The Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels

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Official emblem of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels

The Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels has a long history of charity relief with unique fund-raising solutions. Kentucky Colonels come from every corner of the world.

A Kentucky Colonel is an individual who has received the honorary title of “Kentucky Colonel” only when nominated by another Colonel and awarded by the current governor of the state of Kentucky. Holding no military rank, a Kentucky Colonel becomes a member of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, a commission held for life.

Kentucky Colonels were originally from the state of Kentucky but today they come from every corner of the world. What unites these honorary Colonels? Their long history is as colorful as their name.

Short History of Kentucky Colonels: Civil War Colonels, Today’s Colonels

Kentucky Colonels are a wildly diverse group of motivated people who care about helping the needy. According to the Kentucky Colonel website, the title originated in 1813 after the Kentucky Militia had completed a successful campaign during the war of 1812. Isaac Shelby, the Governor of Kentucky, asked one of his officers to serve as an Aide-de-Camp on his staff. Charles S. Todd was given the rank of Colonel. He was the first Kentucky Colonel.

Those early Colonels were actually military men, though as time passed, this wasn’t a necessary association for Kentucky Colonels.

In the late 1920s a small group of Colonels banded together to create a new group that ultimately became the charitable society of today. While fund raising and charity relief are top concerns, social events also play an important role. Networking with others of like minds has always been a vital link in raising funds to help those in need.

The Kentucky Colonels held the first Kentucky Derby Eve banquet dinner in 1932 to generate both awareness and funds to benefit charity. This was just the beginning of the honorable order of Kentucky Colonels and their conscious efforts to help those who couldn’t help themselves. The parties were a high-profile way to get the attention of those who could afford to donate to charity.

Kentucky Colonels and Non-Profit Fund Raising

Going strong for ninety-six years, this organization’s mission is simple: raise money for charities while raising the standards of education in the state of Kentucky.

Not only are the people of Kentucky recipients of this good will, but those who are in need around the world also benefit. Colonels come from every state in the nation and dozens of countries abroad.

Famous Kentucky Colonels

Receiving no pay or benefits other than the title with membership in the “Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels”, recipients become part of a larger-than-life membership with other famous and the not-so-famous Colonels.

Some famous Colonels include:

  • President Bill Clinton
  • President George H.W. Bush
  • President Lyndon B. Johnson
  • Bob Hope
  • Pope John Paul II
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Sarah Palin
  • Elvis Presley
  • Marie Osmond
  • Jerry Lewis
  • Phyllis Diller
  • Ansel Adams

From heads of state to photographers, comedians, singers, poets, boxers, musicians, businessmen and actors, there are as many kinds of Kentucky Colonels as there are ways to help.

While the Kentucky Colonels of modern-day America (and the world) can meet each other at the Kentucky Derby Eve Dinner or barbecue to fellowship and enjoy the festivities, most Colonels will tell you, it all boils down to one simple truth; Kentucky Colonels care about helping others and actively demonstrate that good will.