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The LaRue County Chamber of Commerce recognized several community leaders May 9 at its annual dinner at First Baptist Church of Hodgenville.
Donnie Propes was named the 2013 Outstanding Citizen of the Year and received a standing ovation from the packed room.
Propes is a dedicated volunteer for his church, the city and county. He is a blood donor and volunteer at Light Up Hodgenville and the LaRue County Fair. He has operated the sound system at Buffalo Baptist Church for more than 35 years, supports LaRue County High School athletic teams and has worked for Nolin RECC for 42 years.
He has two sons, Kevin and Kyle; and three grandchildren, Dawson, Allen and Abigail.
“I’m one who doesn’t want to really take credit for things. I like to work behind the scenes,” said Propes. “I like the pat on the back but I do it all for the community – not for me. I do it for everyone. I always try to find ways for me to donate and give back to the community to help make Hodgenville and LaRue County a better place. I love it here, I was raised here and I will probably die here.”
He was presented the award by Allison Shepherd, general manager of The LaRue County Herald News.
LaRue Insurance received the 2013 Outstanding Business Award.
Teleana Davis, Chamber secretary, described the business’ early years during her presentation: “In 1958, a young man took on a business that he hoped would be successful, little did he suspect it would have multiple locations, be licensed and doing business in 39 states around the country.”
Davis was referring to the company’s founder, James “Jim” LaRue, who did not attend. The award was accepted by the company’s second and third generations, James Alexander “Alex” LaRue and his sons, Jack and Aaron.
“It’s hard to speak… I’m honored and humbled ....” said Alex LaRue. “I wish Dad could have been here – he’s 92 years old now, went out and played golf yesterday. I never dreamed back in the 70’s that we would be where we are today. We couldn’t be where we are without our families – I’m just proud that they’re with me and that we’re going to continue to a fourth generation.”
The 2013 Spirit Award was presented by Chamber treasurer Katie McDowell to LaRue County Schools for a string of achievements by administrators, staff and students. Amanda Reed, assistant superintendent of student achievement, accepted the award.
“I am so proud to represent the students and staff, our board who supports everything that we do, and all our administrators. Nothing that we accomplish is done on our own – it’s a partnership. This award also goes to the parents, the community, grandparents, everyone that comes out and volunteers, everyone that reads about the schools in the paper, and those who come out and cheer us on in our athletic events. We are doing what we need to do to prepare our students, your children for whatever comes next in their lives, to be productive citizens to move LaRue County forward.”
The 2013 President’s Award was presented to former interim Chamber director, Angel French.
Chamber Director Krista Levee thanked French for her hard work and dedication.
“…You have been an asset to the Chamber of Commerce and your service has been invaluable to me and to them; she has been a cheerleader for us all,” Levee said.
French said her “jaw dropped and hit the table” when she realized Levee was referring to her.
“I am so truly humbled by all of this, this is a total shock to me. I just stepped up. When I took the opportunity to help the community, I didn’t know what I was getting into, and I fell in love with the community. I love this community so much. My family is from here; I didn’t particularly grow up here, but this is my home…”
Leadership LaRue graduates were recognized. Participants were Sarah Graham (Sunrise Manor), Kelly Clemons (Fort Knox Federal Credit Union), Rip Collins (LaRue County Schools), Angel French (Interim Chamber Director), Krista Levee (Chamber Director), Gina Lewis (Lincoln National Bank), Beth Roberts (Elizabethtown Community and Technical College), Melanie Wells (Melanie Wells Photography), and Jon Schuler (Magnolia Bank).