Two local men, Chester Ed Elkin and Emerson McAfee, were among those named on Tuesday to the Kentucky Veterans Hall of Fame.
The announcement of honorees was held in the Rotunda of the State Capitol in Frankfort. This is the sixth class of inductees.
The Hall of Fame inducted 25 men and women veterans from across Kentucky in the 2019 class.
This is an annual event that has been held since 2014. Elkin and McAfee are the first from Madison County to receive the honor.
The class represents all branches of the U.S. military and several different conflicts, including World War II. A formal presentation ceremony will be held in September.
Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner, retired U. S. Army BG Benjamin F. Adams, said the Hall of Fame recognizes veterans who continue to serve their community, even after taking off the uniform.
“These outstanding contributions,” Adams said, “Maybe in the areas of professional, civic and veteran advocacy or political achievement maybe over the life of the nominee.”
Adams pointed out two members of the class were Murl Garlin Conner, who died in 1998 and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 2018, and Dudley Riley, a World War II veteran who was a POW.
He said the men and women to be inducted, “represent a true cross-section of America’s and Kentucky’s diverse veteran population, and the very best Kentucky has to offer.”
Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who hosted the event, saluted the honorees. “While many in Kentucky may be going astray, it’s our veterans who are leading us in the right direction, in terms of engagement and participation and community involvement.”
Grimes said she was grateful for the veterans who welcomed her into their family. “I got to be your advocate over the past eight years, here in Frankfort. It’s been one of the highest privileges I have ever had in my life.”
Gov. Matt Bevin also dropped by the ceremony, saying, “This is a tremendous opportunity to celebrate the freedom, liberty, the incredible ability to assembly freely; all the things we’re blessed with as Americans, here in the 21st century.”
Bevin, a veteran, stated, “This is a small, tiny token of a way that we can honor those that are being inducted, those who have been inducted previously, to say thank you.”
The induction ceremony will take place Sept. 6 and 7 at the Marriott Griffin Gate Hotel & Resort.
Kentucky Today government reporter Tom Laytek contributed to this story.