The title Kentucky Colonel dates back to around 1813. The Kentucky Militia had just returned from a highly successful campaign during the War of 1812. When the Militia disbanded, Governor Isaac Shelby commissioned Charles S. Todd, one of his officers in the campaign, as an Aide-de-Camp on the governor’s staff. Todd’s official rank and grade was Colonel.
While early Colonels actually served military roles, the position took on a more ceremonial function in the late 1800’s. Colonels in uniform attended functions at the Governor’s mansion and stood as symbolic guards at state events and the like.
In the late 1920’s, a group of Colonels started talking about forming a “society.” Governor Flem Sampson gave his blessings to the project and late one Saturday afternoon in May of 1931, the first meeting of what would eventually become the Kentucky Colonels was held in Frankfort.
“ ‘Formulate a society to more closely band together this group into a great non-political brotherhood for the advancement of Kentucky and Kentuckians,’ Governor Sampson challenged. And they did. Minutes of the early meetings confirm that charitable programs were to be a central part of the organization. Social events would also play an important role. The group held a Derby Eve dinner for the first time in 1932.” (From kycolonels.org/about-us/history)
A decade ago, Walter Butler III started his computer business in a 10’ x 10’ booth at Towne Center Mall. Throughout the years, Butler has become well-known in his community involvement and outreach. As well, his business has thrived.
These days, Butler’s shop has grown to require more real estate at the Towne Square Mall, and a large portion of the crowd that gathered to witness his acceptance of the Kentucky Colonel Honor are devoted customers.
The ceremony opened with entertainment by four members of the Hernando Harmonizers, and was attended by other Kentucky Colonel honorees, along with a number of friends and family in the crowd.
Butler, a Desert Storm veteran accepted this honor by saying, “This award, I am so humbled and so honored to be receiving. It’s a difficult award to receive because you have to tell everyone what you’ve done in order to receive it. So many times we are just moving out of the goodness of our heart and we are helping and extending our hand because we are in a position to do so.
We know that there is need throughout the globe, in the US, in our state, in our counties, in our towns, in our neighborhoods. A lot of the need is identifiable and I feel because I have been blessed. It is my duty, it is my honor to extend my hand out, and help those who are in need.”
Butler acknowledged the crowd in attendance as being many people who he’s assisted over the years. He also praised his wife of fifteen years, “Behind every great man stands a great woman.”
“My promise is to move forward and continue to work harder than I have before to make a difference in our communities and our town, and to help young children that are in need.”
Correction: The name of the Kentucky Colonel Honoree was mistakenly listed as William Butler III rather than Walter Butler III.