Founders’ Day honors Walker

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Editorial: July 2, 2013

ISSUE: Tribute to Tim Walker
OUR VIEW: Appropriate, important remembrance

The founder of Founders’ Day will be honored when Elizabethtown conducts its city-sponsored celebration on the Fourth of July.

Mayor Tim Walker was behind the idea of creating an event to celebrate America’s independence while recognizing the formal establishment of Elizabethtown’s city charter on July 4, 1797.

During the first Founders’ Day event last year, Walker’s interest was backed up by his energy. For example, the mayor carried the flag to open the run and walk and it was no ceremonial observance. He covered the entire course with the flag held high. From the day’s early morning opening through the fireworks, Walker was a major part of the festivities at Freeman Lake Park last year.

City Events Coordinator Sarah Vaughn, title sponsor First Federal Savings Bank and others involved in staging this year’s Founders’ Day again wanted to ensure Walker was a part of it despite his fatal heart attack on June 14.

Elizabethtown will host a dedication service for Mayor Walker at 8:30 p.m. Thursday shortly before the fireworks display that caps the day’s schedule at Freeman Lake Park. It will include a presentation to Walker’s family and a moment of silence to remember the devoted and caring man.

Vaughn said she hopes the recognition will provide a sense of closure for the community and honor the Walker family.

“They’ll always know it’s his event, which, in turn, makes it their event,” she said of his family.

Walker directed the city’s move into more community-oriented festivals as it took over the Heartland Festival and Cruisin’ the Heartland from the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce while maintaining its annual summer concert and working to establish and attract other events.

Although activities at the park open at 7:30 a.m. Thursday with the 5k/10k Heroes Run sponsored by USA Cares and include canoe races at 2 p.m. hosted by Big Brothers Big Sisters, the official opening of Founders’ Day is at 5 p.m. with a kids’ fun run, a mini water park, a pie-eating contest and a U.S. Army Band concert.

In addition to the Walker tribute, the evening includes a freedom flag presentation featuring an American flag provided by Severns Valley Baptist Church that is 32 feet wide and 20 feet tall. It holds an entire choir and erupts in a musical salute to Elizabethtown’s history.

Of course, the night wraps up with a light show and fireworks, which is expected to attract several thousand families to honor America.

It will be a night to remember sacrifice and service — two American virtues Tim Walker displayed so capably.

This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.