The Kenton County Pioneer Award is bestowed on living residents of Kenton County who have a record of outstanding service to the community and exemplify the highest standards of personal integrity. It honors those who demonstrate servant leadership combined with awareness of the needs of fellow residents.
The Kenton County Ethics Commission reviewed this year’s nominations and identified five deserving individuals for final consideration by the Kenton County Fiscal Court.
The 2020 Kenton County Pioneer Award honorees are Garren Colvin, William Funke, William Goetz, Arnold Simpson, and Burr Travis.
Garren Colvin, CEO of St. Elizabeth Healthcare, energetically and decisively addressed health issues in Northern Kentucky such as the opioid crisis, lung cancer, and COVID-19. Garren is also a key leader of the Horizon Community Fund, 1NKY, and the Northern Kentucky Regional Alliance.
William Funke has served on the Kenton County Fair Board since 1990, and is a key leader in recruiting volunteers for the event. He and his wife, Rita, helped plan the inaugural Kenton County Farm Tour and remain active in promoting the history of Kenton County. He is past President of the Northern Kentucky Cattleman’s Association and an active advocate of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) with Simon Kenton High School.
William Goetz served as a Member of City Council, Mayor, and City Administrator for the City of Fort Mitchell. He is a founding member of the Kenton County Mayors’ Group, which was established to promote cooperation and communication amongst Kenton County cities. He has been active in the Municipal League of Northern Kentucky, the Northern Kentucky Area Planning Council, and the Kentucky Municipal Risk Management Association.
Arnold Simpson served as a member the Kentucky House of Representatives for 24 years, representing much of Covington, Ludlow, and Park Hills. Prior to that, he served as City Manager and City Solicitor for the City of Covington. Arnold has served as a board member for numerous organizations serving Kenton County and the larger Northern Kentucky community.
Burr Travis serves as a volunteer assistant prosecutor for the Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Office specifically to address defendants charged with addiction-related crimes. He helped establish the Heroin Expedited Addiction Recovery & Treatment (HEART) program, which has been recognized at the state and national level. Burr is also involved in several community service organizations, including Transitions, NorthKey, 9th Street Baptist Church, The Grateful Life Center, and the Life Learning Center.
Pictures of the honorees, along with a description of their contributions to the community, will be displayed in the lobby of the Kenton County Government Center. The Kenton County Pioneers will also be recognized in print for their accomplishments.
Pioneer Award honorees in 2019 were Jim Claypool, Mary Hulefeld, Rick Hulefeld, and John Salyers.
Pioneer Award honorees in 2018 were Ralph Drees, Mer Grayson, Robert Hoffer, Kim Kitchen, Ed Schroeder, and Parker William.