GLASGOW — Life is still sweeter than peanut butter for Josh Gentry, a brain injury victim, who is originally from Barren County but now lives in Tompkinsville. 

It's almost sweeter than watermelons.

“Life is sweeter than peanut butter,” is a catch phrase Gentry uses often, especially since recovering from a severe brain injury.

Still sweeter than peanut butter, and almost sweeter than watermelons

Josh Gentry of Tompkinsville shows the watermelons he donated to the Barren County School System's Reads and Feeds Program on Friday. Gina Kinslow / Glasgow Daily Times 

He developed the brain injury after being injured in a crash in April 2000 that nearly cost him his life. He was flown to the University of Louisville Medical Center where doctors, at first, didn't expect him to live. But he did.

Those who are close to Gentry know that he enjoys growing watermelons. This year he set out 44 hills of watermelons, some of which are yellow.

Still sweeter than peanut butter, and almost sweeter than watermelons

Gentry gives JaCovin Kendall, 9, of Glasgow, a watermelon on Friday. Gina Kinslow / Glasgow Daily Times 

“We've got more than we can eat this year. I don't believe in being selfish. That's something since my brain injury I don't think there's any use in it. God doesn't like it when we're selfish. That's just ugly and I don't like it,” he said.

That's why he decided to donate some of his watermelons to the Barren County School System's Reads and Feeds Program, which is the school district's summer feeding program.

Gentry and his mother, Patty, who is the volunteer coordinator for the Barren County School System, met the Reads and Feeds big red bus in the Quail Ridge community of Glasgow on Friday and distributed watermelons to families who wanted them.

He said he was giving away the watermelons to give back to the community.

“I promised God when I was in Louisville that I wouldn't be selfish and that's something that I'm not willing to do is be selfish. I'm not going to do that no more. Before the wreck, I would have been, but that's just something that I don't believe in now,” he said.

His mother said she thinks it is wonderful that her son is giving back to the community.

“When Josh was in Louisville and he would pray, his prayer was, 'God just get me out of here and get me back to Barren County and I'll spread your name all over.' I think this is one way of him giving back,” she said.

Gentry doesn't remember all of the things his community did for him and his family while he was recovering, but his parents have shared with him some of the things that people have done.

“There's no way we can ever repay (them). We don't even know some of the people who did stuff for us,” Patty Gentry said.

When Gentry's watermelons get ripe, he'll ask his mother to help him find families he can give some of them to.

“I thought this would be a perfect fit,” she said, adding that she thought Friday was the last day for the Reads and Feeds Program before school starts for Barren County students on Wednesday. “The timing was perfect with the watermelons getting ripe.”

As families approached the Reads and Feeds bus to get lunch on Friday, Gentry would stand ready to hand them a watermelon.

Gentry didn't have enough watermelons for everyone and that made him a little sad, but he said he intends to do it again next year.

“Next year we'll have even more than we've got this year,” he said.

Angie Riddle, who is charge of the summer feeding program for the Barren County School System and drove the Reads and Feeds bus on Friday, said Gentry is amazing.

“He does everything straight from the heart,” she said.  

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