Charles Hardcastle says he has always tried to follow a simple rule: “I’ve been very fortunate in my life, and I think you should help people if you’re fortunate.”
Hardcastle and his wife, Carolyn, have certainly done much for others through the years, so much so that they were honored this month as 2022 South Central Kentuckians of the Year by the Community Foundation.
A 1951 graduate of Alvaton High School and 1956 graduate of Western Kentucky University, Charles Hardcastle – a former Bowling Green mayor – achieved success with BG Chemical and its successor Consolidated Paper Group, as well as with Citizens First Bank. Carolyn Hardcastle is a former mathematics instructor at WKU.
Together, they have given of their time and resources to a number of charitable organizations.
The couple’s $1.5 million gift to the Kentucky Museum at WKU led to the museum building being renamed the Charles Hardcastle Kentucky Building last year. They also established the Charles Hardcastle Endowed Fund for Excellence at WKU to help deserving students, the Daily News’ Don Sergent reported.
A longtime member of the Bowling Green Rotary Club, Charles Hardcastle was instrumental in starting the club’s “Adopt-A-Class” scholarship fund in 1991 that has helped many underprivileged youngsters realize their dreams of attending college.
Carolyn Hardcastle has been a leader in Bowling Green’s Junior Woman’s Club and the Jaycee-ettes. Her philanthropic work is also recognized at Lost River Cave, which is home to the Carolyn Hardcastle Bridge to Nature.
While Charles Hardcastle calls himself “just an instigator” and downplays his role in his successful business and political life, others offered praises.
“He was my financial backer for Southern Foods, and he has been a mentor to me,” said Joe Natcher, former owner of Southern Foods (now Reinhart Foodservice). “Charles is always teaching and trying to affect the quality of life of those around him.”
Congratulations are also in order for some others who have made this community better through their efforts.
India Unseld, part of the management team at Bowling Green’s Guarantee Pest Control, was recognized recently as the 2022 Young Athena Award winner during the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce Excellence Awards Luncheon at the Knicely Conference Center.
Unseld, who has done public service through nonprofit organizations and civic groups, is now on the board of directors for the Life’s Better Together nonprofit. She is also one of four city of Bowling Green representatives on the City-County Planning Commission of Warren County.
A news release said the Young Athena Award is presented to an area young woman who has emerged as a leader, demonstrates excellence and provides valuable service to her business, profession and community.
“I’m just really grateful for the nomination,” Unseld said at the luncheon. “I couldn’t do all that I do without Jesus Christ.”
Also recognized at the luncheon were 2022 Athena Award winner Michele Humphrey of American Bank & Trust Co. and 2022 Small Business Person of the Year Mike Hughes of Cambridge Market and Café. An Honorary Athena Legacy Award went to the family of the late Cornelius Martin of the Martin Automotive Group.
We congratulate each of these award recipients and thank each one for making our community a better place to live and work.