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05/15/12 11:45 AM #10    


Marcia Wilson (Hermann)


April 8, 2012

Another wonderful accomplishment by a '75 Classmate...... Jim Anderson

Seeing the other side

‘I Saw God’ details account of 1970 accident and near death experience

ASHLAND — Jim Anderson’s intent on writing the book “I Saw God” didn’t start out as anything more than a family project.

But as he delved more and more into it, it became a book that is a “factual account” of a full-blown miracle and a rare after-life experience.

“My motivation to write it was so a miracle wouldn’t be lost in time,” he said. “The principle players were getting older. I started doing some research and it more or less wrote itself. As it grew, it became a bigger and bigger story.”

“I Saw God” is an account of what happened to Anderson’s younger brother who, in 1970, was injured in an accident on Monroe Street in Ashland. Billy Anderson, only 5 at the time, was riding his tricycle near home when he and Jimmy (the author) were struck by a car. Little Billy’s head was crushed by the front bumper of the speeding car and he died three times prior to emergency surgery. He was left in a vegetative coma after large portions of his damaged brain were removed, Anderson wrote.

Given no hope, Billy somehow survived, but he also caught a glimpse of heaven and returned with a message that Jesus is coming back, Anderson writes.

“Life after death stories have been a great interest to me since I was 12 years old and it happened to my brother,” the author said. “Anytime there was a book like that, I’d buy it. There is a market for it; people have an appetite for it. The problem is, most people who have an episode like this, the experience isn’t long enough or extensive enough for it to be a book. It’s 10 or 12 pages, at the most. Very few experiences stretch to a full book.”

But Anderson, through countless interviews with family members, neighbors, authorities and others involved during the days of the accident, found enough information for a nearly 200-page book. It was released on Tuesday through Seraphina Press.

“This is a 42-year followup on the original story,” Anderson said. “I did some real research.”

He went through newspaper records and even hospital records in Huntington where his brother was taken. Anderson searched for an x-ray of his brother’s skull but “it was nowhere to be found.”

“When I sat down to write this story I did not sit down to write a Christian or religious book,” he said. “This is word for word of what happened. I didn’t embellish it any, although it was tempting. I kept it absolutely factual. It turned out to be what it turned out to be, which was a religious or Christian book.”

Just 13 days after the accident, Billy told his parents about his encounter with Jesus in heaven.

“The doctors fixed my head, but God made me well. I saw God … and Jesus is coming,” he told his parents at the time.

However, following his recovery, Billy lost all recollection of his visits to heaven, making him wonder about his near-death experience. But 40 years after the accident, in a dramatic session with a clinical psychologist, the memories of his out-of-body encounters, including a conversation with Jesus, were returned, Anderson said.

“It can reach a lot of people on a lot of levels,” Anderson said. “It’s not only a near-death experience but also a book that has the element of a supernatural healing. Not only a near-death experience of a mortally injured child who should have died, but remained alive, but how he was miraculously healed in an undeniable way.”

Jim Anderson includes the police report from the accident, interviews with doctors and nurses, the psychologist and an extensive question-and-answer chapter with Billy Anderson, who lives in Worthington, about the experience. He also interviewed his mother, Dorothy Anderson, who he dedicated the book.

“My dad (Jim) died in ’83. I wish he was here. I didn’t get his perspective,” the author said. “If she (his mother) had not been here, the book couldn’t have been written.”

Here’s how Anderson summed up the project: “I would say the book is to show the reality of spiritual things, the reality of heaven,” he said. “That the afterlife is exactly as the Bible tells it, that God is still in the miracle-working business. Miracles aren’t restricted to Bible times. It happens nowadays and still does. The story is to demonstrate that heaven is real, just like that other book said.”

“Heaven is for Real” held the No. 1 spot on the New York Times bestseller list for weeks.

Anderson’s book, “I Saw God,” did well in presales on, he said. It’s also available on Anderson’s website, The cost is $16.95.

The author said he’s already been approached by some who are interesting in producing a script to pitch to some Hollywood moviemakers.

“They approached me,” he said. “I told them we can talk about that later. Let’s see how it does in the public arena first.”

05/27/12 08:53 AM #11    


Marcia Wilson (Hermann)

Congratulations Tammy on opening of your new business!


