Kentucky Colonel is the highest title of honor bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and City Commissioner Pamela Smith-Wright has been President of the Lady Kentucky Colonels, an extension of the Kentucky Colonels, for over 15 years. This year, Smith-Wright says, the Lady Kentucky Colonels have decided to implement some new ideas for the philanthropic organization.
The Lady Kentucky Colonels meet twice a year and, at one of their recent meetings, the community of women decided to issue their first scholarship on behalf of the organization.
“We have members from all over the place. We meet twice a year at our Derby Luncheon and at our Christmas luncheon,” Smith-Wright said. “This year, I thought we needed to do more to be recognized. I thought we needed to do something for the community, so I suggested we start a scholarship.”
Smith-Wright and the Lady Kentucky Colonels were able to fund a $1,000 scholarship in their first year of implementing the new idea, and that money will go toward a student attending one of the local colleges, including Brescia University, Kentucky Wesleyan College, WKU-Owensboro and Owensboro Community and Technical College.
“The scholarship is open to any of the Lady Colonels’ family members. If we don’t have anybody from there to give it to, we’ll find another student who could use the money,” Smith-Wright said.
The scholarship money will be given to a selected student’s school, and administration will apply the funding toward whatever they deem necessary, whether it be books, tuition costs or other needs.
Smith-Wright said her group has also funded a Lady Kentucky Colonels Art Gallery at the Owensboro Convention Center, where a wall inside the building displays various artwork from local artists in the community.
“We’ve paid to keep that wall up [over the last four years],” Smith-Wright said.
Smith-Wright said the Kentucky Lady Colonels have 158 members right now, but the group is hoping to gain more members in the near future. Those interested in joining must be a Kentucky Colonel in good standing and pay $15 in annual dues toward the Kentucky Lady Colonels. Smith-Wright said it normally takes around a month for applicants to have all their information processed by the Kentucky governor and for their eligibility to be determined.
Anyone young or old can apply to become a Kentucky Colonel. Smith-Wright said one of the organization’s longest standing members just celebrated her 99th birthday on St. Patrick’s Day.
“She lives right behind me, and I drive her to the luncheons every year,” Smith-Wright said. “She loves it. She lives for those luncheons.”
Being a Lady Colonel is a great way for women to come together and discuss ideas and methods by which to better their communities in giving back, Smith-Wright said. It’s also a great networking and empowerment tool for women from all walks of life.
“We are alive, and well, and doing things in this community,” Smith-Wright said.
Those wishing to join the Lady Kentucky Colonels can reach out to Smith-Wright at Smithwrightp@aol.com for more information.