I have only been a Kentucky Colonel since 2021, but the significance of the good works of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels (HOKC) is powerful. Through my awareness, I have proudly participated in its philanthropic efforts.
Just last month, I joined my fellow trustees and staff of the Honorable Order meeting with 321 grant applicants to ensure that the money from contributing Colonels does the most good for the neediest Kentuckians. This vetting process culminates with HOKC Grant Impact Week, this week, where the Board will distribute $3.1 million dollars to 314 nonprofits. These contributions are from generous Colonels worldwide and as one Colonel has told me, “You’re able to give my money better than I ever could.”
The generosity of Kentucky Colonels continues to amaze me, that spirit of charity might be exceeded by hundreds of nonprofit organizations across the Commonwealth. From the one-person agency asking for our help to purchase 4,878 pairs of underwear for people dealing with homelessness to the scout camp working to accommodate scouts with physical challenges, and from the child abuse center to the group working to provide locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables to economically challenged neighbors who live in food deserts. The list goes on, and so does the need. From Newport to Bowling Green, Ashland to Paducah, and all points in between, these amazing nonprofit organizations are delivering incredible services with limited financial resources. I
It’s just a chorus of angels at every turn.
When historic flooding occurred in our area of Eastern Kentucky in 2021 the Honorable Order provided thousands to help Owsley County. The Monday after the December tornadoes struck western Kentucky, the Honorable Order committed $3.7 million in aid to help their recovery.
This was generously jump-started by a $2 million challenge from a Colonel living in Texas. Colonels around the world have stepped up since then with $700,000, including a recent notable contribution from an Indianapolis-area Colonel who showed up at the HOKC Day of Service in Madisonville with a check for $100,000. As of early June, the Colonels have distributed $1,148,000 in emergency grants to 37 organizations assisting the people of western Kentucky. As a side note, the HOKC coordinated over 120 Colonel volunteers in seven locations across the state during the spring Day of Service. It was gratifying to know that Colonels assisted their fellow Kentuckians.
Because a Colonel gave, we will provide nearly 80 percent of the funds requested by the Good Works Program nonprofits. Total 2022 grants distributed will exceed last year by $1 million, and I expect those grants will touch the lives of almost four million Kentuckians.
Only the governor who commissions a Kentucky Colonel knows the reasons for each commission, and there are thousands of Colonels still unaware of the extent to which they can improve the lives of citizens in the Commonwealth through the Honorable Order. To those Colonels, I extend an invitation to learn more about the philanthropic efforts of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels at, KyColonels.org.
So, the next time you see someone with a Kentucky Colonel license plate or sticker in their window, please take the time to stop and say, “Thanks, Colonel!”