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Mitch M.
Republican KY

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  • Tribute to Tony Whitaker

    by Senator Mitch McConnell

    Posted on 2013-02-14

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    McCONNELL. Mr. President, it is my honor to stand before you today to recognize an esteemed Kentuckian, Mr. Tony Whitaker, on the occasion of his recent retirement from the position of CEO of First Federal Bancorp this past December. I speak for the communities that Mr. Whitaker has served and worked in during his career when I say that his desire to help others, work diligently and contribute to the lives of those around him are certainly deserving of our respect and honor.

    Tony has worked as a banker in Richmond, Louisville, and most recently in Hazard, KY, where he held the position of chief executive officer of First Federal Bancorp. According to Mr. Whitaker, his best years of the four decades spent in banking were spent at First Federal, something that the people of Hazard would no doubt confirm. His move to Louisville is motivated by a desire to be near family, but his assurance that he will miss calling Hazard ``home'' is represented by his fond memory of the welcoming community he found upon his arrival in the 1990s.

    Tony has been an indispensable presence both in Hazard and at First Federal, and his strong leadership has prepared the bank to thrive, allowing those he has invested in to continue his legacy. He will continue to stay involved by serving as the chairman of Kentucky First Federal Bancorp. He genuinely wants to positively impact others, offering to be just a phone call away to anyone who needs his help.

    At this time, I would like to ask my fellow Senators to join me in honoring Mr. Tony Whitaker. This well-known and well-respected man is a model citizen, and represents the best of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We are grateful for his input and impact on his community, and I ask unanimous consent that a newspaper article highlighting his achievements be printed in the Record.

    There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows: [From the Hazard Herald, December 20, 2012] Whitaker Stepping Down as First Federal CEO (By Cris Ritchie) Hazard.--In less than two weeks, Tony Whitaker will step down as CEO of First Federal Bancorp, the parent company of First Federal Savings & Loan of Hazard, and during a reception on Thursday he expressed his admiration and appreciation to the city of Hazard, where he has made his home for the past 15 years.

    Whitaker, who also served several years as president of the local chamber of commerce, will remain chairman of the company's board of directors. Don Jennings, the current CEO of the company's Frankfort location, will take on Whitaker's role as chief executive officer, while Lou Ella Farler will become CEO of the Hazard First Federal bank, a job for which she has been transitioning for the past few months.

    First Federal in Hazard hosted a reception for Whitaker in the bank's lobby on Thursday, during which he noted that the best of his four decades of experience in the banking business were spent in Perry County.

    ``My best years have been with this bank here in Hazard, and living in this town the last 15 years or so,'' Whitaker said.

    Whitaker plans to move to Louisville to be close to his daughter and grandchildren, but will remain active with the company as board chairman. The transition once he steps down in Hazard will be seamless, he added, and for the customer there shouldn't be any difference as the bank will continue to offer the same service and products. And he expects the bank to continue to thrive with Farler serving as its CEO.

    ``Through the year I've transitioned, and Lou Ella pretty much got hands on and made most of the decisions,'' he said.

    He added that were his family not living in Louisville he'd likely remain in Hazard, and he expressed his appreciation to the people here for welcoming him into the community when he arrived in the 1990s.

    ``I appreciate the good town I've had the opportunity to live in, the boards that I've had and the people I've been able to work with,'' he said, ``and most of all our customers.'' Whitaker will step down as CEO on December 31.


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