Lee Gentry

Last Updated: 3:18 pm | Monday, July 9, 2007
Tough times leads to Corps

Lee Gentry’s been through a lot in life. When he was young, his mother left the family, his father gained custody of Lee and his sister, and at age 10, their house in Morehead burned to the ground.

They were left with nothing.

Lee and his family traveled to the only place they could go – their grandmother’s house. She lived across the street from St. John’s Anglican Catholic Church in Dayton, and soon, they were all living under the same roof.

The Rev. William Neuroth, pastor of the church, learned the family was living in the cramped home the same weekend a parishioner at his church died, leaving the church her furnished apartment at Speers Court in Dayton.

It was a perfect fit for the Gentrys, and Neuroth made it happen.

“We didn’t have much growing up,” Gentry said, “but I always had what I needed.”

The troubles didn’t necessarily stop, though. Gentry’s father became disabled and couldn’t work. His grandmother grew ill, so the family moved back in to care for her.

Through it all, he never lost focus on his goal: to improve himself and his family.

This spring, he graduated from Bellevue High School and earned a leadership award. On June 22, he turned 18.

“I want to go to college,” he said. “But we don’t really have the money for that.”

So he found another way – Lee left for the Marine Corps on Sunday.

“If I stay in four years, then I’ll go to college for free,” he said before leaving. “I’ve always been interested in the Marine Corps.”

He says he thinks he’ll go to Northern Kentucky University law school. In the Marines, he will focus on administrative law.

“I think about it a lot, really,” Gentry said of his family’s struggles. “But I’ll be able to do a lot more for me and my family. I’m thankful for what I do have.”

e-mail: rclark@nky.com.