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Hardy, McDaniel 'Rite' choices to be honored

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By Thomas Barr

SHEPHERDSVILLE -- There was just a little "roast" in the dinner served to members and friends of the Bullitt County Scottish Rite.

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Mainly, there were words of praise handed out to the organization's top Mason and top Citizen for the past year.

Derrick McDaniel, a member of the local Salt River Lodge, was honored as the group's Mason of the Year.

Sam Hardy was recognized as the Citizen of the Year.

Rodney Burress, who annually serves as the master of ceremonies, said McDaniel was a true "role model."

The employee of Burkhead Heat and Air is called upon often for his services, said Burress.

In fact, Burress said it might be a pipeline to the group's top honor as McDaniel is the second or third heating and air technician to win the prize.

Like all Masons, Burress said McDaniel is always ready to help.

His most important -- and thankless -- job is serving as chairman of the fish fry committee for the Salt River Lodge.

A job that no one wants can often lead to a discussion on what type of rye bread to serve.

"He's done a wonderful job," said Burress.

One goal of the lodges is to become more involved in the community.

Burress said McDaniel was a driving force in making that happen.

He also serves as a deacon and trustee at Pleasant Grove Baptist.

The native of South Carolina joined the Air Force at the age of 17. Having served in Korea, he met his wife, who also served in the Air Force.

"He loves what he does for the fraternity," said Burress. "Derrick never asks to be recognized."

McDaniel said it is through the powers given by God that he has the ability to be so involved in the Masonic order.

"I would like to be a good Mason," McDaniel remembered telling others when asked his goal if he was part of the organization. 

"I have become a better Mason over the years," said McDaniel.

Being part of the organization is one thing but McDaniel said he did research. He wanted to understand what being a Mason was all about.

"How I am living is a pure reflection of all of you," he told the crowd.

In looking at the names of the past recipients, McDaniel said he is honored and privileged.

He also credited his wife with being supportive and allowing him to spend so much time working with the Masons.

When it was time to announce the Citizen of the Year, longtime Mason C.L. Lane took the microphone.

A neighbor of Hardy and a schoolmate since the first grade, Lane said that the honoree had no option but to be a good student.

His uncle, Ora Roby, was an educator who encouraged all the youngsters in the neighborhood.

In looking back, Lane said a majority of the Shepherdsville High Class of 1954 remained in the local area. And most turned out to be very successful.

In school, Lane said Hardy had a niche for debate and negotiations. He analyzed things and provided good leadership in the school's FFA program.

Lane said his friend would have been a good attorney because he won all the arguments.

But Hardy was a bit clumsy, said Lane, encouraging the audience to look for this scar on the forehead caused when Sam fell and hit his head on a milk bucket.

As a businessman, Hardy was a parts manager at the old Chevrolet Garage in Shepherdsville. Longtime friend and future business partner Joe Mooney was parts manager at Dawson Motors.

They would later form Hardy and Mooney Auto Parks.

His civic side may be even more impressive.

Lane said that he was part of the Shepherdsville Jaycees, which created the first Bullitt County flag and worked to name all the streets in the county and then purchase street signs.

Burress added that Hardy has the longest tenure on the Bullitt County Economic Development Authority. The volunteer, non-paying job has taken Hardy out-of-state to visit with companies in hopes of luring them to the area.

"He's been very dedicated in his pursuits," said Burress.

Today, Hardy is an active member of the Shepherdsville Lions Club and can be seen pushing the ice cream cart at local events. He was recently honored by that organization for his 50 years of service to the Lions Club and to the community.

"He is a leader, a go-to person," said Burress.

Hardy said that it is a matter of giving back to the community.

"I've enjoyed everything I've done for Shepherdsville and Bullitt County," said Hardy. "Bullitt County has been good to me."

He felt honored to be able to give just a little back to the community that has been so support.

Both were honored with special award and county judge Melanie Roberts presented proclamations from fiscal court to each winner.