FRANKFORT, Ky.  (KT) – The 23 inductees to the 2017 Kentucky Veterans Hall of Fame received a grand pre-announcement surprise when the Fastrax parachute team dropped onto the front lawn of the State Capitol on Tuesday carrying large American, Purple Heart and Veterans flags with them.


It was a fitting display since the inductees served in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines in such conflicts as World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, Gulf War and Iraq. They are being recognized not only for their service, but for contributions made to their communities after leaving the military. 

The inductees range in rank from private to colonel and some of the awards will be made posthumously.

Gov. Matt Bevin, an Army veteran, thanked them for their service upon making the announcement in the Rotunda.

“Let us not forget, let us always remember, let us always respect and honor and appreciate, the men and women who allow us to say with absolute confidence, that we live in ‘The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave,’” the governor said.

“Every veteran is important,” said Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton, who served seven years in the Air Force.  She said many veterans tell her they didn’t do anything exciting. “But I say, if you served your nation in military uniform, you are to be commended.”

Retired Army Brigadier General Norman Arflack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs, said in addition to the veterans, it’s also important to thank their families. 

“Without their support, none of us would be where we are today.  Thank you for allowing us to do the things we do, to make us successful and to make us look good from behind the scenes.”

“You are the inspiration, for not only elected officials like myself, but every Kentuckian,” said Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes to the honorees. “You have served your country and you have come back to make sure that the communities here in the Commonwealth of Kentucky continue to grow.”

The 2017 Kentucky Veterans Hall of Fame inductees are:

  • Pvt. Troy Bowling, Lexington
  • Lt. Col. David Carter, Lexington
  • Staff Sgt. Carroll Ewing, Florence
  • Cpl. Oakley Farris, Covington
  • Sgt. 1st Class Kirby Fint, Jr., Frankfort
  • Sgt. Maj. Charles Fraley, Radcliff
  • Staff Sgt. Daniel Houston, Glencoe
  • Airman Raymond Hughes, Petersburg
  • Cpl. Creed Johns, Nicholasville
  • Sgt. Jack Mattingly, Harrodsburg
  • Col. Willis McKee, Sr., Shelbyville
  • Sgt. Donald McMillian, Walton
  • Col. Ronald Ray, Crestwood
  • Maj. Ralph Reese, Radcliff
  • Sgt. 1st Class Richard Seekman, Jr., Radcliff
  • Sgt. Eric Shrader, Hardinsburg
  • Senior Master Sgt. Michael Sparks, Paris


This is the fourth class of the Kentucky Veterans Hall of Fame. The 2017 induction

ceremony will be Sept. 29-30 at the Frankfort Civic Center.

For more information or to nominate a Kentucky veteran to the Hall of Fame, visit