The Kentucky League of Cities presented a RISE Award (Resilience. Impact. Service. Encouragement.) to Mayfield Mayor Kathy O’Nan and Prestonsburg Mayor Les Stapleton. Mayfield suffered extensive damage from a December 2021 tornado, and flooding hit eastern Kentucky in July 2022. Additionally, Prestonsburg lost police officers in a July shooting.
“This is not something we hand out yearly,” stressed KLC Executive Director|CEO James D. Chaney. “The two mayors recognized as 2022 RISE Award winners are shining examples of the significant impact local leaders have in their communities. Both rose to the challenge when presented with unimaginable tragedy and adversity. They earned the respect of not only those of us at KLC but of those whose lives they have touched every day in the community they serve.
“Mayor O’Nan became a global media ambassador for Kentucky’s strength after December’s devastating tornadoes. Her incredibly calm and positive demeanor served as a model of grace and gratitude. Mayor Stapleton spent nearly every waking minute responding to his neighbors across eastern Kentucky after July's deadly floods. He was able to get things done, even if it meant jumping into a raft himself to take food to trapped citizens. And all of this, just weeks after Prestonsburg police officers were brutally killed. Both cities are blessed to have dedicated public servants leading them at these difficult times.”
Mayor O’Nan expressed her gratitude for the recognition and the outpouring of support she has received from KLC and its members. “The City of Mayfield has always benefitted from a strong relationship with the Kentucky League of Cities. In the months since the devastation of Dec. 10, 2021, we have had no better friend than KLC. To have been honored along with Mayor Stapleton of Prestonsburg as a recipient of the first RISE Award is so humbling for me. I am so very grateful to Executive Director J.D. Chaney, and I am proud to be a part of the KLC family.”
“Winning the RISE Award is an illustration of what happens when a city works together.” Mayor Stapleton responded. “I work with great people in the City of Prestonsburg and thank them for the opportunity for me to win this award. I’d also like to thank KLC, which allows city and elected officials to grow and work for their city and the commonwealth.”
The Kentucky League of Cities is a membership association of more than 370 cities across the commonwealth. The RISE Award recognizes an individual or elected official who steps up to serve cities in unparalleled ways.