A Corbin businessman has been selected as Leadership Tri-County’s “Leader of the Year.”
John Bill Keck, who has been involved in assorted businesses throughout his career and currently runs a real estate development business, will receive the award during an event on March 24 at First Baptist Church in Barbourville.
“Every year, someone from a different county is selected, and we thought he needed to be recognized for all that he gives to Knox County,” said Claudia Greenwood, a member of the Leadership Tri-County Board of Directors when asked why Keck was chosen.
Greenwood explained that in selecting the Leader of the Year, the board searching for individuals who have displayed leadership, are helping the area, and have been a strong supporter of the region.
“Mr. Keck is involved in several area businesses, and very involved with his church. He was active in Knox County, campaigning against the move to legalize alcohol,” Greenwood noted.
It was Keck’s son, John David, who informed him of the award.
“He was surprised,” David Keck said of his father’s reaction adding that it was well-deserved.
“He has built and done a lot of things in the tri-county area and helped a lot of people,” David Keck said of his father. “He is a great human being.”
David Keck said even though his father is 80 years old, he shows no signs of slowing down, whether it is at work, or in his involvement at Keck Baptist Church in Gray.
“His recreation is his church and his family,” David Keck said of his dad.
John Bill Keck agreed that he was surprised about the award.
“Imagine a guy as old as I am getting some kind of award,” he said.
Keck said throughout his life he has been involved in occupations and business ventures, including school teacher, restaurant owner, coal miner, insurance agent, and wedding photographer.
The one title he said he will never have is “retiree.”
“I never have learned how to spell that word. Never thought much about it,” Keck said noting fellow entrepreneur Terry Forcht frequently tells people there is nothing in The Bible about retirement.
Keck said he has lived outside of the tri-county area, and visited numerous places, but has always returned.
“I went out of town when I was in the military and saw some of the sights,” Keck said.
“I don’t know of anywhere I have been I have wanted to live,” he said. “I just like the rural area.”
Keck said the work he has done at Keck Baptist Church, which was founded by his ancestors, has been and continues to be some of the most rewarding.
“I have always been involved. That is probably one of the things I’m most proud of,” Keck said noting that in the early days of the country, church was a source of civility in what was an uncivilized world.
In addition to the church, Keck has served as a member of the Clear Creek Bible College Board in Pineville, and a board member of the Joshua’s Dream, a faith-based drug treatment program in Hazard.
“I think the best drug treatment programs are the faith-based programs,” Keck said noting in addition to serving on the board, he helps work with clients on an individual basis.
Keck said he plans to continue to remain involved in the community as much as he can for as long as he can.
“These are things that I’m very proud to do,” Keck said.