HOMETOWN HERO: Tina Dial, Taylor Co. High School Teacher

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. (WBKO) -- Four years ago, a math teacher at Taylor County High wanted to help her students, while teaching them an important lesson during the season of giving.

"She just wants to give back," said Courtney Wooldridge, a math teacher at the high school, and friend and colleague of Tina Dial.

Tina Dial has seen a lot of students over her 22 years of teaching.

"So many students are needy in a lot of ways. They need attention. They need parents to put down the phone and look at them sometimes. And they need adults in their corner," she said. "They need someone to tell them about these things -- about giving to others and caring for others, and making the world a better place."

A way to do that, she figured, was to create a way for any student to be able to spread the joy of giving during the holidays.

She assembled a Christmas store for kids ran entirely on donations.

"It has gotten bigger. This year I had almost 400 gifts that were donated -- totally donated mostly from our staff," Dial said.

Other fellow teachers also jumped in from day one.

"She just got it all together, rounded up the troops and said, 'Okay, this is what we're doing,'" said Candace Gilpin, a special ed teacher at Taylor County High.

"She sees so many students that come in our doors that don't have what others have. And so she just, I don't know -- she just always looks for a way to give back, and to try to help, and so it's easy to tag along with someone like that," said Wooldridge.

The joy on those kids' faces meant everything to the teachers.

"We're just excited for them to take a full-fledged present home to give somebody," Dial said.

Her Christmas spirit goes far beyond the holiday season.

"She's one of my best friends. I'm blessed to get to work with her; she's a wonderful woman," said Wooldridge.

"I hope I teach them a whole lot more than geometry on a day-to-day basis and that we're not here for ourselves and it takes all of us together," said Dial.

For her heart to give back and inspire the next generation of adults, and for helping lead her colleagues and friends on a Christmas mission that goes beyond a typical math lesson, we honor Tina Dial as this week's Hughes and Coleman Hometown Hero.

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