For Immediate Release
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (August 17, 2022) – Kentucky’s electric cooperatives honored Allen Purnell as the 2022 Distinguished Rural Kentuckian. Purnell of “Old Folks” Country Sausage has been making “gooo-od” sausage in Simpsonville for more than half a century. The company has over 250 employees. The Distinguished Rural Kentuckian award is the highest honor bestowed by Kentucky’s electric cooperatives, which consists of 26 member co-ops across the Commonwealth.
Chris Perry, CEO and president of the Kentucky Electric Cooperatives, presented the award following a special video tribute to Purnell at the 76th Annual Meeting of the Kentucky Electric Cooperatives on Monday, August 15. The tribute and remarks from the meeting can be viewed on the association’s YouTube channel.
“The Good Lord has been with this company,” Purnell said in an interview for the video tribute. “We’re country and proud of it! I do the best I could, and I really love what I do. It’s not hard.”
“For generations, Kentuckians have been greeted by Al with a wave and a warm ‘Hello, Friend.’ His entrepreneurial success, paired with his love for the Commonwealth he calls home, make him a wonderful choice for this year’s Distinguished Rural Kentuckian award,” said Chris Perry. “Every year, this award recognizes someone who leaves a lasting impact on Kentucky and its people. I’m proud Al ‘the Sausage Man’ Purnell is joining the ranks of our honorees.”
The Annual Meeting’s Monday night banquet also featured a keynote address from former college basketball coach and ESPN sportscaster, Bob Valvano, in front of several hundred co-op members, friends and guests.
Background on Distinguished Rural Kentuckian Award:
Since 1982, the Distinguished Rural Kentuckian honor has been awarded by Kentucky’s member-owned electric cooperatives. Previous Distinguished Rural Kentuckians include elected leaders, authors, journalists, business executives, physicians, and sports champions. The award recognizes outstanding individuals who have devoted their lives to Kentucky in a way that matches the co-op mission of enhancing the quality of life here.
Kentucky Electric Cooperatives:
Kentucky Electric Cooperatives is the statewide association that provides services for the 24 local, consumer-owned electric distribution utilities in the state, as well as two generation and transmission cooperatives that produce power. Electric co-ops in Kentucky serve 843,000 consumer-members, providing power to one-third of Kentucky’s population. Association services include representation before the General Assembly, Congress and regulatory bodies; safety training; coordination of management training; and public relations support including publication of Kentucky Living magazine, the largest circulation publication in the state with about 475,000 copies mailed monthly, with a readership of 1.2 million.