For Winchester couple, volunteering is way to learn

Published 10:52 am Tuesday, May 23, 2017

About a decade ago, Larry and Barbara Disney decided to attend one of the fireside chats at Fort Boonesborough State Park.

Little did they know it was the start of their involvement with the Fort Boonesborough Foundation. 

“We went to a chat 10 or 12 years ago … on a February snowy evening,” said Barbara, a retired guidance counselor and school administrator. “We just started talking to some folks.”

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Those conversations led to an invitation to attend a foundation meeting and, eventually, their years of volunteering to support the state park.

“We found if you get involved, there’s some wonderful people,” Larry, who recently retired from leading the state real estate appraiser association, said.

“We both have a love of history, and central Kentucky history especially,” Barbara said. “It’s a labor of love.”

The foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization to help support the state park.

“The foundation members can’t be compensated,” Larry said. “Every dime we bring in goes back to the fort.”

Those funds come from a number of events throughout the year including the spring trading days this weekend, the Fireside Chats in February, Christmas on the Frontier in December and others. 

Barbara said she is already working on the schedule for next year’s Fireside Chats. As soon as one event wraps up, it is time to start working on the next one. 

The park management has a “wish list” of items and projects, which the foundation helps accomplish.

“One of the big things we’re working on now is signage,” she said. “We were just given a large donation of Fess Parker Daniel Boone items to display.

“That’s what we do behind the scenes.”

The Pike County natives have volunteered wherever they lived. When Barbara was an extension agent in Martin County in eastern Kentucky, she said they helped organize the county fair.

When their children were in school, they worked with the band boosters for about five years. 

“We’ve always looked for activities that enhance the community, anything that preserves and promotes the community,” Larry said.

“You can be part of (the community) or take from it,” Barbara said. “(Volunteering) strengthens the community.”

There’s also a social aspect and the shared goal of sharing knowledge with others.

“It’s the people we’ve met and friendships we’ve cultivated that we wouldn’t have made otherwise,” Barbara said.

Part of the reward, Larry said, is “bringing people into your community and having them here and enjoy your community. It’s like having them come in your house and want to come back. Learning is the key.”

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email or call 859-759-0051.

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