First Lady Glenna Fletcher's Communications Office
First Lady Glenna Fletcher Presents Lexington Centenarian With Unbridled Spirit Award

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, October 11, 2006  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

102-year-old woman is first Kentuckian inducted into 10-Squared Talking Book Club

FRANKFORT, Ky. – First Lady Glenna Fletcher and State Librarian Jim Nelson presented Lexington centenarian Helen Pohl with the Unbridled Spirit Award today during a ceremony at The Lafayette in Lexington.  Pohl is the first Kentuckian to be inducted into the 10-Squared Talking Book Club, a national club sponsored by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped which honors patrons older than 100 who are actively engaged in reading. 

“It is fascinating to hear Mrs. Pohl profess her love for reading which she has cultivated and maintained for nearly a century,” said Mrs. Fletcher.  “I am honored to recognize her induction into the 10-Squared Club and her amazing dedication to learning.”

Pohl will turn 103 in November and has been reading since she was at little girl.

“In my family, education was practically a religion to us,” said Pohl.  “I was always proud that I read Oliver Twist when I was 9 years old.”

Pohl, who holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree from Columbia University, was a teacher for more than 30 years in Minnesota and Indiana.  She developed a deep appreciation for libraries during her years as a student and teacher. 

“If it wasn’t for the library, I couldn’t have ever done it,” said Pohl.  “The library was my savior.”

Though legally blind, Pohl is able to listen to books on tape.  She became a patron of the State Library Talking Book program in September 2005 and has read 62 books since then. 

“I always have stacks and stacks of books on my table and in my windowsill,” said Pohl. 

Pohl’s son, Dr. Stephen Pohl, brought her to Lexington to be closer to him.  She is a resident at The Lafayette, an assisted living facility, where she remains active in reading.  The facility sponsors a book club which meets twice a month.

“I always go to the book club,” said Pohl.  “We started with The Girl with the Purple Earrings.  We really threw that one around!”

Pohl was thrilled to be inducted into the 10-Squared Club.

“Receiving this honor and having the First Lady here with me makes this the proudest day of my life,” said Pohl.

The Unbridled Spirit Award is presented each month to a person or group of people who exemplify “Unbridled Spirit” in Kentucky.  Winners of the award demonstrate extraordinary effort in accomplishing something for the good of the Commonwealth.