Every year, the people of Union, Kentucky, look forward to celebrating the Fourth of July holiday at the city’s annual festival — Union Celebrates America.
With a parade, live music, food trucks, inflatables, face painters, balloon artists and more, the family-friendly event draws people of all ages together in celebration of the holiday.
This year, the event will be held on Friday, June 24, and the honor of being the parade’s grand marshals goes to two StoryPoint Union residents who have dedicated their lives to the service of others.
Those residents, Ken and Mary Lucas, sat down to tell us a bit about their lives as they prepare to be grand marshals of the day.
They don’t give the honor of being grand marshals to just anyone, and Ken and Mary definitely aren’t “just anyone.”
Ken grew up on a tobacco and dairy farm in Grant County, Kentucky, but he spent his childhood dreaming of being a pilot. After serving in the Air Force ROTC during his college career, Ken joined the Air Force, serving for three years, and later the Air Force National Guard, serving for an additional eight years. His lifelong dream of being a pilot was achieved. The only question was, what was next?
After an honorable discharge and beginning a career as an investment banker, Ken was set up on a double date with a former beauty queen, Mary. It didn’t take long for the two to hit it off, and their marriage eventually blessed them with five children. Since then, their family has grown to include five daughters- and sons-in-law, 12 grandchildren and three great grandchildren (and counting!).
With guidance from his wife, Ken decided to take his community work to a more public role, and that’s when he ran for and won a seat on the Florence, Kentucky, city council, and later for county commissioner.
“Service has just come naturally to me my entire adult life. It’s easy to dedicate yourself to something that means so much to you,” Ken said.
Though he never considered himself a politically motivated man, Ken found he could make a difference in his community through a leadership role. He was elected county judge-executive of Boone County, and in 1998, he secured a seat in the House.
Ken was a member of the banking and finance committees in Congress. He was known as one of the most conservative Democrats in the House, and was a member of the “Blue-Dog Democrats.”
During Ken’s three terms, Mary served her family and community, too. With degrees in both art and biology from Eastern Kentucky University, her career began in the classroom.
Mary taught high school for 14 years, covering subjects ranging from physical education to health, biology and art. During this time, she also earned a master’s degree in education from Northern Kentucky University.
As she taught the subject, Mary’s professional interest for biology continued to grow, and she began to dream about other career possibilities. While continuing to teach, Mary began classes to earn yet another master’s degree, which led to a successful 14-year career as a surgical nurse.
While Ken served in Congress, Mary joined the Congressional Club, an organization of more than 6,000 members who are all spouses of leaders in Congress and the Supreme Court. During Ken’s third term, she was elected president of the organization and went on to lead a volunteer group to China. There, the group spent three weeks administering health services to underprivileged women.
The accomplishments didn’t end there. At 73, Ken accepted an appointment from the State of Kentucky to serve as the Commissioner of Veterans Affairs. He held that position for eight years.
Together, Ken and Mary worked to better their community in more ways than one, raise a family, and spend their lives as contributing members of the Union area.
After two long, successful careers, Ken and Mary looked forward to retirement. The pair found StoryPoint Union, and the outstanding citizens of the greater community became equally amazing citizens of StoryPoint Union.
“It was a big change for us, but we have adjusted well,” Ken said.
Mary agreed, saying, “I always say, ‘What’s not to like?’ The administration is so good to us and friendly. There is plenty to do and nothing at all we dislike.”
Now, StoryPoint Union wouldn’t be the same without Ken and Mary.
“They attend nearly every event we schedule, from crafts to bingo to outings to happy hour,” Leanna Bush, StoryPoint Union’s Executive Director, said. “And they have brought so many friends to the community with them!”
It was no surprise to the StoryPoint Union community when they heard that Ken and Mary had been chosen to be the grand marshals of the 2022 Union Celebrates America festival. Though, two members of the community were surprised — Ken and Mary!
The mayor of Union stopped by StoryPoint Union with a big bouquet of flowers to personally invite them to be the parade’s grand marshals.
“It was so nice,” Mary said. “We have gone to the festival before with our families. It is always nice to see so many friends.”
As the Union Celebrates America festival approaches, Ken and Mary can’t help but get excited to be a part of the pageantry of it all. For StoryPoint Union residents, they look forward to seeing their fellow community members (and their community!) honored by the greater city.
Like so many of StoryPoint residents, Ken and Mary have dedicated their lives to the service of others. It’s our honor to serve all our residents and to create the absolute best experiences for them every single day.
For more information about life at our community and to stay updated on Ken and Mary’s lives at StoryPoint, stop by for a tour. We’d love to show you around and introduce you to the residents who make our community so special.