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The View from Puncheon Creek: Help the People

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Magoffin County lost a true friend of the people with the passing of Kellie Lee Miller, a Public Servant who few will ever match.

“I do it to help the people.”

He often told me this when we talked politics and there can be no doubt that he meant it because he lived it. We often failed to see eye to eye politically with me being in the wrong more often than not. In a recent example, when the dust settled I found myself in need of his help. Sheepishly I told him the situation. With a loud ‘umm bub’ as he was feigning a slap to my face he said, “I outta slap you.” Then with a chuckle and a hug he said, “have I ever turned you down?” It takes a man of exceptional character to forgive one’s lack of judgment as easily as he did.   

Kellie Lee was elected to the position of Magistrate of District 3 in Magoffin County, Kentucky for an unprecedented three terms. He also served for three terms as a school board member for Magoffin County Schools, where at one point he served as Chairman of the Board. He was still serving the county as an employee of the road department at his death. He was blocking out the Kiwanis Trail for me in the Puncheon Battlefield Community Park when sickness struck him. He will long be remembered for helping the people. “There are pioneer souls that blaze their paths where highways never ran.” As a public servant, a friend, and a man, Kellie Lee blazed a wide path. 

I think this poem most fitting and share it in honor of one good man.

The House by the Side of the Road
by Sam Walter Foss

There are hermit souls that live withdrawn
In the peace of their self-content;
There are souls, like stars, that dwell apart,
In a fellowless firmament;
There are pioneer souls that blaze their paths
Where highways never ran;—

But let me live by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.
Let me live in a house by the side of the road,
Where the race of men go by—
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner’s seat,
Or hurl the cynic’s ban;—
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I see from my house by the side of the road,
By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope,
The men who are faint with the strife.
But I turn not away from their smiles nor their tears—
Both parts of an infinite plan;—
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I know there are brook-gladdened meadows ahead
And mountains of wearisome height;
That the road passes on through the long afternoon
And stretches away to the night.
But still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice,
And weep with the strangers that moan,
Nor live in my house by the side of the road
Like a man who dwells alone.

Let me live in my house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by—
They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong,
Wise, foolish— so am I.
Then why should I sit in the scorner’s seat
Or hurl the cynic’s ban?—
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

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