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Jim Guest’s lifetime of service honored as part of ‘Bourbon, Veterans and America’

Local veteran Jim Guest was honored for his service to his country and community at last week’s Bourbon, Veterans and America event. From left, state Sen. Max Wise, Secretary of State Allison Lundergan Grimes, Guest and Pete Trzop. Photo by Sylvia Horlander.

By SYLVIA HORLANDER
Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017 –– Locals and some well-known names gathered last Tuesday in Bardstown for a sold-out event that celebrated history and America, “Bourbon, Patriots and Veterans,” held in the Great Hall at My Old Kentucky Home State Park.

The Ladies for Liberty entertained the crowd in the World War II style of the Andrews Sisters. Photo by Sylvia Horlander.

From 5:30-11:00 p.m. last Tuesday night, locals mingled with Ladies for Liberty, Colonel Brian Wertzler, and State Senator Max Wise—to name a few.

The event has been eight years in the making, and finally made its debut as an independent event held during the week of the 2017 Kentucky Bourbon Festival.

Event coordinator Pete Trzop said it was a relief to see Bourbon, Patriots and Veterans finally become a reality.

“Everything works when you bring the right people together for a goal,” he said.

For example, the park donated its location because of American Legion’s Post 42 flag pole project two years ago, veteran Bob Pyle volunteered as a chef, and Kentucky Monthly advertised the event free of charge.

Trzop said Charlie Greenwell had the idea to bring veterans and supporters of veterans together for the event.

“We veterans get thanked everyday for our service, but what’s more important is that we veterans thank good Americans,” he said. “I think that’s what’s missing in a lot of events. They (good Americans) respect us, they trust us, they allow us to do our jobs, and they give us a lot of power and a very good living at the end of the day.”

Veteran and Bardstown resident, Frank Thompson helped Trzop coordinate the event, which he said wouldn’t have been possible without the support of local veterans.

“The anticipation is here, and now, we’re all going to enjoy the event,” Thompson said.

The event paid particular honor to the service and dedication of Bardstown veteran Jim Guest. Guest was presented with the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the President’s Volunteer Service Award. {Insert photo}

Both awards came with a letter from former President Barack Obama, addressed to Guest, and delivered by Kentucky’s Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Guest served his country during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

Photo by Sylvia Horlander.

The awards came as a complete surprise, Guest said.

“It’s unreal. I strongly suspect totally unearned because I don’t think I’ve done a great deal—more than any a good many other people,” he said.

Guest keeps getting asked why he kept serving after he retired. His answer was straightforward: “As long as I help people, I’ll be there.”

Another pleasant surprise was in store for WBRT 1320 AM / 97.1 FM, the Nelson County Gazette’s media partner. Trzop presented a plaque to WBRT for its continued support of active duty military and veterans.

Since February 2017, WBRT’s Local Community Scene has been bringing veterans into the studio to share their stories. {Insert plaque picture}

The evening’s special guest speaker of honor was Kentucky National Guard Colonel Brian Wertzler. The event also featured vocal renditions of the National Anthem by Madison Livers and “My Old Kentucky Home” by Angela Stowe.

While honoring veterans, the evening became very solemn while Patricia Ballard shared her story of losing her son, Matthew Ryan Ballard, to post-traumatic stress disorder. Her son served his country in the U.S. Marine Corps.

All proceeds from the event went to American Legion Post 42 in Bardstown.

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