Kentucky Horse Park honors beloved employee

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Gene Carter was a man who loved God, his family and horses. Carter lived a long life and loved to tell stories in his “office” at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Carter loved to tell stories as much as people loved to listen. He had a long history working with horses, but he didn’t start working at the Kentucky Horse Park until he was 80 years old, where he then worked full time for thirteen years.

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“Something that makes me happy for him is that he died with his boots on,” says longtime friend and co-worker David McMillen. “He never spent a day in the hospital, he didn’t spend a day in the nursing home or somebody taking care of him at home; the last day of his life was in the place he loved right here at the Kentucky Horse Park.”

While Carter worked at the Kentucky Horse Park, he always told his stories on the same bench beside the Hall of Champions, a bench he liked to call his “office”. Saturday afternoon, Carter’s bench was unveiled, newly adorned with harnesses from his favorite horses as well as a plaque describing his legacy. The bench was not the only reveal for family and friends. The Legacy Equestrian Center revealed a scholarship named in Carter’s honor.

“Dad never talked about any accolades, it’s just the matter of fact of working and we have that same work ethic in us too,” says Gwendolyn Carter, one of his daughters.

It was clear to see how loved Gene Carter was by those he touched and his memory will now live on for years to come.

“This was the oddest thing course I’m pretty tall and Gene was about right here and so when we stood up literally he had to look up to me but the oddest thing was somehow I looked up to him,” says McMillen. “He was just a little man physically but he cast a mighty long shadow.”