Pictured is Beach Chamber Board Chair Derrick Bennett receiving the Kentucky Colonel designation from Beach Chamber President/CEO Lance Allison on behalf of Kentucky State Representative Kenny Imes. The highest honor awarded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky is that of Kentucky Colonel. “I am honored to deliver this special recognition to Derrick from my home state”, stated President/CEO Lance Allison. “Kenny and his family spend about eight weeks throughout the year in Panama City Beach and he recognized the great efforts that Derrick as Chair of the Chamber puts forth for our area”.
The title Kentucky Colonel originated in 1813. The Kentucky Militia had just returned from a highly successful “War of 1812” campaign that resulted in control of the Northwest being returned to the United States. When the militia dispersed, Governor Isaac Shelby asked Charles S. Todd, one of his officers in the campaign, to remain in the capitol and serve as an AID-DE- CAMP on the Governor’s Staff. Todd was given the rank and grade of Colonel.
Early Colonels, such as Colonel Todd, actually served military roles. But, as times changed throughout the 1800’s, the title became more of an honorary one. In the closing years of the century, Colonels in uniform would stand as symbolic guards at state events and social functions were held for them at the Governor’s mansion. In the late 1920’s, a group of Colonels started talking about forming a formal “society”.
The official “Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels” was founded in 1932 by then-Governor Ruby Lafooon, Kentucky colonelships are commissioned for an individual’s contributions to his or her community, state or nation, and for special achievements. Through the years, Kentucky Colonels have contributed thousands of dollars to worthy causes. Kentucky’s governor and lieutenant governor serve as commander-in-chief and deputy commander-in-chief, respectively.
The certificate, signed by the Governor and Secretary of State and bearing the Great Seal of Kentucky, has hung on the walls of such distinguished leaders as President Lyndon B. Johnson and English Prime Minister Winston Churchill. John Glenn, America’s first person in space, was commissioned during his historic mission while orbiting Earth. Other well-known Colonels include: Harland “Colonel” Sanders, Muhammad Ali, Betty White, George Clooney, Ashley Judd, Johnny Depp, and Elvis Presley. You can learn more about the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels by visiting their website at http://kycolonels.org