By Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer
LANCASTER, Ky. - Michael Sanders, 53, president of the Christian Appalachian Project, died at his Lancaster home Tuesday of cancer.
Known as "Mike," Mr. Sanders, whose father was a coal miner, grew up in Majestic, a small town in the coalfields of Eastern Kentucky. Growing up there made him intimately aware of the hardships of extreme poverty.
CAP, a multidenominational organization, was founded by Newport native Rev. Ralph Beiting in 1957. Mr. Sanders was the first CAP employee in Eastern Kentucky when he became a supervisor in 1982.
"His heart was for the people of Appalachia," said Jerome O'Daniel of Lexington, Ky., chairman of the board of CAP. "He knew those people. He was one of them."
Mr. Sanders led with a positive, can-do attitude mixed with compassion. He worked his way up to director, then senior director, for CAP's Eastern Kentucky human services programs. As such he was responsible for overseeing elderly visitation, the spouse abuse center, the used clothing stores, the children's camps and family and child development centers in the region. Named acting president in 1995, he was elected to the post by the board the following year.
"His integrity, dedication, enthusiasm and love of the Lord will be remembered by all who knew him," O'Daniel said.
Mr. Sanders was a Vietnam veteran. He served on the boards of Our Lady of the Mountain School in Paintsville, Ky., and the Appalachian Regional Commission.
Survivors include his wife, Jackie; a son, Michael Sanders, stationed in Milden Hall, England; two daughters, Melissa Fannon of Lexington and Kelli Sanders of Lancaster, and two grandchildren.
Visitation is 5-8 p.m. tonightat Spurlin Funeral Home, 1164 Lexington Road in Lancaster. The funeral is 1 p.m. Saturday at St. Peter and Paul Church in Danville, Ky.
Memorials: Christian Appalachian Project, 6550 South Ky. 321, P.O. Box 459, Hager Hill, KY 41222.
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