While there may not have been the politicians pontificating or the large crowd congregating together on the picnic grounds of St. Jerome Catholic Church, its 140th Fancy Farm Picnic still featured a slice of familiarity with the Pioneer Award presentation.
This year’s winners were Brian and Tammy Murphy and a posthumous award for the late Kevin Curtsinger.
The award, which was established in 1988 by the late Bob and Pat Spaulding, recognizes Graves County citizens who contribute to the growth of the county’s communities, education and/or business and industry, use their talents to help the young, elderly or needy, and/or inspire others to be good stewards, according to Pioneer Award committee chair Gayle Robbins.
The Murphys are both Fancy Farm volunteer firefighters and have chaired the Fancy Farm Independence Day Parade for years, while also working with the St. Jerome Fancy Farm Picnic. They have coached Little League softball and, with their daughters, have delivered meals to the elderly and shut-ins, and place flags on the graves of veterans each Memorial Day.
Tammy, who is EMT trained, has worked at New Pathways and they have supported the home with food, fundraising and providing field trips to the firehouse. She has also taught Sunday School and been a volunteer with St. Jerome’s Camp Connect, which helps people in need.
She and Brian, who is a member of the Knights of Columbus, also are foster parents and have helped numerous young children.
“I am in awe that in their young lives, they have given more of themselves to help others than many individuals do in a lifetime,” the nomination for the Murphys read.
After the presentation Saturday morning, Tammy Murphy deflected the praise.
“I definitely don’t feel like we’re deserving,” she said. “There’s so many good people in this community, in general. My parents, Rosie and Raymond Hayden, they are exceptional and always taught me to do for others first. My husband is just wonderful. He goes above and beyond for people.”
Curtsinger, who died in May, also served with the volunteer fire department in his hometown of Wingo and supported that community and all of Graves County. For more than 20 years, he served as a member of the Mayfield Rotary Club and helped raise more than $20,000 over the past three years for its scholarship fund.
Curtsinger was also an advocate for education, having served on the Graves County Board of Education for 16 years. He was also involved in various projects through his church of Pryorsburg Independent Methodist.
His wife, Erica, said it was a bittersweet experience accepting the Pioneer Award.
“I really appreciate all the recognition that everyone gave him, but he was one who served in silence and he probably wouldn’t even like this,” she said with a laugh.
She said his example was to look for any way — even small ways — to help others.
“The big takeaway is that you don’t have to make a grand gesture. Just look for those who need help and when you see someone, give them that little bit you have,” she added. “That’s the way we keep this going and that’s the way we’re all pioneers.”
Committee member Darvin Towery said holding the Pioneer Award presentation was another way to keep a sense of normalcy with the annual picnic as an extension of how people in Graves County go about their lives doing the day-in and day-out things to help their neighbors.
“Even though things aren’t normal, recognizing people in Graves County who serve our community and make our community better is still important,” he said.