Celebrating the Fourth

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By Sen. Robin Webb

Red, white and blue bows and bunting decorated every town, cookouts were scheduled, parade routes sketched and fireworks stockpiled for our nation’s birthday party on Saturday.

We just needed to get the gift.

It is hard to know what to give a country that, even at 239 years, is considered “young.” Then, there is that question of how you gift a nation of about 320 million people.

Perhaps the best gift we can give is our reaffirmation of the notion that every American citizen has the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” as set out by the Second Continental Congress in the Declaration of Independence on that first Fourth of July in 1776.

Defending those rights are our service members, so it was an honor to attend the third annual Kentucky Veterans Expo on June 26 at Boyd County High School. The event was organized to publicly recognize and assist the men and women who have served and are currently serving our nation. The expo included a career fair, medical services, lunch, entertainment and access to federal, state and community veterans’ resources. More than 250 veterans and their families attended the event.

Rep. Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook; Rep. Kevin Sinnette, D-Ashland; and other local officials were also on hand for the expo. Also attending was Col. Charles Jones, Col. Mike Ferguson and Col. Michael Abell of the Kentucky National Guard, as well as representatives from the offices of U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. Boyd County High School NJROTC presented the colors, and Stacy Pesut, a corporal in the Kentucky National Guard, performed the National Anthem. Brian Nimmo, director of the Huntington VA Medical Center, was the guest speaker.

At the time of this writing, my plans heading into the July 4th weekend include attending the 27th annual Summer Motion on Ashland’s riverfront. The three-day event features great food, music, entertainment and a Fourth of July fireworks display. The nearby Carter County Thunder run from July 2 through July 3 at the Carter County Fairgrounds.

I was among the bluegrass music lovers who descended to the Carter County Fairgrounds in Grayson for the 15th annual Rudy Fest Bluegrass Festival from June 23 through June 27. It was hosted by The Lonesome River Band. Among the great acts I caught were Marty Raybon & Full Circle, Billie Renee & Cumberland Gap, Zach Rambo, Hammertowne, Wildfire, Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time with Chris Davis on mandolin and The SteelDrivers. I even sat outside in the rain for Old Friends, featuring Paul Williams, Doyle Lawson and my dear friend J.D. Crowe.

Before I end this column, I want to send my love and prayers to the family of Trooper Eric K. Chrisman and every other Kentucky State Police trooper who do such a great job protecting our state. Chrisman was responding to a reckless driving complaint when he died in a car wreck on June 23 in Grand Rivers.

The 23-year-old was originally from Lawrenceburg and was currently residing in Eddyville while assigned to Lyon County. Chrisman graduated from the state police academy in January.

There was also tragic news about one of our friends at the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources. Laurie Davison, the manager of the Salato Wildlife Education Center in Frankfort, drowned June 28 while on vacation with her family near Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Davison joined the center in 2000, and I understand she had a hand in shaping everything the center has done in the past 15 years. She will be truly missed.

Sen. Robin L. Webb, D-Grayson, represents Boyd, Carter and Greenup counties. She welcomes your concerns or comments by calling 800-372-7181 or emailing at [email protected] You can also follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/robin.webb.313.