Kentucky by Heart: Do you know an Everyday Hero?; share your Thanksgiving memories; and more…

I just returned from a trip to Hazard, in Perry County, where I interviewed District Court Judge Leigh Anne Stephens, whom I believe is a considerably inspirational person. Here’s the reason. Bemoaning the sadness of so many troubled young brought before her in court, she led in establishing a one-week summer camp to help boys receive strong, positive mentoring and wholesome activities to redirect...

Kentucky by Heart: Sharing the deep sense of place, shared roots of our Bluegrass home

Steve Flairty, shown here at the age of 10, learned early that Kentucky is a special place filled with special people. (Photo provided) Steve Flairty grew up feeling good about Kentucky. He recalls childhood day trips (and sometimes overnight ones) orchestrated by his father, with the take-off points in Campbell County. The people and places he encountered then help define his passion about the state....

Kentucky by Heart: Get to know Bill Goodman off the air with nostalgic ‘Beans, Biscuits, Family & Friends’

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist For most who watch Kentucky Educational Television regularly, at least since 1996, the abiding presence and top-flight program host/newsman Bill Goodman is an undeniable fixture. Steve Flairty grew up feeling good about Kentucky. He recalls childhood trips orchestrated by his father, with the take-off points in Campbell County. The people and places he encountered...

Kentucky by Heart: Daniel Carter Beard yet another Kentuckian noted for long-lasting contributions

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist The Boy Scouts of America owe Daniel Carter Beard a huge debt of thanks in helping establish the great organization. Beard, who lived much of his youth in Covington, is yet another Kentuckian who is noted on the national scene for long-lasting contributions to our country’s welfare. Daniel Carter Beard boyhood home in Covington (Photos provided) Beard was actually...

Kentucky by Heart: So long Paul … thanks
for walking beside me when I needed it most

  By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist   Paul Parrott passed away a couple of weeks ago. He was 90. We became fast friends about 10 years ago as neighbors in a modest apartment complex in southwestern Lexington. At the time we met, I was experiencing a difficult divorce and living in cramped quarters a short walk across the parking lot from Paul and his wife, Dee.   Steve Flairty grew...

Kentucky by Heart: Camp counselor’s sunny countenance belies pain of difficult youth

Gary Knight, far left, accompanied Handi Camp participants and counselors on a trip to the Cincinnati Zoo. (Photos provided)   By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist   At the recent “Handi Camp” week at a church camp called Camp Northward, in Falmouth, one watching the activities would have observed a great picture of joy in the face and body language of Gary Knight as he carried out his...

Kentucky by Heart: Poring over Kentucky’s past gives new meaning to the present, future

  By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist   I typically write about contemporary life, but once in a while I like to pore over items from Kentucky’s past, especially when I feel a real connection. This particular column will have that focus.   Steve Flairty grew up feeling good about Kentucky. He recalls childhood trips orchestrated by his father, with the take-off points in Campbell...

Kentucky by Heart: Compassion plus positive energy plus service equals Dave Wickstrom

  Dave Wickstrom, with a Haitian child he met on a service trip, would like to arrange a similar trip to Haiti for people with disabilities so that ‘they can get the same satisfaction of serving in a foreign country as I do.’ (Photos provided)   By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist   In talking recently to disabilities advocate Dave Wickstrom, I could see that early in his...

Everyday Heroes: ‘Crazy about the Cats,’ Vaught not slowed by hearing disability

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist   This story is reprinted from Steve Flairty’s 2008 book, “Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes.” Besides his duties mentioned in the story, Vaught also writes for KyForward.   Jamie Vaught, for as long as he can remember, has been “crazy about the Cats.” So much so, he has written four books about those Cats, who are better known to...

Everyday Heroes: Following mother’s advice ‘make no excuses’ paid off in Wright’s career

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist   This story is reprinted from Steve Flairty’s 2012 book, Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes for Kids.   When George Wright was growing up in poverty in Lexington over 50 years ago, he felt like he was living in shame and didn’t want others to know about it. It got worse when his parents divorced. His grades were bad, even though he had a good...

