By Nita Johnson
Sentinel-Echo Staff Writer
When Hal Rogers took the oath of office for Kentucky’s Fifth Congressional District in 1981, there beside him was Bob Mitchell.
For more than 33 years, Mitchell served as Rogers’ district director and right hand man, providing ideas, guidance, support, and leadership in tackling many of the problems that plagued Kentucky, especially the southeastern part of the state.
“He made a difference in people’s lives,” Rogers said of his long-time colleague and friend. “He is unselfish and selfless. We need leaders now more than we ever did. Bob Mitchell didn’t care to go across county lines or political lines, using common sense because our people here have common sense. That’s been the history of Bob Mitchell.”
Rogers was the keynote speaker to honor Mitchell, who was presented with the ” William Hacker M.D. Leader of the Year” award by Leadership Tri-County at the Corbin Technology Center on Monday night before a sold-out crowd.
Rogers went on to say that Mitchell’s dedication and leadership qualities are what made him such a positive influence over the well-being of the people of Kentucky.
“There are thermostats and there are thermometers,” Rogers said. “The thermometer reflects what’s going on. The thermostat changes temperature or environment. Bob may be the thermometer, but mostly he’s the thermostat.”
The accomplishments achieved during Rogers’ tenure in Washington were supplemented and enhanced through Mitchell’s dedication, Rogers said. Mitchell played a key role in the development of P.R.I.D.E. (Personal Responsibility In a Desirable Environment), UNITE (anti-drug agency), SKED (Southeastern Kentucky Economic Development), and projects such as the construction of flood walls along the Cumberland River between Williamsburg and Pineville, road improvement throughout the region, installation of water lines to areas once dependent upon wells, sewer projects, and the construction of the Cumberland Gap Tunnel.
Rogers quoted many of Mitchell’s theories, including his comment about the litter and illegal dumps in Kentucky. Knowing that something needed to be done to clean up the area, Rogers said Mitchell came up with his own idea as the two were riding along the (former) Daniel Boone Parkway near Hazard one day.
“He said, ‘You may be disappointed if you fail but you’re doomed if you don’t try,’” Rogers said. “The best description of a leader is that a leader is a dealer in hope. Bob Mitchell has done that for 33 years.”
Mitchell recently retired, although Rogers said Mitchell still provides council from time to time.
“I still get his advice, only now I don’t have to pay him,” Rogers remarked.
Mitchell had his own compliments back to Rogers, citing the many miles they had driven over Kentucky during their years together.
“We’ve drove a million miles and never had a wreck, thank you Lord,” Mitchell said. “We’ve had a lot of fun and meet a lot of people. It’s been a labor of love.”
Mitchell was also presented with two additional honors during Monday’s ceremony. Shannon Rickett, field representative for Congressman Rogers’ office, presented Mitchell with a Kentucky Senate Resolution honoring Mitchell’s accomplishments over his career with Rogers. The Resolution was presented on behalf of State Senator Chris Girdler of the 15th District that includes Adair, Casey, Pulaski and Russell counties.
Donna McClure, field representative with U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell’s office, presented Mitchell with a Congressional tribute honoring Mitchell’s contributions to the state.
By Nita Johnson
Local woman vyes for Miss Kentucky crown
A Williamsburg woman is among the 32 contestants representing local scholarship pageants from across the state who will vye for the title of Miss Kentucky 2014.
Elks Lodge hosts Flag Day ceremony
Tri-County Elks Lodge #2826 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the United States of America hosted a Flag Day ceremony Saturday, June 14.
Flying across Sheltowee
There was a brief burst of laughter as they all joked about signing their lives away, but there was also a hint of nervousness about it.
Masters elected Legion Auxiliary 88 president
Rose Masters (left) accepts her president’s gavel from Department of Kentucky Past President Brenda Berry during the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 88’s June meeting.
Andrew Pennington, 24, born and raised in Corbin, was also born into the retail business, with his parents, Tim and Sarah Pennington, operating the Pennington Block Company.
The life and death of Nelda
Nelda Lambert Barton-Collings passed away Friday, and, according to U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers, “Kentucky has lost a true jewel.”
- Storm Damage June 10, 2014 Damage reports came from all across the Tri-County area after Tuesday’s storms swept through southeast Kentucky and northeast Tennessee.
Going for the Gold
Tisha Duncan received a gold medal at Saturday’s slalom event. Neither she, the spectators, nor those waiting at the finish line seemed to notice or even care that it took her a whopping 78 seconds to get there or that her feet never once touched the ground.
KPA intern joins the Times-Tribune staff
Kristina Smith has joined the Times-Tribune staff this summer as an intern through the Kentucky Press Association.
Selling Safety Through Magic
Long before the days of email, smart phones and social media, one Kentucky State Police pioneer was blazing a trail using innovation and outside-the-box thinking to spread safety messages throughout Kentucky.
- More Features Headlines
- Local woman vyes for Miss Kentucky crown