Local hotel owner Sudhir Patel, who has also served on the Corbin Tourism Commission for 28 years, was honored for his service to the city by being named a “Corbin Colonel” and given the key to the city.
“I was glad to do that,” said Corbin Mayor Willard McBurney who presented Patel with the key and the certificate naming him a Corbin Colonel at a ceremony last Wednesday.
“I think we really owed Sudhir that,” McBurney added.
Patel said receiving the recognition made him very proud, adding he considers Corbin his hometown.
Patel, who was born in India and later moved to Kenya to work in the automobile industry, moved to Corbin in 1987.
Patel said it was his father who led the effort to bring the family to America, initially sending Sudhir’s uncle in the early 80’s to go to school. Slowly the remainder of the family, including Sudhir, came to America.
Patel and his wife, Shobhana, bought the Suburban Hotel, which was located on Cumberland Falls Highway on the site where Rite Aid is now located.
“The first few months it was hard,” Patel said of living in Corbin as he didn’t know anyone in town. “I began making friends and every day I made progress.”
As part of his effort to become part of the community, Patel said he joined multiple organizations including the Corbin Rotary Club and was appointed to serve on the Corbin Tourism Commission.
McBurney said Patel was a big part of the effort that caused the tourism commission to grow into the organization it is today.
“He loves Corbin,” McBurney said of Patel.
Patel said receiving these honors only makes him want to do more to help the city.
“It makes me proud, not only for myself, but my family,” Patel said, noting he and Shobhana raised two sons who graduated from Corbin High School and then Eastern Kentucky University.
“All this time that I have lived in Corbin, I have kept Corbin in my heart,” Patel said.
“I have enjoyed my life in Corbin,” Patel added. “I have so many people in town who are friends and I have seen the town change in such a positive way.”