Home » St. James Catholic School honors Joe Prather with inaugural award

St. James Catholic School honors Joe Prather with inaugural award

By Mark Green

Sen. Joe Prather, SJS Principal Sister Mary Grace, SJS Pastor Father Michael Wimsatt

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. – Saint James Catholic School (SJS) in Elizabethtown awarded the inaugural Senator Joe Prather Distinguished Alumni Award to the award’s namesake Saturday night during the school’s annual Black and White Knight Auction & Gala event.

The award, which was presented Saturday by St. James Catholic Church pastor Father Michael Wimsatt, was established this year to honor an attendee of St. James Catholic School or any other school associated with St. James Church, including Elizabethtown Catholic High.

A former Kentucky state senator and representative, Prather served as the secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet and the Transportation Cabinet for the commonwealth of Kentucky. He was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1967, serving three terms, including a term as majority whip. He was elected to the Kentucky Senate in 1973, where he served as president pro tempore before retiring in 1987. Upon his retirement, the General Assembly named Highway 313 the “Joe Prather Highway” in his honor.

Throughout his career, Prather has served as a realtor, auctioneer and bank chairman. He has worked with a variety of community organizations, including the Louisville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the Hardin County Board of Realtors, the Elizabethtown-Hardin County Industrial Foundation, the Baptist Health Foundation Hardin Board of Directors, the Fort Knox Chapter of the AUSA, the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce, the Louisville-Southern Indiana Bridge Authority and more.

Born and raised in Hardin County, Prather attended Elizabethtown Catholic High School during his freshman, sophomore and junior years before graduating from Vine Grove High School in 1957. He then attended the University of Louisville.

Prather is an active member of St. James Catholic Church and served on the church’s finance committee for over two decades. He also served on the St. James Catholic School Building Committee, helping to establish the current school facility, which was built in 2012.

The award Prather received Saturday night is a commissioned piece designed by SJS alumna Courtney Ballard.

“Due to his status as a distinguished and well-respected community leader with a strong foundation based upon Catholic education, Senator Prather was the ideal first inductee and namesake for this award,” said SJS Principal Sister Mary Grace. “SJS looks forward to honoring many more impactful individuals as we continue this new tradition.”

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