Good Neighbors

By Michael Gobb
We expect our neighbors to be friendly and occasionally to offer a hand -- in a word, to be neighborly. During difficult times, we often learn just how good our neighbors are and the lengths to which they will go to help us out.

That is what the Lexington community recently learned through the tragic Flight 5191 accident, which took 49 lives Aug. 27. This terrible event has affected many of us deeply with the loss of loved ones and dear friends. The healing process will be long, and this tragedy will remain in our thoughts.

On this solemn occasion, Blue Grass Airport was assisted by many members of the local community who provided their services when it was needed most. Our sincere thanks go to each and every one of them. Their professionalism and gracious acts of hospitality meant so much.

Blue Grass Airport is fortunate that our neighbor is Keeneland -- the famed Thoroughbred racing and sales facility that we treasure so much in Kentucky. Each year, Keeneland continues to impress the industry with its state-of-the-art racetrack, beautiful clubhouse and facilities, well-manicured landscaping, and high-quality entertainment.

Despite Keeneland's importance to the global equine industry, its allure to tourists, and its numerous charitable contributions, many in Central Kentucky may not fully realize the value of having Keeneland as a neighbor and community partner. Blue Grass Airport experienced Keeneland's generosity firsthand Aug. 27.

Although Keeneland president Nick Nicholson and his team were busy preparing for the record September yearling sale, completing upgrades to the racing facility in preparation for the fall meet, and had recently hosted the Keeneland Concours d'Elegance classic car show, Keeneland immediately came to our assistance during the emergency response to the Flight 5191 accident adjacent to Blue Grass Airport.

Without hesitation, Keeneland opened its facilities to accommodate an overwhelming number of national, regional, and local media. The Keeneland team assisted us in many ways -- from assembling equipment for press conferences to providing food and beverage through its partner, Turf Catering. We cannot emphasize enough the significance of the role Keeneland played over the course of that week. Keeneland was an essential part of presenting the true face of Central Kentucky, a warm and caring community.

Though words are not enough, we at Blue Grass Airport would like to express our heartfelt thanks to the Keeneland board of directors, Nick Nicholson, and his team for all they have done. While it is often said that no one notices when things go well, please be assured that we did notice. Their assistance, gracious hospitality, and support are a true hallmark of what makes Central Kentucky a remarkable place in the world. We are proud and grateful to know Keeneland is our neighbor and friend.

Other groups in Central Kentucky also provided support and deserve our sincere thanks, too. The equine industry is so important to the operations and economic well being of Blue Grass Airport and the community. Blue Grass Airport has strong partnerships with the Kentucky Horse Park, Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, Equestrian Events, Tex Sutton, and the University of Kentucky. Through these partnerships, Blue Grass Airport has been able to better support the equine industry and gain greater appreciation for its operations.

As an airport, we strive every day to ensure that the transportation needs of the equine industry are being met. From the transportation of priceless horses to providing first-class facilities for passengers and private aircraft operators, we at Blue Grass Airport realize the importance of air service in our global environment. Blue Grass Airport has played and will continue to play a significant role in hosting the upcoming Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. The airport understands the level and quality of air service needed to host an event of this stature and will continue to provide non-stop and connecting service to hundreds of destinations worldwide.

In all that we do, we make every effort to be the same kind of good neighbor that our neighbors have been to us. We are humbled by the support we have been shown and are proud to partner with organizations that play such an important role in the equine industry. Every day we strive to deserve the friendship and assistance we have been given.