Long before I entered this world, my great-grandfather, Vance Armentrout, was making his mark. At the ripe young age of 85, he retired from being an associate editor at The Courier-Journal which was back in 1963 – four years before I was born. His biggest mark on history was when he refused to disclose a source. In 1934, he opted not to reveal to a Kentucky House of Representatives committee, who wrote a letter to the Point of View column attacking the administration of Governor Ruby Laffoon. His actions resulted in an hour in jail and a $25 fine. A year later, the legislature passed a law establishing the right of newspapermen to refuse to disclose sources of information. I was three when he died.
I am sure I heard stories about him, but as child I wasn’t interested in the legacy that anyone passed down, for that matter. Now, that all my storytellers are gone, the only thing I am left with is a yellowed obituary dedicated to his life in ten paragraphs. He was a pioneer and while I am not quite the caliber of a journalist that he was, I would like to think that he would be proud of my own contribution to his old stomping ground.
There is something about creating a legacy. It doesn’t need to be as grand as my great-grandfather, but the ability to make an impression that lasts with everyone you meet, seems like a pretty good start.
As I begin to close a chapter on ten years of part of my legacy, I would like to think that my contribution meant something. You see, my words were only a small part of the bigger picture. Meeting new people and getting to know them on a deeper level partnered with providing a wonderful experience – that’s the larger chunk. My great-grandfather was described as a “droll and soft-spoken”. He was a quiet presence with a bold demeanor and he left quite a legacy. I am still creating mine.