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Every day is Veterans Day for Kentucky Power’s Bobby Reynolds

by on January 11, 2012

Bobby Reynolds, a Kentucky Power line crew supervisor who serves on the Governor's Advisory Board for Veterans Affairs, was instrumental in raising funds for thiis monument honoring two Greenup County residents who received the Congressional Medal of Honor for their heroism in the Korean War. The monument is located in the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery Northeast.

WURTLAND, Ky. – – – According to the calendar, Veterans Day comes just once a year, on November 11. But if you’re Bobby Reynolds, a line crew supervisor with Kentucky Power, nearly every day is Veterans Day.

That’s because Reynolds is involved in a host of activities and organizations supporting veterans’ causes. And, needless to say, he’s a veteran himself, having served for four years with the U. S. Army and for 22 years with the Army Reserves, where he held the rank of sergeant major.

A 30-year employee with Kentucky Power, Reynolds interrupted his line crew work twice for tours of duty in Iraq. He served as a combat engineer during his 2003 tour of duty in Iraq, then worked as a truck driver during his second tour of duty in 2004-05.

Today, Reynolds serves as one of the members of the Governor’s Advisory Board for Veterans Affairs, and he was recently reappointed to a second two-year term on the board by Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear.

“Serving on the Governor’s Advisory Board is something I really enjoy,” said Reynolds, who represents the AMVETS

The Congressional Medal of Honor monument was dedicated on the same day as the dedication of the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery Northeast.

organization of Kentucky on the board. “I talk to the veterans here in the Ashland area, and I attend the quarterly meetings of AMVETS’ state officers, and I relay their thoughts and concerns to the people in Frankfort.

“I’ve met Governor Beshear – – he comes to some of our quarterly Advisory Board meetings – – and I can honestly say he’s a very big supporter of Kentucky’s veterans. Then, of course, part of my job is to convey what I learn in Frankfort to back the AMVETS organization.”

The Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs recently opened a cemetery for veterans and their families in Greenup County, not far from Ashland, and Reynolds has been instrumental in efforts to provide proper recognition for some of Greenup County’s war heroes.

“A veterans cemetery for this area is something that has been anticipated for the last 20 years, and it finally became reality in the fall of 2010,” Reynolds said. “The state set a goal of establishing a veterans cemetery within 75 miles of every resident of Kentucky, and this is the fourth of the five cemeteries that are being established.”

Reynolds said the 78-acre Kentucky Veterans Cemetery Northeast, built with $6.1 million in funding from the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs, already has more than 100 veterans and family members interred.

“Greenup County is the only county in the United States that has two Congressional Medal of Honor recipients from the same war, and I was asked to head up a 10-member committee to raise funds for a monument to honor those two gentlemen who both served in Korea,” he said.

“It took us 18 months, but we were able to raise the money for a beautiful Congressional Medal of Honor memorial that is the centerpiece of the cemetery,” Reynolds noted. “We set up a 501(c) 3 organization and the whole nine yards. One of the Medal of Honor recipients, Ernest West, still lives in Wurtland, but the other, John Collier, was killed in action in Korea.”

Sculpted from black speckled granite, the monument measures eight feet tall by five feet wide and is nearly a foot thick. Perched atop the monument are bronze, full-sized statues of both West and Collier, in action poses. “These bronze statues are so detailed, you can even see their fingernails,” Reynolds said. “We are very proud of that monument.”

The Congressional Medal of Honor recipients’ monument was dedicated on the same day that the veterans’ cemetery was dedicated. And now, Reynolds said, a second large monument is nearly ready to be added to the landscape.

“I have a long-time friend by the name of Bill Kelly who fought in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II. Bill is 88 now, and he I had been talking about creating a Battle of the Bulge monument for quite some time,” Reynolds explained. “Earlier this year, we decided that now was the time to do it. So I formed a committee in May – – only three members this time – – and began raising funds for it.”

A veteran of two tours of duty in Iraq, Bobby Reynolds has 30 years of service with Kentucky Power and has been a line crew supervisor since 2005.

The Battle of the Bulge monument that will grace the veterans cemetery will be six feet tall and five feet wide. “It’s cut in a very unique shape. The front of the monument will have the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge emblem and an American flag, while the back will have a brief history of the battle – – about 10 lines of text – – and a quote from Winston Churchill.”

Reynolds said the battle monument is nearly completed and will be shipped to Greenup County in early 2012. “I don’t think it would be a good idea to bring all these older veterans out in the snow and cold, though, so we’ll wait until spring to have a formal dedication.”

But that’s not all. This Wurtland native envisions a Vietnam War memorial gracing the cemetery someday and he admits he’s already “started shaking the bushes” to generate support for the idea. “It’s going to happen,” he promised. Someday, he would also like to create a coffee-table book of photographs of veterans memorials in the Tri-State (Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia) area.

In his leisure time, Reynolds is also a district officer with the Veterans of Foreign Wars and a member of the local American Legion. He admits that being involved with the Governor’s Advisory Board, the veterans organizations and the cemetery consumes a great deal of his free time, but he insists there’s nothing he’d rather do.

“I love doing this,” he enthused. “I love recognizing these old heroes. I appreciate what they’ve done. It’s good for the community – – it helps bring us all together. The people who served in World War II and Korea aren’t going to be with us forever. I want to give them the recognition they deserve while at least some of them are still with us.”

From → Retiree Profiles

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