WE CONGRATULATE: Duanne Puckett on her well-earned retirement

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No matter her profession, however, she will retain that one job she earned years ago: role model.

Duanne Puckett may have retired last week from her role in publicizing Shelby County Public Schools – sort of her second retirement after leaving the leadership position of this newspaper in 1998 – but she won’t be retiring from the role of a lifetime.

That’s because Ms. Puckett, for all her accomplishments – she is a member of the University of Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, among dozens of other stellar achievements – is a role model.

Not many aspire to that lofty placement or have earned it, but Ms. Puckett is without a doubt someone from whom each of us can derive diligence, can infer inspiration and can recognize that there is no obstacle that can’t be overcome.

Ms. Puckett would demur from such a precious prominence, but she most clearly understands it, because she has embraced its principles through the effort and zeal with which she has attacked life through 44 years of success in two careers.

Her story of overcoming a tragedy, a tragedy so overwhelming that most of us simply would have just given up, is the stuff of legend in Shelbyville. We don’t need to relive the details for you to understand how normalcy was stolen from her life just as it was about to reach the apex for that rush of a downhill from teen to adult.

That she addressed the new realities of her existence, attacked their limitations and succeeded at such an overwhelming pace is nothing short of sensational and humbling.

Who among us, understanding those facts of her life, can seek pity for a nasty break in our own existences? Surely, no one should.

Ms. Puckett certainly didn’t, and we are hopeful that, as she enjoys her new schedule, sleeps past sunup and takes up books and occasional getaways and all of the other wonderful new opportunities she can seize, that she doesn’t forget one thing:

We in Shelby County have looked at you, Duanne Puckett, in wonder and amazement for lo these six decades, and we won’t stop needing you to set the bar on reality and show us that, no matter what, we can overcome.