Good Neighbor Awards presented to three Clark residents

Published 12:42 pm Tuesday, October 18, 2016

On Oct. 3, the Southwest Clark Neighborhood Association (SWCNA) presented their inaugural Good Neighbor Award to three long-time residents: Pat Shely, Joan Mayer and Maxine Shearer, all of whom have had family residing in southwest Clark County since the early 1800’s.
“Each award recipient has a long storied history in Clark County, are pillars of our community, and are most deserving. This award is only a small token of our gratitude to these three lovely ladies,” SWCNA President Deborah Garrison said.
Shelgrew up in Lexington but often visited her grandfather, Hubbard Stevens, (Boonesboro descendant and Kentucky state legislator 1901-1909) who resided at current day Kettle Springs Farm. Over the years, Pat became a talented athlete and champion in tennis, fencing, swimming and golf, and was one of the first females allowed into the Civil Air Patrol with one of her many infamous stunts as flying a small plane under the Old Boonesboro Bridge and over her grandfather’s nearby farm. Prior to her graduation from the University of Kentucky in 1946, she was a champion swimmer, golfer and tennis player. She later went on to become a fencing champion as well as and went on to tennis coach at Morehead State University. At the peak of her career, she taught at the Teachers College of Columbia University in New York. Pat ended her academic career in 1963 upon the passing of her grandfather and returned to Southwest Clark County to run the family farm and in her own words, she “worked it as hard as I could.” A newspaper article in the Winchester Sun in the 1980’s was entitled “[F]arming has traditionally been a man’s field — but not anymore.” Presenter Clare Sipple said she had met many people who were first introduced to Lower Howard’s Creek by Pat, as she led them down to “Happy Hollow” to investigate the old stone buildings and lush creek valleys. She was not just a good steward of her land, but a generous host who shared her home, her land, and her interesting stories.
Mayer grew up exploring southwest Clark County from her parents’ home on Combs Ferry Road whose family connections go all the way back to Fort Boonesboro. Joan’s parents were strongly associated with the Iroquois Hunt and she spent many hours in the saddle on horseback exploring the thousands of acres that used to comprise the hunt country. She was elected master of the Iroquois Hunt after her father retired from that position. Joan doesn’t just know this neighborhood as a “windshield view” from the county roads; she knows the entire area like the back of her hand. Joan’s activism toward the preservation of agricultural land is heartfelt: She has observed the loss of farmland to residential land firsthand and was instrumental in organizing the Southwest Clark Neighborhood Association. Her roots are very deep in this part of Clark County, and her appreciation of the area is profound.
Shearer studied to become a master gardener and has been an active member in the Clark County Garden Club for years, helping with many projects, including the rain garden at the Generations Center, butterfly gardens at the extension office and two rain gardens at the Capt. Billy Bush Riverside Park. Maxine is an expert on growing herbs and helped to establish the Kentucky Herb Association, which she served as president for many years. Her Olde Rock Barnand Bush house has been a fixture in southwest Clark County since the formation of the Bush Settlement and her property currently is home to Capt. Billy Bush’s grave which is visited by many educational and historical affiliations. Maxine is a woman whose hands have worked and protected the land. She has a heart that befriends and cares for others, and a backbone that never bends when fighting to preserve, improve, and protect Clark County.
The Southwest Clark Neighborhood Association (SWCNA) was formed in 2014 after citizens began to meet concerning a change in area zoning from agriculture to heavy industry at the gateway to Clark County which continues to be litigated and is currently awaiting a ruling by the Kentucky State Court of Appeals. The SWCNA is organized to provide and promote activities that build community and foster civic responsibility, and to work with government and other organizations for the enhancement of the quality of life in the neighborhood. Current projects include working with county officials on the update to the Clark County Comprehensive Plan, identifying sites for Kentucky’s Historical Marker Program, and is working with county and local officials to make improvements to the Capt. Billy Bush Riverside Park.