Kathy Brantley headshot

WOUB Member Spotlight: Kathy Brantley

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Brantley has been a member of WOUB since 1994

ATHENS, OH – Kathy Brantley has lived in Zanesville for nearly 30 years. During that time, she has dedicated her time and talents to community improvement and the importance of education. Brantley was instrumental in the creation of the annual Muskingum County Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Prayer Breakfast and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Fund.

“The fund awards scholarship dollars to minority students in Muskingum County with a 3.0 grade point average or higher, who are college bound. It was inspired by MLK’s focus on education with the hope that it will motivate more students in the community to pursue higher education,” said Brantley. “The scholarship is a springboard of opportunity for the students in our community.”

After getting involved with the scholarship fund, Brantley was a stay-at-home mom, a librarian, and the driving force behind the development of the Putnam Underground Railroad Education (PURE) Center.

“Many people are totally unaware of Ohio’s role in the underground railroad and especially the role Muskingum County played in helping slaves escape to freedom,” said Brantley. “Ohio was technically a free state, but Zanesville was divided on the issue. There is a lot of complicated history there.”

The PURE Center was supported by donations and volunteers. Unfortunately, Brantley’s work there ended when funding dried up.

“I really enjoyed educating people at the PURE Center. And I learned so much too.”

Brantley’s work as a volunteer earned her two Ray Thomas Community Service Awards. The Muskingum County Community Foundation presents the award each year to honor an individual who has given significant time and energy to serving a local organization. Brantley is the only person in the history of the foundation to receive two Thomas Community Service Awards.

Brantley believes in always learning and growing. She says that’s why she has been a supporter of WOUB Public Media since 1994.

“I’m hooked on knowledge. I listen to NPR while I do my work. Radio is kind of wonderful. You can just have it on and still concentrate on the things you must accomplish. Even when you run the vacuum cleaner, you can just put it in your ear,” said Brantley laughing. “I love 1A. The panels they put together are great. They always have something relevant and worthwhile to help you become more knowledgeable. It makes you want to dig deeper.”

Brantley also enjoys the television documentaries produced by WOUB and PBS.

“I watch Ken Burns documentaries and learn so much about our history. I also watched The Black Church series by Henry Louis Gates Jr. I was jumping up, singing along, clapping and shouting. There were parts of that series that made me feel like I was listening to my own grandmother,” said Brantley. “The WOUB Our Town documentaries are very interesting as well. It’s great to learn about interesting people in history from our region that you didn’t know about.”

In addition to her volunteer work, Brantley is a mother and grandmother. She is married to Cardiologist Dr. Keith Brantley, and they have three adult children and two infant grandchildren. Brantley also loves to garden.

“I normally plant a big garden,” said Brantley. “But this year, I only planted one thing – tomatoes. I have those two small grandbabies right now, and I’m spending my time being a grandmother.”

Brantley says she continues to support WOUB because she believes that it is very important to the community.

“I love the way WOUB presents the news with the pros and cons. It’s important to understand both sides before determining your stand on an issue.”