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Bagdad’s crown jewel

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To celebrate its diamond anniversary, the Bagdad Ruritan Club members brought in the town’s most famous resident, who reminded them never to forget their roots.

By Todd Martin

When the Bagdad Ruritan Club was founded in 1953 by 26 men, Martha Layne Collins (then Hall) was a just a schoolgirl.

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But as she grew into the first female Governor of Kentucky, she never forgot where she started.

“My mom always told me never forget your roots,” she told the group assembled at the Bagdad Ruritan Club’s 60th anniversary dinner on Saturday. “I constantly tell people I’m from Bagdad…although sometimes I have to add that it’s the one without the H.”

Collins told the crowd of about 50 how important those roots were in shaping whom she became. She described meeting her husband at Camp Cedarmore, learning to skate with borrowed roller skates and growing up behind Walker’s Garage, not to mention the countless games and church services she attended in the community.

“People say it takes a village, and I truly feel that’s the way I was raised here,” she said. “Just as my teachers, school, church and town have played an important role in my life, you have played important roles in the lives of people around you.

“For sixty years you have been committed to this community and sometimes you don’t realize the important roles you play in people’s lives.

“Many things change in life, but one thing never changes: The need to help people and help make their lives a little better, and that’s what you do.”