Source: The News-Enterprise
Joe Prather, along with other former and current Boy Scouts, saluted with three fingers Tuesday evening and recited the Scout Oath, which states, “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times: to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.”
At 79 years old, Prather continues to uphold that oath.
More than 300 people gathered at Grace Heartland Church in Elizabethtown to celebrate the former Boy Scout who has given – and continues to give – countless hours to the community in which he lives.
Prather said it was an honor to be recognized as a distinguished citizen by the Boy Scouts of America Lincoln Heritage Council.
“(Prather) is just such a great human being and really deserves this honor,” said Rick Games of the Elizabethtown-Hardin County Industrial Foundation.
Even though Prather has spent a tremendous amount of time in politics, Games said he has never heard anyone say anything bad about Prather.
Prather first was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1967 at age 27, where he served three terms before being elected to the state Senate. During his three terms there, he rose to president pro-tem, the most powerful position in the chamber.
During his 20 years in the General Assembly, Prather also served as chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party in 1983 and ’84 and was a member of the Democratic National Committee.
He also served as chairman of successful gubernatorial campaigns for Martha Layne Collins in 1983 and Brereton Jones in 1991. He served as state finance secretary in the Jones administration and returned to state government in 2007 as transportation secretary at the request of former Gov. Steve Beshear.
Prather also has found multiple opportunities to serve, including time as president of the Fort Knox/Daniel Boone Chapter of the Association of the United States Army, president of the Elizabethtown/Hardin County Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the Elizabethtown-Hardin County Industrial Foundation.
Games, who is president and chief operating officer of the Elizabethtown-Hardin County Industrial Foundation, said that is where he really got to know Prather.
“I have come to respect him,” Games said. “He has worked so tirelessly for the things of this community when he was in government and then in retirement.”
Games went on to say people still frequently seek council from Prather. Prather’s son, Jody Prather, agreed. He said not many days go by that someone is not calling his father for help – including help with projects, getting jobs or starting initiatives.
“Joe Prather has been good to this community, but I also want to say the people in this room, this community have been good for Joe Prather,” Jody said, adding Prather has inspired several people over the years, including himself.
“My father has always been my hero,” Jody said.
Prather said it was humbling to be honored at the dinner. He said everyone being there inspired him to continue doing what he knows to do and that is “to make this an even better community.”
“It is with that thought in mind that I stand here very appreciative this evening,” he said. “People ask me every day, ‘You are retired, aren’t you?’ Yes, I am retired, but I haven’t quit.”
Hardin Memorial Hospital President and CEO Dennis Johnson also gave a brief update on scouting in the area at Tuesday’s event. He said this year marks the 109th year of the Boy Scouts of America.
“For 109 years, the scouts have delivered a quality program to more than 115 million youth,” Johnson said. “Scouting is a program that turns ordinary youth into extraordinary adults.”
At the end of 2018, the Lincoln Trail District of the Lincoln Heritage Council served 1,215 youth registered in 64 scouting programs, Johnson said.
“So scouting is alive and well in Hardin and LaRue County,” he said. “This past year, Hardin and LaRue County produced 44 Eagle Scouts.”