A memorial ruck was held Saturday at Lexington’s Legacy Trail for former U.S. Army serviceman Jim Padgett.
The 31-year-old Padgett died after a tragic explosion on a construction site in Nicholasville.
“He was so full of love and friendship for people that if you met him today and he saw you in the store next week, he’d be saying ‘Hey, how are you doing?’” said Beulah Sexton, who lives in Georgetown.
Padgett became friends with Sexton’s son in middle school, so she’s seen Jim’s love and kindness for years. “They went to high school together, they went to welding school together and they roomed together,” said Sexton.
Sexton and her son were among dozens of friends, family, and servicemen and women who came to honor Padgett’s legacy by walking the Legacy Trail.
“He’s just one of those soldiers you can’t forget,” said Sergeant First Class Shawn Lyon while friends and family shared stories of Jim prior to the ruck.
Lyon served in the army with Padgett.
“Walking next to each other, talking about old stories, it’s kind of what we do,” Lyon said. “Plus the physical aspect of it too, you know. He was a very strong soldier, so he would appreciate us doing some kind of physical activity in his name.”
Padgett’s mother, Mary Mudd, was honored that these soldiers came and walked with her to remember Jim on this national day of remembrance.
“I can remember everything about this day 20 years ago,” Mary said. “I think that was the day Jimmy decided he wanted to be in the military and he wanted to do good for his country.”
Padgett was taken from his loved ones too soon, but Mary is appreciative for all the times she got to spend with him.
“I was never supposed to have children and he was my miracle baby,” said Mary. “God blessed me with a fantastic son for 31 years and that’s the greatest gift that I could’ve ever received.”
On September 17 there will be a ride from Man O’War Harley-Davidson to Frankie’s Plaza at 540 Hecks Plaza Drive in Morehead. A portion of the proceeds will go to Padgett’s family in his memory.
You can also find a link to a GoFundMe page here. The money will help Padgett’s family with funeral expenses.