Tamara Belville is excited to be providing a variety of services at the recently opened U Wellness Spa at Kyova Mall in Cannonsburg, offering organic products for help with problem skin, as well as doing facials, facial toning, microderm abrasion, airbrush makeup, airbrush tanning and waxing.

Tamara, as she is known professionally, said she gets a personal reward from helping teens and adults who are dealing with acne trouble. Her treatments are non-medical, she explained, and rely upon organic ingredients for excellent results. Her skin-care clients include pageant contestants and even one person who drives from Louisville just to work with her.

Tamara, inside U Wellness Spa, is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day except Tuesday and Sunday.

07/29/12 08:38 PM #12    


Marcia Wilson (Hermann)

Please keep Tom Cantrell and his family in your thoughts and prayers...Alexis is his granddaughter.


July 29, 2012

Fair buyers rally to help girl diagnosed with cancer

COALTON — Strictly speaking, selling Alexis Russell’s goat before all the others was against the rules.

But sometimes, rules need to be broken.

A number of the buyers at the Boyd County Fair’s livestock auction Saturday got wind of Alexis’ medical problems, and asked fair officials if they could go ahead and bid on her animal first.

Alexis, they had learned, had just been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. She has had one surgery already and her parents are getting ready to take her back to Columbus for further procedures.

Maybe if the 7-year-old could get a good price for her goat, it would help with the expenses, they said.

Only thing is, Alexis’ goat weighed in below the limit for market animals, making it eligible for sale only at the tail end of the auction — when some buyers have emptied their pocketbooks or left altogether.

It didn’t take long for officials to make a decision: of course they would make an exception.

So, shortly after the grand and reserve champions had had their moment of glory and fetched premium prices, Alexis found herself in the show ring with her goat.

Wearing a purple blouse and a pink ribbon in her hair, she paraded nervously around the arena as the bids showered down.

Auctioneer Cavel Bush didn’t have to cajole the buyers, who quickly pushed the bids to unprecedented heights. When his patter ended, a group of 20 buyers had bought the goat for $100 per pound. That put $4,760 in the family’s coffers.

To put that in perspective, the grand champion goat brought $6.25 per pound.

But that wasn’t the end of it. The buyers donated the goat back to Alexis, who marched the scrawny animal back into the ring and sold it once more, fetching a winning bid of $2,000.

Alexis’ mother, Amber Holley, felt tears welling up in her eyes as the bids mounted. “It’s OK,”?she told a friend who paused to comfort her. “These are tears of happiness.”

“I?always thought I had good friends but I didn’t realize just how awesome they really are,”?she said.

The gesture of generosity is typical of fair folk, for whom the Boyd County Fair is as much a community as an event,?according to county agricultural extension agent Lyndall Harned. “That’s just the kind of people we have here,”?he said.

There was a final surprise. Alexis’ sister Sarah announced that she would donate whatever she received for her market goat to Alexis’ medical fund. The 52-pound animal sold for a high bid of $25 per pound, giving the family an additional $1,300 to chip away their expenses.

Alexis’ parents just learned the seriousness of her condition Tuesday, when lab results came back from analysis of a growth surgeons removed from her leg earlier this month. It is a tumor, a rare form of cancer that at the least will require medical attention four times a year in a Columbus hospital.

The family planned to head out of town today for the next round of surgery, with a stop for a day at King’s Island along the way.

MIKE?JAMES can be reached at or (606) 326-2652.




04/20/20 03:04 AM #13    

Connie Griffith (Sloan)

To ALL of My Dear Classmates,,, I am sending Prayers and Love to ALL of You and to Your Loved Ones ,,,, Oh How I love You All ,,, so many Memories and so much Love to ALL of You !!  During this dark time in Our United States and all other Countries,, How I LOVE ALL OF YOU !!  May God Bless Everyone.  


04/21/20 11:02 PM #14    


Pam Stapleton (Walter)

Hi Connie

I have been thinking of you lately. How are you doing? I sure miss you on Facebook ..Hope you can come to our reunion in Sept. Can you believe it has been 45 yrs.?  No Way... right....Love to you and yours. Stay Safe.

