HENDERSON – Longtime Henderson resident and Vietnam Veteran Jim Hanley has been named Kyndle’s Distinguished Citizen of the Year. The honor was presented Monday night at Kyndle’s annual dinner held at Holy Name School.
The award presenters said Hanley’s tireless work on behalf of veterans and his efforts in organizing Henderson’s annual Memorial Day cross display are among the reasons he was named Distinguished Citizen.
Jim Hanley served in the United States Marine Corps in Vietnam, but his service to his country and community has never ended. He is currently Commander of American Legion Worsham Post 40 in Henderson and he doubles as the post Service Officer. In that role he has helped countless Veterans and dependents of Veterans to achieve deserved VA benefits, death benefits, and grave markers, among many other things.
Hanley is also the current Commander of the Legion Honor Guard, volunteers who provide military rites at funerals of Veterans in all kinds of weather year round. The Honor Guard also functions as the color guard for many, many events and ceremonies in our area.
Jim volunteers untold hours to help Veterans not the least of which are those Veteran residents at the Western Kentucky Veterans Center in Hanson, Kentucky. He is a tireless worker on Henderson’s Memorial Day Services including overseeing the placement of over 5000 crosses inscribed with the names of deceased Henderson County Veterans in Central Park each year.
HENDERSON – Had Henderson resident Jim Hanley known what was going to happen Monday night, he probably wouldn’t have attended Kyndle’s annual dinner.
The Vietnam veteran, who spends much of his time working as a friend and activist for other veterans, became the focus of the large assembly when he was presented the Distinguished Citizen of the Year award.
“When we asked his daughters to describe him, they teared up and said, ‘impossible’ which is no greater testimony,” said Joel Hopper who presented the award. “Our Distinguished Citizen grew up in Henderson and attended Holy Name School. Following in the footsteps of his mother’s side of the family and his eigh uncles, our citizen joined the United States Marine Corps.”
After returning from service, Hopper said, Hanley married and raised five children.
“Much of our Distinguished Citizen’s nature developed through his military experience,” Hopper said. “While much of the world struggles with veteran issues, our citizen chooses not to struggle, but chooses to address the issues. He took classes from Veteran’s Affairs so he could help other veterans prepare forms and papers to receive veteran’s assistance. He currently serves as the commander of the VFW [sic] American Legion honor guard. He frequently visits the Veteran’s Center in Hanson, Kentucky.”
“He leads the efforts in putting up and taking down the white memorial crosses in Central Park to recognize the deceased veterans from Henderson County,” Hopper said. “He also makes sure that no veteran in county nursing homes are forgotten at Christmas. He shops for them, wraps for them and organizes other veterans to help in the delivery.”
“Our citizen epitomizes the unsung hero. A person who wants no recognition, who just wants to make a difference,” Hopper said.
In receiving the award, Hanley said, “I don’t know what to say. I don’t know. Thank you all very much. This is a good honor, but I have a lot of dedicated guys who help me and I want to recognize them too and my family.”