A Tribute to Police Officer Kenny Goodlett

Unique personal memorial that Debbie treasures in a special necklace. The circle is wedding bands of her and Kenny.  The diamond in the cross is from her engagement ring.The light in Kenny's room burns 24 hours, 7 days a week for him.Kenny's room, in his honor and memoryKenny's grandchildren wearing his uniform.Kenny's police cruiser.Kenny and Debbie's Wedding Day

The late Police Officer Kenny Goodlett’s path to becoming a city police officer and local hero in the eyes of the public was a long and winding one that was full of challenges and adventures along the way. Kenny’s journey towards law enforcement began in 1970 as he rolled along on the path that his roller skates took him at Ray’s Roller Rink in Willisburg, Kentucky.  It was there where he enjoyed his free time with friends, and it was where he met his future wife, Debbie Sea.  The two young people met through mutual friends at the roller rink and quickly began dating because of what Debbie refers to as “love at first sight.”

During the next five years, Kenny eventually gave up his skating when he married his sweetheart on June 27, 1975.  He and his bride continued the farm life that Kenny was accustomed to with his father that included milking cows and raising tobacco in the western part of Anderson County.  He also worked at a local service station.

According to Debbie, he was always a hard worker who did whatever was necessary to provide for his family including working long hours at Square D Company in Lexington.  However, while Kenny farmed and performed public work, he always had the desire to be a policeman.  As years passed, Kenny put off venturing into the professional field of law enforcement due to blessings that entered his path in life, such as caring for his wife after medical challenges that she faced early in their marriage and the births of their two children, Amy in 1981 and David in 1983.

As Kenny proceeded to move along his path, he never gave up on becoming a police officer as he and a cousin shared a fascination and dream of one day entering law enforcement.  But again, as the path of life often does, Kenny was sidetracked from pursuing his dream by employment layoffs that resulted in him having to seek other sources of employment, including working as an EMT and later as a team leader in the tire department of a Lexington store.

While continuing his hard work to support his family, Kenny never gave up on his dream to work one day in a vocation that would allow him to help people and serve to protect his community.  As most paths usually do, Kenny’s path crossed with that of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office.  Kenny was offered a part-time job at the sheriff’s office, serving as a deputy sheriff in June 1997 and continued to November 2009.

Next his path in law enforcement traveled to the Lawrenceburg Police Department, where he served faithfully until a terminal illness forced him to leave that path in May 2015.  City Police Officer Kenny Goodlett was diagnosed with cancer on May 31, 2015, and his path on earth ended June 19, 2015, when he lost a short but strongly fought battle against the cancer.

Kenny’s legacy in the path he traveled in his work lives on with his two children as they follow in their father’s footsteps to help others and serve the public.  Daughter Amy is an elementary school teacher and son David serves as a state conservation officer.

Kenny’s wife of over 40 years wants his legacy and compassion for other people to continue with his three grandchildren.  “I want the legacy of him being a public servant and his love for his Lawrenceburg Police Department/Thin Blue Line family to include any and all of the first responders be remembered with them always being respected and admired for their dedication and work in serving and protecting others,” Debbie said

The path in life that Kenny traveled was one that he chose to follow in his own way.  Debbie shared, “He found respect and fun in all the right aspects of life.  He always worked very hard at any job he had.  A friend of his once made the statement, ‘Kenny wanted to become a police officer for all the right reasons’, and that he did!  He tried to be humble and kind in any situation.  He wanted to be fair while upholding the law.  He loved the Lord, his family, friends, and he loved his country.”

When asked what her fondest memories were of her husband’s work in law enforcement, his widow quickly answered, “Kenny’s passion and love for all parts of law enforcement were very strong.  His work ethic was to be greatly admired because he would hardly ever miss work, even when he was off duty or trying to sleep.  While he served as a law enforcement official, there would be people who would call him or come to our house to talk with him about their concerns, get advice, or sometimes to ask him to take them to jail.  He was always willing to go the extra mile for the protection and service to others.  He respected his fellow officers and they were his brothers and sisters in blue.  During our marriage in the years Kenny was a police officer, I proudly accepted the role of the wife behind the badge because I understood his love for being an officer, a position he was most proud of being in.”

Although a well-traveled path in his life eventually led Kenny Goodlett, the person, to live his dream of being a policeman, Officer Goodlett did not let that path end without educating young people who expressed interest in serving to police and protect.  Without hesitancy, he would talk with them about the strong dedication and sacrifices that are required to serve as a police officer.

In remembering her husband’s work in law enforcement prior to his untimely death last year, Debbie Sea Goodlett wants this message to reach officers and their families in law enforcement: “Our family is honored to have been showered with support and encouragement during Kenny’s short illness that he incurred until his death.  We appreciate all your kind words and stories you have shared.  And to our Thin Blue Line family, we will always support you and have your six.  The love and support of so many fellow officers will never be forgotten, and I will forever remember the tears and handshakes you had with Kenny as you said your final good-byes. God bless you as you continue to serve and protect.  Our prayers will always be with you.”

-Written by Donna Crain Drury

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