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Tireless public servant Morgan named Owen Countian of the Year

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By Molly Haines

“A dedicated public servant.”
“He has given his whole life to serve Owen County.”
“He has spent a lifetime putting others first.”

Numerous entries were sent in to the Owenton Rotary Club to nominate the 2013 Owen Countian Of the Year Rick Morgan.
A volunteer firefighter for over 40 years, an EMT since the ‘70s and Owen County’s current director of emergency management, Morgan has spent his life putting his fellow citizens first throughout many emergencies.
Morgan was awarded the honor July 17 at the Owen County 4-H Fair and Horse Show.
Morgan, who was working the fairgrounds that night, said he had a suspicion that his fellow EMTs were up to something when they kept him around the fairgrounds pavilion.
“It took me about a minute before it dawned on me that they were talking about me,” Morgan said. “Honestly, I didn’t think that I deserved it.”
A native of Owen County and a firefighter since 1971, Morgan said he felt the call to serve at an early age.
“I always wanted to be a firefighter,” Morgan said. “When I was little and would hear the fire whistle I’d always run up to see what was going on. No one in my family ever did anything like that, but for some reason I always wanted to.”
Morgan began driving for the county’s ambulance service – then a hearse with a cot and oxygen mask – on Mother’s Day weekend in 1975.
“I was too young to drive the fire truck then,” Morgan said. “You had to be 25 to drive a fire truck for insurance purposes. … Then I got my EMT certificate in 1977.”
Morgan became director of Owen County’s emergency management in 1994 and has also served as fire chief.
In a nominating letter, one person wrote, “He has been giving of himself without thought to himself for over 40 years. He has spent a lifetime putting others first.”
But Morgan said one person can’t fight a fire or run an ambulance.
“I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of great people and I’d like to thank all of them,” Morgan said. “I’d really like to thank David Lilly, he has been on the emergency management with me since the beginning and is my deputy director. The two of us couldn’t do that job without the workforce – the county employees and the volunteers. Everyone that has ever worked whenever there was a disaster.”