A far western Kentucky welcome center takes a top honor today. The Whitehaven Welcome Center in McCracken County is being recognized as the state’s best maintained rest area for 2012. Maintenance Foreman Ronnie Wilson has worked at the Paducah facility for some 26 years. “I’ve got a bunch of good people working for me that works hard, you know, take pride in what they do. That’s the only way you could win it, to do that,” said Wilson.
Wilson says the welcome center’s upkeep can impact visitors as they consider taking in the Commonwealth’s attractions. He says a room upstairs in the pre Civil war Whitehaven house contains items once owned by former Vice President and Kentucky native Alben Barkley.
“But, they got a lot of his stuff, the desk he had in the White House and all that, a bunch of photos of him and everything. And you know different personal affects up there,” added Wilson.
Wilson says there’s no question he and his staff can help leave a good impression in travelers’ minds.
“We have them all the time and they come in and say that and of course I’m a little bias, but they say it’s the cleanest rest area they’ve ever been in, you know. And of course, a lot of times the way they’re treated here at the welcome center, we might be the only people they even talk to in the state of Kentucky. We’re the port of entry and leaving out when they’re going through the state,” said Wilson.
A special recognition ceremony was scheduled Wednesday afternoon at the Welcome Center.