|The 2014 and 2016 Fort Thomas Parade Grand Marshals. Chuck Keller and Casey Kilgore. FTM file.|
The theme for this year’s Campbell County YMCA Independence Day parade is First Responders, so it is fitting that this year’s Grand Marshal is Fort Thomas’ Police Lieutenant Casey Kilgore.
Casey, who lives in Fort Thomas with his wife, Lauren, and their three children, James, Kate, and Erin. has been with the force for 16 years. When asked about how he reacted when he was asked to be the Grand Marshal, he said, “It was cool, you know. Last year I was diagnosed with cancer and …we eventually got back to normal. You know, that they would think of me is pretty cool. We had a big problem last year and everyone rallied around us.”
|The Kilgores. .|
That cancer thing was melanoma.
It started as a spot on his neck but it spread through his body and developed behind an eye, his lungs, and his spleen. He underwent an intensive regimen of radiation and medication and was told last December that he was cancer free. It was a difficult journey. But when you first meet Casey, you can’t help but be impressed with his positive attitude. He is friendly, outgoing, and smiles a lot. And he has a lot to smile about. You may have seen or you may own one of the bracelets and t-shirts around town that supported his cause. It would be great to see all of those at the parade in a massive show of support.
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He said of his diagnosis, “There was nothing that I can do about it so there’s no use in getting upset about it. There was no ‘Why me?’ There was the fact and we were going to do what we need to do.” He kept a practical, realistic view. He said that he told the doctors, “Just tell me what to do.” He is a bit embarrassed by all of the attention to his illness, but if it helps someone, then it is worth it.
Linda Slone, one of the parade committee members says that, “When the Parade Committee met, we decided on our theme of Honoring Our First Responders. The first name to come up was Casey. It was unanimous. He is a great example of a First Responder. [And] he is also a Survivor. Throughout his treatments, he was still a police officer. We all should look up to a hero like him and his family. We are so lucky he is a Fort Thomas Police Officer.”
Casey said of his extensive network of support. “Cancer was certainly not easy on me or anyone. But my wife, my kids, my mom and dad, all my friends, my boss, and everyone I work with, bent over backwards to get me through that. Not feeling right, not seeing well, going to the doctor every day, getting radiation, getting medicine.”
He paused in thought and then added, “If you’re going to get sick, this is the right town to do it in.” Then he smiled. There is no doubt that extensive network will be out in force on July 4th wearing their bracelets and t-shirts in support.
The truth is that we keep each other safe. Like Casey Kilgore keeps us safe, this community network kept him safe during his health trials. That’s the beauty of living in a small town. And that is a great reason to celebrate