Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

December 26, 2012

Long time cave guide hangs up his flashlight

By Joe Lewis - Staff Writer
Journal-Times

Dec. 26, 2012 —     “Thanks for being with us today.”

    For the better part of the past 16 years, that expression of gratitude has been the calling card of renowned cave guide Kenny McCoy, who Friday celebrated his retirement from Carter Caves State Resort Park.

    McCoy began his tenure with the park as a seasonal guide in the late 1970s, eventually holding a variety of jobs before becoming a full-time cave guide in 1996.

    Numerous staff, both past and present, turned out to express their affection for McCoy and the impact he has had not only on the park, but also on their lives.

    “Carter Caves has been very blessed not only to have Kenny as part of our staff but as part of our family,” said Chris Perry, park manager. “He’s a living legend in my book."

    "He’s the best advocate we’ve had for this park,” added Park Naturalist Coy Ainsley.

    Sen. Robin Webb was also on hand to present McCoy with a commendation from the Kentucky Senate, as well as a commission from Gov. Steve Beshear making him a Kentucky Colonel.

    Asked to reflect on his years at the park, McCoy cited his faith as the primary reason for his success and longevity.

    “It’s the Lord’s doing, not mine. If it wasn’t for Him I wouldn’t be here or do what I’ve done,” McCoy said.

    McCoy also urged park employees to stay close to each other and continue working not just as co-workers but as a family.

    “Don’t quit doing what you’re doing. You can’t make it without each other. We’ve got to have one another; we’ve got to pull together. That’s what I’ve done for the past 16 plus years. I’ve pulled together with all of you,” said McCoy.

        Joe Lewis can be reached at jlewis@journal-times.com or by telephone at 286-4201.