Traditional singer and bandleader Jeff Brown has been awarded an honor especially cherished by bluegrassers.
Steven L. Beshear, Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, has inducted Brown as an official Kentucky Colonel, an honorary status with a history dating back to the War of 1812. Originally, Colonels were commissioned as a personal protective detail for the Governor, but it has since evolved into a designation of the special accomplishments and service of individuals both within and beyond the Bluegrass State.
One aspect of this historic honor has remained, though. Only an existing Colonel can recommend a new one. And that’s exactly what happened here.
Jan White, the Mayor of Richlands, VA, put Jeff forward for recognition after he had assisted the city in coordinating entertainment for the first Richlands Freedom Festival, which took place this past weekend. Mayor White and another member of the festival board put Brown forward to be considered as a Colonel.
They kept it quiet throughout the process, and Jeff had no idea about any of it until he was presented with the proclamation on Saturday night.
He said it was quite a surprise.
“To receive such a honorable award is a great feeling. And to be recognized at something that one loves to do is very humbling and gratifying.”
While Jeff preferred to keep it humble, his wife Sherry was quick to blow his horn.
“For years, Jeff has coordinated festivals, fiddler’s conventions, high school concert series, benefits for those in need… and the list goes on. He has served on the Crooked Road board, helped establish the Traditional Music Program at Southwest Virginia Community College, taught music at the college, music stores, private lessons and after-school program for elementary and middle school students, as well as served on various other committees and boards to continue to keep the heritage and music alive in Southwest Virginia. For all of which, he didn’t expect any recognition because he was trying to help others and the community, as well as doing something that he loved and believes in. After all, he was the one behind the scene, and not many people had any idea that he was even helping.”
Congratulations to Jeff Brown, the newest Kentucky Colonel.