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After many years of public and community service, Carolyn Ritchie is ready for a break.
Those who work with her say it’s deserved.
Ritchie retires from her position as county treasurer July 31, her 64th birthday. She started working for Hardin County government in 1996 and became treasurer in 2000.
As treasurer, she oversees grants, payroll, investments, bills and revenue for the county.
She’s done her job with “attention to detail, meticulous documentation, tenacity and an extraordinary work ethic,” Hardin County Judge-Executive Harry Berry said.
“There is absolutely no doubt that Carolyn is the best county government treasurer in the commonwealth,” Berry said. “Her knowledge and expertise regarding county financial procedures and requirements is routinely sought out by other county treasurers and state officials.”
A former president of the Kentucky Association of County Treasurers and Finance Officers, Ritchie shared her knowledge to educate and train county finance officials across the state, Berry said.
Beyond her official role for the county, Ritchie, whose community spirit in part was inspired by a childhood illness, also has spent her life volunteering in various organizations.
“I just love this community,” she said. “I’ve always felt that being a part of a community means you get involved in the community.”
She’s worked with or served on the boards for SpringHaven domestic violence shelter, the Junior Women’s club, Brown-Pusey House, the United Way and Christmas in the Park.
She recently stepped down from the Brown-Pusey House board.
“Carolyn has always been extremely generous with her time to the Brown-Pusey House and served on the board for many years,” said Twylane Van Lahr, Brown-Pusey House executive director. “As (chairwoman) of the board she worked diligently to preserve and promote the Brown-Pusey House and was never too busy to roll up her sleeves and help out.”
Ritchie is trying to lessen her load for her first year of retirement and is only sitting on the board of trustees at her church, Memorial United Methodist.
When her sons, Jeremy and Kevin, were younger she also was involved with Boy Scouts. Her sons made it all the way to Eagle Scouts.
It was important to Ritchie for her sons to see their mom volunteering and to pitch in themselves. They helped park cars at events and worked on parade floats, for example.
“You learn that by seeing what your parents do and helping them,” she said.
Her passion to give back to the community started at a young age, watching others help her.
“I didn’t have a normal childhood,” Ritchie said.
Ritchie was the sixth of seven children.
She has scoliosis and was in and out of Kosair Children’s Hospital most of her childhood. At 14, two rods were placed in her back and she had body braces throughout high school. She missed the second half of her junior year and the first part of her senior year after a spinal fusion. She was in bed for 11 months and two weeks and her older sister took care of her.
Her illness gave her a sense of determination. She knows it could have been worse, she could have been paralyzed. Now, she spends her spare time golfing.
She still has problems with her spine, recently having issues with her neck. The doctors have told her she will continue to have problems, so in her retirement Ritchie said she is going to go out there and do things while she still can.
After retirement she is looking forward to taking it easy, traveling the United States, playing golf and bridge and spending time with her two grandchildren, Shelby and Dalton.
Maybe she’ll even get her Christmas decorations up before Christmas Day, she added.
Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or email@example.com.