Adam Hooker grew up in Laurel County and even when he left to attend col- lege at Eastern Kentucky University, his plans were to utilize his degree and return to his hometown. "I never wanted to leave Laurel County," he said. This 2002 North Laurel High School graduate has seen that dream come true. He played baseball dur- ing high school and college while earning his account- ing degree from EKU. Af- ter college graduation, he landed a job as the finan- cial analyst with the Knox County Board of Educa- tion, then as finance officer for the East Bernstadt Inde- pendent Schools. But in 2011, he ac- cepted a job with the Laurel County Board of Education as finance of- ficer where he oversees the financial aspects of the school system. "I sign off on all pur- chases, payroll, insurance, and the business side of the school system," he said. "I'm also the facili- ties director and work with the new projects and over- see the maintenance of the buildings in the district." That involves work- ing with the construction managers, engineers and architects of the various projects. "I work with the manag- ers to ensure the progress of the construction," he added. While Hooker has had success in his life, he is also no stranger to heart- Adam Hooker ache. His father, Cecil Darrell Hooker, was killed in an automobile accident when he was very young. His mother, Kim Hook- er (now Grant) taught at London Elementary and raised her two sons, Adam and Jon. But heartache came again when Jon and his wife, Scarlette Parsley Hooker, were killed in a plane crash in Lexington as they were en route on their honeymoon. Hooker and his wife Brooklyn, whom he met during high school, hon- ored his brother by nam- ing their son after his brother. Jonathan Hooker, now 6, was joined by a sis- ter, Lyla, now 4. Hooker took comfort in his faith during the dif- ficult times of his life, which has strengthened over his lifetime. He is now the pastor of Freedom United Baptist Church. "That's the church my mother grew up in and where her family attend- ed," he said. Hooker said he receives a lot of satisfaction in his job working with the school system. "There are a lot of stu- dents in the school system. It's my responsibility to see that they have good facilities where they can learn," he added. "We work hard to save money and spend it on them. We always want to make a dif- ference for the children."