Signature HealthCare honors local ‘heroes’

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By The Staff

On a special night at Signature HealthCare of Spencer County, four unique residents and two dedicated employees were honored for their achievements and dedication.

Plaques honoring “Hometown Heroes” were presented last Thursday to Mildred Browning, 85, of Shelby County; Lera Welsh, 92, a native of Jeffersontown; Margaret Dickerson, 98, who was born in Mount Washington and Vernon King, 94, originally from Knoxville, Tenn.

Staff members receiving awards were Teresa Riggs Wayne, chosen the “Stakeholder,” and Kathie Wright, named the “Community Leader.” The two were nominated by the staff of the 75-room nursing facility for their volunteerism, professionalism, accomplishments and, when applicable, military service.

Plaques matching those received by the honorees will join the others that have been mounted on the wall of the building’s “Hall of Fame Cafe.”

Dickerson, currently the eldest resident, had nothing but praise for the facility located across the road from Spencer County High School at the base of Anderson’s Knob. When congratulated for being honored, she asked “What’s the occasion, for being old? I’m certainly not young.”

Family members confirmed that her sense of humor hasn’t waned with maturity.

Taylorsville Mayor Don Pay read and presented a proclamation to Administrator Tom Rawlins praising the “Hometown Heroes” program. He also gave Dickerson a kiss.

Rawlins said Browning was being honored for professional and personal accomplishments. He noted that she worked in the Shelby County grocery store of her parents, Edna and Norman Smith, which was also where she met her husband, Harry Browning. She and Harry were married 50 years and operated two grocery stores. Mildred also was a nurse’s aide.

Honored for professional and distinguished military service, King was a staff sergeant for the U.S. Air Corp and during World War II was an aerial gunner on a B-17 bomber. He flew 30 missions and received several air medals and Oak Leaf Clusters, but his most important decoration was the Distinguished Flying Cross for Heroism.

The carpenter and contractor was responsible for building 60 houses to help people who normally wouldn’t be able to afford “a nice home,” Rawlins said. “He was selling homes for little above cost.”

King said he was most proud of his family and service to his country. King was also a country-western singer on radio programs with Chet Atkins, Archie Campbell and others. His son, Barry, is a former member of the Charlie Daniels band.

Welsh was honored for professional and personal accomplishments, including the raising of more than 200 foster children. Rawlins said Welsh owned and managed an apartment complex of 60 apartments in Louisville, but is most pleased with being a parent and raising two children. Welsh says she is extremely proud of her children and grandchildren.

Dickerson was also an honoree for professional and personal accomplishments.

“Growing up, Margaret knew that she wanted to become a nurse,” Rawlins said. She received her training and became a registered nurse at General Hospital in Louisville, which is now University Hospital. Rawlins says Margaret and her husband, Charles, had three sons — Charles, Bob and Jim. After a brief retirement at 65, Margaret returned to nursing at Louisville’s Jewish Hospital until she was 70.

The Mount Washington High School graduate was a gardener and enjoyed crocheting blankets for her family and friends. At last count, Margaret had seven grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.