Everyday Heroes: Steve Flairty remembers mom in tribute to his original ‘everyday hero’

The following is a eulogy Steve Flairty, author of the Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes book series, delivered at the funeral of his mother, Alma Faye Flairty, on Sept. 30 in Butler. She died on Sept. 25, seven months after her husband and Steve’s father, Eugene Flairty, passed away.   “There are a whole lot of people out there who are worse off than me.”   Mom made that comment...

Steve Flairty’s Everyday Heroes: Nina Lee stitches threads of love in the fabric of lives

Nina Lee has a sweet sense of the power that clothing sewed personally for loved ones can bring.   She remembers talking with her children who sat beside her as she craftily hand made their garments on “Old Girl,” a mid-1930s Kenmore second-hand machine her husband bought for her early in their marriage.   “My favorite thing to tell them was how ‘each stitch carries my love for you...

Steve Flairty’s Everyday Heroes: Joe Beach’s simple love of music, teaching impacts many

Saying that Joe Beach’s long career resulted in a significant positive effect on multitudes of music students and others in his community is like saying Thoroughbreds and basketball are important to the state of Kentucky. That’s a truism with absolutely no strings attached, or more accurately, with lots of strings attached. He could play anything, but string music was his specialty—and legions...

Steve Flairty’s Everyday Heroes: Dynamic officer brings police, community together

One might imagine police officer Debbie Wagner, judging by her musical tastes, as a boring sort. After all, she enjoyed watching the “Lawrence Welk Show” as a youngster and still watches the vintage reruns today. And she’s been taking her Geritol “…since I was 16,” she said with a grin, “and people look at me funny.”   Debbie Wagner with her mother Jane Lehman Those two habits...

Steve Flairty’s Everyday Heroes: After loss, Charlotte Wethington became an advocate

Charlotte Wethington was motivated to become an advocate for recovery by her son's death in 2002.   Looking back, Charlotte Wethington can still see an image of her young son on his favorite choice of recreation, the skateboard, gyrating joyfully around the family’s northern Kentucky neighborhood in Atwood.   She remembers the times that Casey made her nervous; he would take a few too many...

Steve Flairty’s Everyday Heroes: Sandy Hart’s devotion to ‘true heroes’ evident in museum

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” New King James (2003)   Sandy Hart knows a good deal about what it means to give all of oneself to something important. As an example, we might start with her marriage, a lesson in giving.   “I married a Marine for...

Steve Flairty’s Everyday Heroes: The Begleys teach ‘naturally’ at Pine Mountain Settlement

Ben and Pat Begley, along with their staff, have guided over eighty thousand students through environmental education classes at Pine Mountain Settlement School since its' founding in 1987. (Photo provided.)   Ben and Pat Begley figured out long ago that students learn best when they get their hands on the subject being taught, supplemented by a healthy trip outside into the fresh air.   At...

Steve Flairty’s Everyday Heroes: ‘Detective’ Ruth Perkins connects people to their past

  Ruth Perkins remembers well something her father and mother said when she was growing up during the Great Depression. It was when a local name was brought up in conversation. “Daddy would always say that ‘they’re a little bit kin to us’…and Mama said ‘maybe a little,’” remarked Perkins.   Her father, particularly, was interested in family history. Ruth inherited that...

Steve Flairty’s Everyday Heroes: Wilmore mayor chooses ‘goodness’ over ‘greatness’

Harold Rainwater remembers a special moment in 1994 that happened at the funeral home visitation as he stood before his father’s burial casket. While receiving heartfelt condolences from two good friends, he thought about the irony of what they said to him. “One of the men was the president of the college,” said Rainwater, “and the other was one who picked up the garbage in town. Each remarked...

Steve Flairty’s Everyday Heroes: Ruth Lature champions program for those with dyslexia

Ruth Lature is a demonstrated overcomer. She grew up poor in the outskirts of Hopkinsville when government safety net programs were not as abundant as today.   “The only reason my parents were not on food stamps,” said Lature, “was that such did not exist, and they would have been too proud to accept them. Until I was 14 years old, my parents, brother and I lived in one average-size room...

