Thursday, 08 29, 2013
Mark Pfeiffer 502-564-8860
Bethany E. Goad 502-564-8821
Frankfort, KY (August 29, 2013) – Treasurer Todd Hollenbach today returned medals and other honors to the family of World War II veteran and Kentucky hero Lt. Col. Roy H. Owsley in a ceremony held at the State Capitol Rotunda posthumously honoring Owsley’s long career in service. The ceremony coincides with the upcoming anniversary of V-J Day on Monday September 2nd. Owsley was instrumental in negotiating the unconditional surrender of the Japanese Empire, ending World War II. A card signifying Owsley’s involvement in the surrender aboard the U.S.S. Missouri on September 2, 1945 was among the items presented.
The ceremony included speakers to representing different aspects of Owsley’s life. In opening remarks from Treasurer Hollenbach, he stated that items belonging to Owsley being held in Kentucky State Treasury’s unclaimed property vault “told the story of a life given wholly to bettering his commonwealth, country, and global community.”
Following the Treasurer’s remarks, Maj. Gen. Robert Silverthorn, Jr., U.S. Army (Ret.), recalled how Owsley was his mentor at the Sinking Fund in Louisville, Ky. Silverthorn also spoke to the caliber of service required to receive a Legion of Merit medal from the U.S. Marine Corps. Two Legion of Merit medals belong to Owsley were being held in the unclaimed property vault along with other rare military items.
Shae Hopkins, Executive Director of Kentucky Education Television (KET) delivered remarks on behalf of O. Leonard Press, the first and longtime Executive Director of KET. In remarks, Hopkins stated that Owsley was the first chairman of the Kentucky Authority of Education Television, was largely responsible for the creation of KET, and was the person who hired Len Press to head the network in 1968. Owsley’s original KET lapel pin was also among the items returned to Owsley’s family.
Randy Coe, President of Kosair Charities and the Louisville Rotary spoke on behalf of Louisville’s Rotarians, stating that Owsley was a dedicated member of the organization, serving as both the Louisville Rotary President and as the Rotary District Governor. Owsley was also a Paul Harris Fellow, an honor bestowed on Rotarians who give extensive time and financial support to the organizations charity work. Owsley’s Paul Harris Fellow was among the items being ceremoniously returned.
Owsley’s son, Bill, spoke on behalf of the family, expressing their gratitude and stating that the family was overwhelmed and overjoyed that Treasurer Hollenbach had found their family to return these items to them.
“This is what my Treasure Finders program is all about,” Treasurer Hollenbach noted “Our goal is to return $100 million in unclaimed property before my term ends. In just five years we have returned more than $90 million and will reach our goal two years early. But Treasure Finders doesn’t just return money. It’s also moments like today that are priceless. We return memories, and family legacies, and honor. We return history.”