June 7, 2017 Edition

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Remembering a good friend

Gretchen Hunt

For approximately 15 years, Kathy Bradley represented Lawrence County and our local Chamber of Commerce well.

She began working for the Chamber when Tim Taylor was the president, and she stayed the course when she became the only paid employee and even when she was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year.

We, as a Chamber board, as well as our Chamber members, were shocked and saddened to find out on May 30, just three months into her battle, that she had taken a turn for the worse and passed away.

At her service on Thursday morning, Bro. Mark Harris, former pastor at First Baptist Church in Walnut Ridge, where Kathy was a member, asked those in attendance to give one word to describe her.

Among the words called out were "kind," "selfless" and "faithful." Bro. Harris spoke about Kathy's faithfulness to not only God, but also to her work in ministry and her work with the Chamber.

He noted that for years the one common person in every Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting photo was Kathy. When her treatments caused her to not be able to work full-time, she still set up the ribbon-cuttings and made sure I remembered to pick up the ribbon and scissors.

For me, a word that stands out is "steadfast." When Kathy made a commitment, you could count on her to be there and to have completed the tasks on her list.

In addition, Kathy was especially gifted at keeping others on track, as well. Email reminders about meetings, ribbon cuttings and special events came like clockwork. And, during my time as chair of the membership committee and this year as chair of the board, she was an invaluable asset.

In the days that have followed Kathy's passing, there have been things that had to be done regarding Chamber business, and I am in awe of how organized everything in the office is, including files on every Chamber event that has been held during her tenure.

Bro. Harris joked during the celebration of Kathy's life that she was famous for her lists, and double-checking her lists to be sure everything was done. He said one time she asked him if she had forgotten anything when planning an event, and he told her he had no idea because she was already way more detailed than he would have ever gotten on his own.

So many times over the past 10 or so years, I have called Kathy and had her answer and say, "I was just about to call you." I struggle as I write this with the realization that she will never send me another meeting agenda or remind me about another ribbon-cutting ceremony.

I agree wholeheartedly with Bro. Harris that Kathy put all that she had into everything she did. She was a great friend to me, and she was a great friend to Lawrence County.

(Note: Gretchen Hunt, who is editor of The Times Dispatch, is also serving as chair of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.)

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