the Owsley County Saddle Club trail ride, April 20, 2012 in Booneville, Kentucky. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Horse riders gather at dusk at the Owsley County Saddle Club trail ride, April 20, 2012 in Booneville, Kentucky. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

People gather around a fire at the Owsley County Saddle Club trail ride, April 19, 2012. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Owsley County Saddle Club board members Larry Campbell and Ricky Marshall man the entrance gate at the Owsley County Saddle Club trail ride, April 19, 2012. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Drucilla Smith has her hair done as she prepares for the Owsley County High School prom in her home with sister Linda Hall, Layla Johnson and mother Bonnie Smith, April 21, 2012 in Booneville, Kentucky. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Drucilla Smith has her makeup done as her family helps her get ready for the Owsley County High School prom in her home, April 21, 2012 . (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Smith's sisters continue the process to ready Drucilla for her high school prom, April 21, 2012. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Final prom preparations are made by Drucilla Smith in her home with her sister Jennifer Johnson, April 21, 2012. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Brittany Brewer has final adjustments made to her gown as she prepares for the Owsley County High School prom near a wood-burning stove in the home where she lives with her grandmother, April 21, 2012. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Brittany Brewer poses in the home where she lives with her grandmother, April 21, 2012. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Coty Shouse and Destiny Duff gather as Destiny's father Ronnie Duff passes a baby to be photographed, prior to attending the Owsley County High School prom, April 21, 2012. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Coty Shouse and Destiny Duff pose in front of the vehicle they will take to prom, April 21, 2012 . (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Courtney Dean and Josh Sebastian pose outside the Owsley County High School prom, April 21, 2012. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Married students Starr Lewis, Travis Lewis and daughter Ariel Lewis, 3 weeks, attend the Owsley County High School prom, April 21, 2012 . (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

The Taylor family waits to attend the start of the Owsley County High School prom, April 21, 2012 . (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Students wait outside to enter the Owsley County High School prom, April 21, 2012. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Students enter the Owsley County High School Prom as family and community members watch from the bleachers, April 21, 2012. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #



 
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