Three people were honored for their service in Bracken County during a Chamber of Commerce meeting Wednesday. Pictured, from left, are Clark Hennessey, Kathy Free, Chamber President Perry Poe and Jim Fields.

BROOKSVILLE -- Three individuals were honored for their service to Bracken County Thursday during a Chamber of Commerce dinner.

Each year, in January, the Bracken County Chamber of Commerce honors individuals who have made positive contributions to the community.

On Wednesday, the individuals honored were Clark Hennessey, Kathy Free, and Jim Fields.

Bracken County Chamber of Commerce President Perry Poe welcomed guests and explained why the three were being honored.

"This is our annual meeting," he said. "We like to take the time during this meeting to honor certain individuals who have been strong in the community. These are people who have made a positive impact and they deserve this honor."

Poe began with Jim Fields, who taught in the Bracken County School District for several years. He was also heavily involved in the Future Farmers of America program.

"He has probably touched more young lives than anybody else," Poe said.

Fields said he was grateful for the recognition.

He also told the guests what he did after retirement.

"After I retired one day, I went to work the next day," he said. "I went to work for Hinton Mills in Cynthiana. The manager there, and I, did our student teaching together at (the University of Kentucky). So, we kind of came full circle."

Bracken County Superintendent Jeff Aulick was present at the meeting and said he was pleased to see Fields honored.

"He's touched so many lives," Aulick said. "If a student had a problem, they knew they could get in touch with him and he would listen and walk them through it."

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Free retired from the position of Bracken County Circuit Clerk in June 2017. She worked in the position for 40 years before retiring. She and her husband, Steve, also run the Santa Lane in Brooksville every December.

"She's always been good in the office," Poe said. "She's willing to help anyone. She's done a good job and we appreciate her for everything."

The final person honored Wednesday was Hennessey.

Hennessey is a county magistrate for the Augusta West District and a partner of Metcalfe-Hennessey Funeral Home in Augusta. He has served as magistrate for the county for 42 years.

"I want to thank the Chamber," Hennessey said. "It's humbling to sit among colleagues as I am tonight. You know, I like to break in new judges by telling them, 'I've seen a lot of you come and go.' I also want to thank my wife for keeping me in the right frame of mind. Without her keeping me straight, I might make bad choices."

Bracken County Judge-Executive Earl Bush was also present at the meeting and spoke highly of Hennessey and Free.

"It's been an honor and a privilege to work with both Clark and Kathy," he said. "When you go to build a $13-14 million facility, it's a big undertaking, but it helps when you have people like them. We always knew, when we come to Bracken County, everything is going to be right, because Kathy is here and she's going to make it right. And, Clark, he's kind of like the Obi-Wan Kenobi of the fiscal court with his wisdom. He would sit back and listen and then say, 'oh, I don't know about that.' He's served 42 years and I believe he's the longest consecutively serving magistrate in the state of Kentucky. The county is going to miss him when he's gone."


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