The heroes among us

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By Robin Bass

In a celebration of hometown heroes, six Spencer Countians were inducted into the Signature HealthCare Hall of Fame last Tuesday. The second annual event provided an evening of reflection into how seemingly ordinary individuals can positively impact the lives of others.


Guest speaker Rep. Brad Montell said the honorees accurately represented what has become known as the greatest generation. They were farmers and shopkeepers. Factory workers and teachers. They grew up during the Great Depression. Fought in the war. They sacrificed during the hard times and then labored to help their nation recover economically.

“They were people who took pride in their families, in their country and in their communities. They were the fabric of our communities. They were you,” Montell said, speaking directly to the inductees.

Through their shining examples, Montell said the six honorees provided lessons for many generations to come. They were lessons about accepting personal responsibility, working hard and being frugal with what they earned.

“You didn’t think about how to get things done. You just did it,” said Montell. “We salute you and say thanks.”

Individuals saluted for their service to family, community and nation at the ceremony included community member Philip Ingram, Signature HealthCare employee Barbara Spencer and Signature HealthCare residents James Hamilton, Jane Peters, Donald Krider and Bertha Ashby.

Philip Ingram received honors for his professional accomplishments and community involvement. 

As a dedicated member of Plum Creek Baptist Church, Ingram has actively ministered to Signature HealthCare residents for 15 years.

“Phillip’s heart for Signature HealthCare’s residents went beyond the normal pulling together for the community to donate a large screen television, leather couch and a karaoke machine for the facility,” said Tom Rawlins, administrator of the facility. “For one resident Phillip also saw to it that his needs were met by donating a television, VCR and DVD player with the help of others from the community.”

Prior to retirement, the Spencer County native devoted 36 years working in steel fabrication after a brief career at Lincoln Bank. Ingram is a 1955 graduate of Taylorsville High School. He and wife, Elaine, have been married 47 years and they have three daughters and six grandchildren.

Barbara Spencer was inducted into the hall of fame for her professional accomplishments and community involvement. Spencer has been an employee of Signature HealthCare for the past 20 years.

“Barbara is very dedicated and hard working,” said Rawlins. “She has been a positive role model, as well as an inspiration to both her children and her grandchildren.”

The Taylorsville native began working as a certified nursing assistant at Kings Daughters Hospital in 1981. Twenty-eight years later, Spencer can still be found helping patients at the hospital now known as Jewish Hospital-Shelbyville. Additionally, Spencer devoted 10 years of service to Shelby Manor in Shelbyville.

Spencer single-handedly raised three sons and is a member of Second Baptist Church in Taylorsville.

James Hamilton was recognized for his professional accomplishments, distinguished military service and his community involvement.

Born in Altadena, Calif., Hamilton discovered early how to care for his family when he quit school to earn money to help support his four brothers and three sisters. In his mid-20s, Hamilton earned the title of sharp shooter while serving in the U.S. Army from 1956 to 1958. After his time in the service, Hamilton set out on an entrepreneurial path that resulted in the ownership of a successful asphalt paving company for 38 years.

Hamilton also revealed a love for volunteering while serving as president of the South Hills Little League. During his tenure, Hamilton initiated the construction of a new baseball field that was eventually named in his honor.

“When asked what he is most proud of, James stated his family,” said Rawlins.

Hamilton was married for 30 years and has three sons.

Jane Peters received honors for her professional accomplishments and charitable contributions as part of the Signature HealthCare Hall of Fame.

The Lexington native recalls spending her childhood as a student at St. Leo’s Catholic School. As a young woman, she made her way in the working world. Peters devoted 25 years of service to the Frankfort Distillery where she was responsible for labeling whiskey bottles.

Her greatest joy, however, “is being able to help others in a time of need,” said Rawlins.

Peters is a well-known supporter of the Crusade for Children. Each year she collects and donates money for the charitable organization. She also finds satisfaction in ensuring at least one child each year has Christmas presents under the tree.

As a resident of the nursing facility, Peters gets involved by serving as resident council vice president and healthy hands deputy.

“Miss Jane is most proud of being a child of God and being able to help others,” said Rawlins.

Donald Krider was recognized for his distinguished military service and professional accomplishments.

During his 20 years of service to the U.S. Navy, Krider received many awards displaying exemplary character. Among the accolades, Krider was awarded the 6th Fleet award for disbursing excellence five years in a row. He also was presented the U.N. Korean Service award and recognized for 20 years of good conduct.

After retiring from active duty, Krider joined the reserves while pursuing careers with the IRS and the U.S. Census Bureau – adding another 50 years of service with the U.S. Government.

“He was very dedicated and worked hard to honor our country,” said Rawlins.

Krider and his wife, Patsy, have three children and two grandchildren. He is a graduate of Eastern High School in Jefferson County and earned an associate degree in management at Sullivan University. Krider is native to Atlanta, Ga.

Bertha Ashby was inducted into the hall of fame for her professional accomplishments and community involvement.

The Shelbyville native is a 1949 graduate of the Lincoln Institute in Lincoln, Ky. and earned her nursing degree from the Red Cross Hospital in 1951. Ashby devoted 35 years to the nursing profession. First, at Pavillion Healthcare and then, for Christian Health Care Center.

“Bertha belonged to several clubs,” said Rawlins of her civil-mindedness.

In addition to being a member of The Marlow Social Club, Ashby served as the vice president of the Rooster Channel Chanters CB club, vice president of the Forest Tabernacle Baptist Choir and president of the church’s missionary program.

Ashby and late husband Frank Ashby, Jr., have four children, two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

The Signature HealthCare Hall of Fame originally honored only residents of the nursing facility, but over the years has grown to include employees and members of the community. This year marks the second time the Spencer County facility has held the event. Last year, seven people were inducted.

“Our mission is to do it a little bit different than others,” said Corporate Regional Human Resource  director Dave Baumgartner. “We are here to change perspectives. We are here to serve the ones that first served us.”