09/19/21 01:36 PM #15    

Brian Salyer

Bryan Finkbone!!!!! Well deserved. A GREAT Tomcat!!!!

09/22/21 09:43 AM #16    


Cheryl Warnock (Davies)

Congrats to my #20. Hall of Fame!  Mr. Right fielder Bryan. 

09/22/21 08:36 PM #17    


Bryan Finkbone

Thank you Brian Salyer for your kind words Re: my HOF induction. You too, are a great Tomcat!  Thanks, Bryan Finkbone 

03/06/22 04:35 PM #18    

John Siddens

Hey, Everyone!  

Hope all is well in Tomcat Country!

I have a question, which I hope someone can answer.  I remember two events that heppened in Ashland, but I cannot recall the year or dates.  Would someone have a memory or any info on:

The year President Nixon visited Ashland and PGBHS?

The year that the Jesus Christ Superstar touring company played at PGBHS gym??

I hope I am not so forgetful that these did NOT happen, but I swear I remember going to both events, and actually remember shaking hands with Nixon when he went to his limo from the gym...

Anyone remember???

John Siddens, Class of 1975
Greenville, SC

03/06/22 07:05 PM #19    

Mike Leake

John I posted about President Nixon on class page but the Jesus Christ Super Star performance this one I don't remember

03/06/22 07:59 PM #20    

Debbie Click (Smith)

Hey John Siddens! Nixon was in Ashland in October of 1972. It was near the end of the month... I didn't go, but I remember it was my first year at Blazer - my brother had graduated in May and was at EKU. Hope that helps...

03/06/22 08:08 PM #21    


Marcia Wilson (Hermann)

John, I don't remember Jesus Christ Superstar but I remember the "Up with People " group giving a small show

03/07/22 11:10 AM #22    

Rick Goddard

Hey Sid,

I remember watching his motorcade pass in front of Dairy Cheer:

03/07/22 03:53 PM #23    


Paula Houlehan (Qualls)

I know we weren't in high school yet because I think my brother still was, so probs '71 or '72 when Nixon was there. 

03/07/22 08:56 PM #24    


Marcia Wilson (Hermann)

Paula, We were in the 10th grade. Debbie Ball and I were 2nd or 3rd in line. We sat right in front of the tv cameras.

03/07/22 10:15 PM #25    


Cindy Lang (Blanton)

I was a sophomore and the Blazer Band was the official Presidential Band.

We played Hail to the Chief.  It was so exciting!



03/08/22 07:27 PM #26    

John Siddens

You guys rock!!   LOL   I KNEW someone would have the flyer or the date!   Way to go, Rick!  Appreciate the replies...  


now if someone still has the video of the dumb-ass detective 'movie' we filmed in one of the classes, THAT would be a HOOT!!!

03/19/22 09:34 PM #27    

Jimmie Epling

John, below is the ticket I was given to see President Nixon on his campaign visit.  It was a seat behind him, so those in my section mostly saw his back.  


03/21/22 08:07 AM #28    

Bill Hornbuckle (Hornbuckle)

Daggone, Jimmy - I can't believe you still have that!!!

It's amazing that you've kept it through all these years.

03/21/22 01:33 PM #29    


Kim Beckstrand (Mayer)

Hello everyone! Maybe one (or more) of you ladies will find interest in this and join us sometime. (I would love that). I wrote a retreat for women a few years ago. I have spent 20 years and thousands of dollars on healing my heart from trauma and finding my authentic self and learning what I am made of. In 2014 I took the best of what I have learned and put it into a retreat. I believe it is much needed especially because the inspiration while writing it just flowed so easily. It is a beautiful and amazing retreat of truth, self-awareness and empowerment for our sovereign hearts. I hope it will inspire someone to join us.  To find the event page just copy and paste this url into your browser and you can read all about it in the discussion tab.   Happy Spring to all y'all.  

03/22/22 02:59 PM #30    

John Siddens


I agree with Hornbuckle.. and I knew someone would have a memoir of some sort!  When my parents moved from Ashland to Barbourville, a lot of my stuff went missing.  :-(   I still have some swim team medals and ribbons, some stuff from a few classes, and my yearbooks..  but that's about it...  wish I had kept up with more stuff.. especially my '57 Chevy!  I REALLY wish I had Bluebell now!  :-)

04/27/22 07:44 PM #31    


Marcia Wilson (Hermann)

Congratulations to classmate Mark Maynard!