Everyday Heroes: Kasey Fields changing world for the better one shoe at a time

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist   This story is reprinted from Steve Flairty’s 2012 book, “Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes for Kids.” Kasey Fields is now a freshman at Lafayette High School, in Lexington.   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,...

Everyday Heroes: Former Marine Tom White helps give fitting memorial to American icon

This story is included in Steve Flairty’s book, Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes #4, scheduled for release in 2015.   By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist   Cynthiana resident Tom White, a former Marine, had one thing on his mind when he stopped at the Elizaville Cemetery that day in the early ‘80s. He simply wanted to see a certain person’s gravestone.   “Somebody said...

Everyday Heroes: Martin turns personal grief into support program for bereaved parents

This story is included in Steve Flairty’s book, Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes #4, scheduled for release in spring, 2015.   By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist   Keith Martin and his wife were excited. The two found out that their first child would be a girl, so they planned to enjoy some fishing–even if it was on a cool day–at Carpenter’s Lake in their hometown of Owensboro.   It...

Everyday Heroes: Darlene Snyder an ordinary person who faces life’s challenges with dignity

This story is reprinted from Steve Flairty’s 2008 book, “Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes.” Darlene has held the office of Madison County Court Clerk since 2012.   By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist   Darlene fell in love with Mike Snyder when she was 7-years old. Her adoration for him was not returned for a long time, however. Mike didn’t notice her until she was...

Everyday Heroes: ‘Too busy to be tired,’ Jacques works constantly for her native Haiti

This story will be included in Steve Flairty’s book, “Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes #4, scheduled for release in 2015.   By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist   If you frequently navigate the city streets of Frankfort, there’s a good chance you’ll catch notice of an ebony-skinned woman wearing wide-lensed eyeglasses walking briskly along the sidewalks there.   She...

Billy Edwards, who struggled to speak but reached many through written word, has died

Editor’s note: Billy Edwards, an ordained minister, newspaper columnist and inspiration to many in his hometown of Henderson and well beyond, died yesterday at the age of 57. Born with cerebral palsy, Mr. Edward’s “verbal and physical activities were limited. Consequently, his ministry was shared through his written word, painstakingly typed with one finger. Although his body was...

Everyday Heroes: Williams’ ‘Appalachian Mission of Hope’ expands work of compassion

(Image Provided)   This story will be included in Steve Flairty’s new book, “Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes #4,” scheduled for release in 2015.   By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist   Ann Williams admits that she wasn’t very good performing as a clown. “I’m too serious,” she said with a grin.   The clown role came a couple decades ago when she and her...

Everyday Heroes: As she learned from her parents, Bruner provides care for others

The Bruners have adopted seven children: girls Melissa and Destiny and boys Mickele, Andy, Jorden, JD and Davey (Photo Provided)   This story will be included in Steve Flairty’s new book, “Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes #4,” scheduled for release in 2015.   By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist   Bonnie Bruner grew up under the guidance of Sandy and Ray Hart, parents...

Everyday Heroes: Loss of hand didn’t turn out to be much of a handicap to Salyers after all

This story will be included in Steve Flairty’s book, “Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes #4, scheduled for release in 2015.   By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist   Back in 1968, Joe Salyers was feeling pretty down. He had been involved in an accident involving his left hand where he worked, at the Armco Steel Mill, in Ashland.   “I woke up from surgery, realizing the hand...

Everyday Heroes: Ally Bruener’s ‘sit down’ comedy changes perception of her disability

This story will appear in Steve Flairty’s new book, Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes #4, to be released in 2015.   By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist   You might consider that, from a wheelchair, Ally Bruener’s comedy is not “stand up,” but rather of the “sit down” variety. Yes, she is a sit down comedian, but no, she is not a reclining sort.   Just ask anyone who has...