chris kelly

Chris Kelly, in a photo pulled from his sister’s Facebook page.

A local man known for his longtime support of Union High School and Powell Valley High School sports will continue to be present at Union events.

Chris Kelly has not been banned from Union after-school events. However, a misunderstanding along those lines has led locals to rally around him.

Facebook postings this week suggesting that Kelly had been banned generated outrage. A petition was even created in support of Kelly that received more than 6,000 signatures in less than 24 hours.

But in a Facebook post Wednesday morning, Kelly’s sister, BreAnna Kelly Caudill, stated that she and her mother, Kathy Boltz Kelly, met with Union High School Principal Mike Goforth that morning.

“Chris WILL be allowed to participate in after school functions including sports where Chris wants to participate and where coaches will allow him to participate,” wrote Caudill.

Due to safety and security concerns, Kelly won’t be at the high school during school hours, but is not banned from the campus or any after-school events.

Caudill stated that this rule is understandable and accepted fully by the family. She added that Goforth has only been principal for three days and is not responsible for any decisions made regarding Kelly over the past year.

Kelly can usually be found at school events and sporting functions and walking around town. He enjoys helping with sporting events and is affectionately known as “Union’s Number 1 Fan.”

During a Wednesday morning conversation, Wise County Schools Superintendent Greg Mullins said he was glad for what will be a positive outcome.

“Chris has been an important part of the fabric of that community for a long time,” Mullins said, adding that he had known Kelly for more than 25 years.

Caudill wrote: “We would like to express our gratitude towards the community for the love they have shown towards our family and Chris.”

Some information was provided by Editor and Publisher Jenay Tate.