A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Bevin suspends awarding of Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonel commissions to ‘review criteria’

Governor Matt Bevin has suspended indefinitely the awarding of Kentucky’s highest honor, the commission of Kentucky Colonel until he “reviews” the criteria for awarding them.

One source told the NKyTribune that she had received word from the LRC that her pending nominations for Kentucky Colonel awards had be “put on hold until further notice.”

Only a governor can issue the awards, and only another Kentucky Colonel can recommend an individual. Links to nominate a recipient are on the Kentucky Colonels’ website.

About 85,000 individuals has received the distinction.


The governor’s spokesperson Jessica Ditto later said that Bevin is now issuing any Colonels’ distinctions for the time being and that “when we do we want to ensure we are honoring the mission of the order.”

The commission of Kentucky Colonel is the highest title of honor bestowed by the Governor of Kentucky. It is recognition of an individual’s noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to our community, state and nation.

The Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels is a voluntary philanthropic organization that was established in 1813. It has become a mostly ceremonial designation — and has been presented to celebrities and athletes, presidents and businesspeople around the county.

Ford Colonel

A sitting Kentucky governor noted in a letter to the Honorable Order that he commissioned individuals as Kentucky Colonels “as a Governor’s way of recognizing individuals for their service and accomplishments on behalf of others.”

If you’re a commissioned Colonel, you are a Kentucky Colonel for life. The Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels asks designees for tax-deductable contributions to the Good Works Program. It gives away about $1.5 million a year, mostly to scholarships and grants.

Says the Order’s website: Kentucky Colonels are unwavering in devotion to faith, family, commonwealth and country. Passionate about being compassionate. Proud leaders who are gentle but strong in will and commitment. The generosity of our members enables the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels – as a recognized 501 (c) (3) tax exempt non-profit organization – to reach out and care for our children, support those in need and preserve our rich heritage.

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  1. Douglas Combs says:

    Is there a list of all my colonels ?

  2. Wanda Hill says:

    Will Beshear reinstate the nomination process. I have a worthy nominee.

  3. Grizzly Gem says:

    I received this “honor” several decades ago, and kept in touch for some years, but then when I moved I lost touch and so when I tried to get back on the mailing list, the response was downright nasty. A woman said I hadn’t made any contributions in recent years so to hell with me. OK. No donations henceforth. Plenty of other good causes. And I do get to keep the certificate. So, stupid on their part.

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