HAZARD — Hazard native John David Goodlette was inducted in the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame, Class of 2015. The induction ceremony was held at the Kentucky Aviation Museum in Lexington on Nov. 7. Goodlette’s family attended a family reception held at the Challenger Learning Center on Nov. 9.
“About five years ago, I was contacted by Mark and Alice Palmer about John Goodlette. They told us a little bit of his story. I don’t think it quite sinked in when I first heard the story, but they wondered if we might be interested in some of the professional items from John Goodlette,” said Director of the Challenger Learning Center (CLC) Tom Craven.
Craven pointed out during the reception that once CLC had received Goodlette’s items, and when they started looking through them, they found out what Goodlette had accomplished during his life’s work.
“I started asking around, people around Hazard, and nobody seemed to know too much about his story. So I felt, and CLC felt, that it was important that we get this story out there. We always talk about role models, that our young people need role models, the John Goodlette story is a role model for the young people in our area,” he said.
Craven said that CLC was honored to be able to put together a display for Goodlette’s professional items, to make a documentary about his life and work and a comic book of Goodlette’s life that CLC made. The comic books were on display during the reception, and Craven urged those in attendance to pick a copy up. The CLC is making attempts at getting the comic books in the library and in the public schools.
“We were able to nominate John Goodlette for Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame and as you know, this summer he was voted in,” said Craven.
Donna McClure, a field representative for Sen. Mitch McConnell, helped get Goodlette recognized in the Congressional Record.
“This is a tribute to John David Goodlette and it is the highest honor a United States Senator can bestowal upon someone in his community… It was an honor to be able to do this. Congratulations and thank you to the Goodlette family for sharing your memories and history with the people back here in Hazard,” she said.
Mayor Jimmy Lindon commissioned members of the Goodlette family with becoming Duke’s and Duchess’s of Hazard.
“Over the years, you look at some of the things that people here in Hazard has accomplished. They go away, maybe they don’t come back home, but when they come back home they have been very successful,” said Mayor Lindon.
Other members of the community in attendance was Perry County Judge-Executive Sott Alexander, State Representative Fitz Steele and Sen. Brandon Smith.
“Somethings are so important to us, they are so much a fabric of our community that words need to be said and they need to be recognized. This is one of them. The Goodlette family have impacted and affected so many of us growing up around them and living with them, knowing them like we do. We thank you all for that. You all now that your family has moved away from stuff like that, it still doesn’t take our attachment to you, it doesn’t make it any less you just become ambassadors to this region like many of us are. You are great ambassadors,” said Sen. Smith.
Nick Cannon, field representative for Congressman Hal Rogers, spoke at the reception and had this to say about Goodlette’s story.
“It’s an amazing story that your family has and an amazing legacy. It is actually something we are trying to build on as we work on SOAR. A lot of that is focused on technology. To get people to think outside the box. What an example, you couldn’t think of a better example than what your family has done, with what John did. I’m glad to have you gathered here tonight, and your contributions to this area and legacy. I would like to personally thank you,” said Cannon.
Alison Palmer and Sarah Gibson spoke at the end of the reception.
“We are pretty overwhelmed by all of your support. We are just so grateful for the support of our dad and his story. Thank you to Tom. We had the chance to do a tour today of the center, we knew it was a special place but this is just an absolute gem. It is just incredible. I’m so excited to see some of the representatives here who can go back and keep the funding coming because we need to make sure this place thrives, so we can get more John Goodelttes in Hazard and the area. So, we just want to thank you. It is just an unbelievable support from the city,” said Palmer.
TJ Caudill can be reached at 606-436-5771 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.