A Fayette County man will be honored for his commitment to a newly completed community project Saturday in Oak Hill.
Rick Rutledge, of Rutledge Farms, dedicated himself more than a year ago to seeing a pavilion built to shelter the Fayette County Farmer’s Market. He worked to secure funding from the Oak Hill City Council and Fayette County Commission, and is credited as the “driving force” behind the pavilion’s construction.
“We are honored to have this wonderful building because of Mr. Rutledge’s commitment from the conception to the completion,” said Tamie Stein, manager of Fayette County’s Farm to School garden.
Fayette County Farmer’s Market President John Brenemen Jr. said the farmer’s market has had a presence in the county for eight years, but until now has never had a permanent structure in Oak Hill.
“Oak Hill City Council came to us and said that they’d like us to have a dedicated spot in Fayette County,” said Brenemen. “The city council, along with the Fayette County Commission, gave us $40,000 in funding in order to complete this building.”
Brenemen said the project would not have come to fruition if it weren’t for Rutledge’s dedication to the project.
Rutledge, a mining engineer by profession and the former vice president of the Fayette County Farmer’s Market, also operates a farm that supplies produce for the Fayette County public school system by way of the Farm to School program.
He also served as the associate pastor at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Oak Hill for many years, but recently had to step down from his role due to a medical condition.
Rutledge also was honored last month by the county commission for helping build up the community in many different ways.
According to the proclamation signed by the Fayette County Commission, Rutledge was born in Ohio but has lived in Oak Hill since he was 10 years old. He has held the offices of deacon, vestryman and priest at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Oak Hill. He helped organize the Fayette County Youth Soccer League where he coached and refereed, served as a Boy Scout leader, helped build Play-It-Ville in Fayetteville, worked with the drug abuse task force, promoted Oxford House and established a successful Christmas tree business. He accomplished all of this and more while being married to his high school sweetheart, Kathy Young, and raising three children.
Denise Scalph, Fayette County Commission president, said in a previously published report she was pleased to see the varied turnout and happy to celebrate Rutledge’s legacy.
“Today is a really, really important day for Fayette County. We are here to recognize a wonderful man, Rick Rutledge. And as you can see by looking around the courtroom, there is such a diverse crowd of people that has gathered here. We have our courthouse family, we have Rick Rutledge’s family, we have officials from across the state here...
“Mr. Rutledge has been instrumental in serving in different aspects in the county for many, many years,” she added. “I have had the distinct honor and pleasure of serving with him on farmland protection. He served as a board member, then excelled rapidly and was hired as our director of farmland protection. He has been instrumental in a number of different things, farmland protection, he is a farmer, highly involved with our farmer’s market and the new building in Oak Hill which, incidentally, is being named after him. We are here to celebrate his life...”