Steve Flairty’s Everyday Heroes: Hoops star Dustin Maguire a ‘gamer’ in cancer fight

As a kid joyfully playing the game of basketball in his hometown of Edwardsville, Ill., a St. Louis suburb, Dustin Maguire learned a couple of important things quite early. He learned how to properly shoot the ball, thanks to the coaching of his father, and the skill became his biggest asset.   Dustin Maguire (Photo from Steve Flairty) “I wasn’t the most talented or athletic … but if I...

Steve Flairty’s Everyday Heroes: Coroner
Bill Demrow does his job in heroic fashion

In dealing with death and dying as a profession, Bill Demrow began his training long ago, as a teenager. He is experienced, for sure, and there’s probably little in the way of tumultuous times that he has not seen in his long career — and little that he has not faced with bravery.   As Lincoln County’s coroner for twenty-nine years, Demrow investigated hundreds of deaths, including two...

Steve Flairty’s Everyday Heroes: Borrowed angels charity riders support worthy causes

This is a story that is both sad and hopeful. It portrays both the worst and best in human nature. In this story, a special group of women will step forward and provide both the part about hope and also the best in human nature.   It took eight days for this courageous 2-year-old to give up her last breath, but she died on Dec. 3, 2008, victim of a despicable act. Katelynn Stinnett had been...

Steve Flairty’s Everyday Heroes: Student improves lives – one pair of shoes at a time

Kasey Fields has loads of talent and energy just waiting to be used to improve the lives of others. Lexington’s School for the Creative and Performing Arts, where Kasey attends, helped her harness those traits into showing some remarkable leadership when she was a sixth-grader. The school, along with her highly supportive parents, produced a real winner of a kid!   Kasey said she was inspired...

Steve Flairty’s Everyday Heroes: ‘Mountain Santa’ delivers joy to all, lives life of giving

  Mike Howard has some bad memories about some things he did while growing up as one of eleven kids in an eastern Kentucky town. “Guess I was the black sheep of the family,” he said.   He recalled one real bad thing he did as a child. “One time I threw a rock from up on the roof and hit my brother in the head,” he explained. “I went inside and told my mom I’d killed him.”   As...

Steve Flairty’s Everyday Heroes: ‘Wild Bill’ Gordon was ‘green’ long before it was cool

Bill Gordon lived “green” long before it became the popular thing to do. Being a friend of the environment started for him over 60 years ago, shortly after he was born on Christmas Day in 1945. He learned to love the land and appreciate the critters as he grew up in rural Pennsylvania.   Bill was encouraged by his father’s love of fishing, hunting, and sail boating. Like his father,...

Steve Flairty’s Everyday Heroes: Judge Lyon was big ‘overcomer’ of physical disabilities

If anyone ever told Jim Lyon he wouldn’t amount to much because of his physical disabilities, he didn’t listen. The fact that he entered this world with two stubs for arms, one stub for a leg and the “good” leg malformed was not a reason to be unsuccessful in his life and career.   Jim’s mother made that clear to him years ago, almost as soon as he was born in 1931. Her early encouragement...

Steve Flairty’s Everyday Heroes: Poet, teacher ‘lives young,’ stays ‘young,’ helps others

  Dale Faughn often got up at 3:30 a.m. to jog three miles before he went to work. He didn’t think that doing that was only for the young.   It didn’t matter to Dale, born in 1925, that some also think young adults are supposed to be the ones who donate their blood to help others live. In his lifetime, Dale has given more than 28 gallons of his blood—drawn from his slender,...

Steve Flairty’s Everyday Heroes: Count on Bennie Doggett to take side of ‘underdogs’

Bennie Doggett has always let others know where she stands on things about which she cares deeply. She is a person who courageously takes the side of the “underdogs” in her community, people who are poor, who are battling addictions, and often people who are in trouble with the law.   It hasn’t been easy for this attractive African-American woman to do such things. She’s met dangerous,...

Steve Flairty’s Everyday Heroes: Student finds true joy in helping the less fortunate

A West Jessamine Middle School student in Nicholasville is finding that true joy does not come from having things, but by being a “giver of things.” Grace Harvey, a petite and energetic honor student, makes it a practice to act out her religious faith through her compassionate efforts for others. She also gives some of her hard-earned money to help less fortunate people. And, in an awesome display...