In this political season, one is left to wonder if those engaged in the daily political attacks against their opponents realize that what most Kentuckians want for the future is a leader who is a true visionary, not someone who rattles off one-liners, one-liners which have no depth or understanding that Kentucky will still be around four years from now when the curtain comes down on the last day of their time in office if elected.
What most Kentuckians want for the future is a leader who understands the people not just on the eve of an election, but someone who doesn’t just drop by to hand out checks to local politicians in an effort to influence votes on the eve of an election. What most Kentuckians want for the future is a leader who really cares about them, their families, their children, their jobs, and yes, even the communities where they live, play, pray, and raise their families.
For those who say Kentucky has never had a true visionary, a leader who truly cared, and still cares about Kentuckians, then you have never had an opportunity to meet the man who changed not only the face and future of Kentucky, but a visionary, a leader who stepped on the stage more than forty years ago, a man who had a vision for the future of not only Kentucky, but especially the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. Even without mentioning his name, most people of the mountains know that that visionary, that leader for the people of Kentucky is Paul E. Patton, a man who sits in an office at Pikeville College where he still spends his days caring for people of Kentucky, the people of the mountains, still working as a visionary for the future of Kentucky.
Throughout his life as a visionary, Paul E. Patton adopted the words of Mahatma Ghandi as his motto for service to the people of Kentucky, the people of the mountains, words which define one of Kentucky’s great leaders, a few simple words which have defined the man of the mountains, a phrase which reads “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
For anyone who has met Paul E. Patton, for anyone who has taken the time to study his life of service, one thing stands out about this man of the mountains, this visionary, this leader who cared more about the future of the people of Kentucky, the future of the people of the mountains, is that Paul E. Patton has lived out a life of concern for the people, without any concern for who got the credit for what he accomplished. In the words of Ronald Reagan, “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets credit.” These few words describe Paul E. Patton, and his life of service.
In the end, as this political season enters its final days, all Kentuckians should ask themselves which leader will best be a visionary for the people of Kentucky, which leader will be willing to live out their political life caring more about the amount of good they can do for the people of Kentucky, the people of the mountains, than who gets credit for the amount of good they can for the future of all Kentuckians.
So, as I often do, and while I usually invite each of you to join me on my imaginary mountaintop, this time I would invite everyone to climb the 99 steps which rise up the mountainside which looks out over Pikeville and the mountains of Kentucky, 99 steps which rise up from Hambley Boulevard to the Pikeville College Administration building where you will find Paul E. Patton, a man who to this day still cares about the future of the people of Kentucky and the people of the mountains, a place where we can all shout out a loud thank you to a man who has spent decades as Kentucky’s visionary, a man who really cares about our families, our children, our jobs, and yes, even the communities where we live, play, pray, and raise our families.