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Three Pulitzer Prize winners, a groundbreaking TV journalist, a national sports columnist and three legendary community journalists make up the 2022 class of the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame. This year’s induction ceremony will be held later this year at the University of Kentucky.

This year’s eight inductees are:

-- Former Kentucky resident Scott Applewhite, a four-decade and Pulitzer Prize-winning senior photojournalist with The Associated Press based in Washington, D.C.

-- Paducah native Jerry Brewer, a national sports columnist for The Washington Post;

-- The late Melissa Forsythe, who was a news anchor and reporter for WAVE-3 and WHAS-11 in Louisville;

-- The late John B. Gaines of Bowling Green, who was president and publisher of the Bowling Green Daily News for six decades;

-- The late Bill Mardis of Somerset, a Taylor County native who served more than 50 years as a reporter, editor and columnist at the Commonwealth Journal;

-- Mark Maynard, the managing editor of Kentucky Today, an online news service published by the Kentucky Baptist Convention, who also had a distinguished 42-year career at The Daily Independent in Ashland, Kentucky; 

-- Lexington native Stuart Warner, whose five-decade career included serving as Lexington Herald-Leader sports editor and a Pulitzer Prize-winning editor at the Plain Dealer of Cleveland; and

-- Louisville native Deborah Yetter, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and editor who has spent more than three decades at The Courier-Journal, and before that the Louisville Times.


Maynard joined Kentucky Today in 2017 after serving as a sports reporter, sports editor, managing editor and editor during his long tenure in Ashland. He has also written 10 books and serves as president of Amy For Africa, a thriving Christian ministry in Uganda.

He is also a member of the Kentucky Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, one of only four writers to achieve the recognition.

"It's such a honor, I'm really humbled by it," he said. "I'm so appreciative of whoever nominated me. I never saw it coming."

Lawrence Smith, who serves as Kentucky Today's editor and communications director for the Kentucky Baptist Convention, said Maynard's induction is "well-deserved."

"His professionalism, his experience and, most of all, his love for the Lord have contributed so much to the success of Kentucky Today. He is a true treasure both to journalism and to the church," Smith said. 

Todd Gray, executive director-treasurer of the KBC, called Maynard a "blessing to Kentucky Baptists."

"He approaches his work with tireless enthusiasm and not only represents the highest journalistic integrity but, even more importantly, lives every day as an ambassador for Jesus," Gray said. "I have worked with him very closely for the past few years and cannot imagine anyone more deserving than Mark Maynard as an inductee into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame."

Maynard joins the ranks of Kentucky's honored journalists alongside fellow Kentucky Today editor and reporter Chip Hutcheson, who was inducted in 2012.

Created by the UK Journalism Alumni Association in 1981, the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame honors journalists who are Kentucky natives or have spent a significant portion of their careers working for Kentucky news-media organizations. More than 200 individuals, both with and without formal ties to UK, have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

05/16/22 07:26 PM #32    

Robert Franklin

Does anyone else remember Doug Keithley?  He and I were just getting to know one another at Putnam, when he passed in late 1971 or early1972.....I believe he went to Hager Grade School, and I didn't meet him till Putnam, as I went to Hatcher GS...he was looking so forward to the band concert in Winchester and making the record in 9th grade band.........It was also the way that Arch Williams treated him when he had a seizure in gym class, that endowed me with an abiding hatred for Williams.........and then just a few months later Doug was gone.....I was just wondering if anyone else remembered, proboably, our first lost classmate..........

05/16/22 08:20 PM #33    

George(Eddie) Price

Yes Rob I remember Doug he was a great guy and one of my best friends I knew him and his whole family. I still see his family from time to time.

02/08/23 11:11 AM #34    

Donna Gallaher (Miller)

Eddie, I do not get on this site very often so I just saw Rob Franklin's question about Doug Keathley.  Sadly, I cannot answer Rob since he no longer is with us.

Doug's aunt was my neighbor my entire life, so we also knew Doug's family.  I remember so well the day that Doug died, sooo young.  I remember him every year on Facebook.  He died on February 4th, 1972.

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