Gary Hardy, right, and his family. 

Just because a person “knows everybody” doesn’t mean they have the ability to bring them together in a constructive way.

Oldham County resident Gary Hardy has that valuable trait—one of many that led to him earning the 2023 “Oldham Countian of the Year” recognition during a celebration hosted by the Oldham County Chamber at Hermitage Farm Feb. 16.

“If Gary doesn’t know you, he likely knows somebody who does know you,” local Real Estate Broker Patrick Pollard said of Hardy in a video tribute at the ceremony, “And he uses those [connections] to help people succeed in this community. I’ve seen him do it in my life and that’s a commendable thing he’s done [for Oldham County].”

Hardy built many of those connections through roughly 45 years in community banking, where he continues to work for United Citizens Bank part-time while serving on their board since Sept. 2020.

Beyond a brief childhood period in northern Kentucky, Hardy was born in Oldham County and returned here in 1976 after graduating high school to live with his grandmother.

Two years later, in February 1978, he accepted his first job in the financial world as a branch manager of Crestwood State Bank, a position he held for more than a decade.

“Bruce Hamilton offered me that job,” Hardy said in a phone interview, adding that he’d never really considered a career in finance before that point. “He offered it and I grew into it. Once I got into it, I loved it.”

From there he became president of Bedford Bank for five years before working for Bank of Louisville, who opened a savings bank charter that had its first branch in Pewee Valley and the second in front of the La Grange Kroger.

Hardy also built numerous valuable relationships throughhis community involvement—perhaps most notably his key role in chartering the South Oldham Rotary Club in 1993.

“Several of us felt like we needed a breakfast club and we thought that end of the county made more sense to have it,” he said. “Today the club has 40-50 members and they’ve donated a lot of money in the county.”

He also founded Business Leaders of Oldham County (BLOC), which, until the onset of COVID impacted attendance, met every Friday morning for breakfast and guest speaker.

“It was actually during a BLOC meeting where Daniel Cameron made his announcement to run for Attorney General,” Hardy said.

Hardy also serves on several philanthropic boards, among them the Mallory Taylor Foundation, which helps people pay medical bills they cannot afford.

“If somebody doesn’t have insurance and [high] hospital bills, we have a director who negotiates the cost with hospitals,” he said. “We have money from the [former] Mallory Taylor Hospital in La Grange—that’s where that corpus came from.”

He also belongs to the “Every Slice Matters” a local nonprofit that works in cooperation with Hometown Pizza to assist in a variety of fundraising efforts and projects.

Hardy’s Oldham County roots go back at least three generations. Both of his parents were active in church, his father Deacon of La Grange Baptist Church, formerly DeHaven Baptist Church.

Four decades ago, his grandparents sold their farm off Hwy. 53. When those purchasers passed away, Hardy brought it back into the family fold.

“We were able to purchase it and have it back in the family,” he said. “It’s about 45 acres.”

Hardy is married to his wife, Kathy. His oldest daughter, Rachel Worley owns Louisville-based architectural firm, Three Dot Design. His middle daughter, Dana Farmer, works for University Hospital as a Cancer Navigator and his youngest daughter, Callie Troyer, recently accepted a position with Southeast Christian Church.

Hardy called the Oldham Countian of the Year Recognition a “big surprise,” particularly since he serves on the Chamber board.

“I always ask [Chamber president] David Bizianes before the event who won, but this is the first year I happened not to ask,” Hardy said with a laugh.

Kasselmann wins ‘Young Professional’ award

Rising McDonald’s star Emily Kasselmann took home the 2023 “Oldham County Young Professional of the Year” for her work with restaurants in Kentucky and beyond.

Kasselmann owns five current locations, including the La Grange McDonald’s, and recently confirmed a new location will be built this summer in Buckner.

She spent more than a decade with Proctor & Gamble Company before deciding to join the family McDonald’s business in 2012 with locations in Oldham and Henry County.

“We’re so blessed to provide an opportunity for those working in this community,” she said at the ceremony. “Thank you so much. This means a great deal to my family and I.”

Baptist Health wins Basham Development Award

On the heels of announcements for a brand new hospital campus in Crestwood and a $40 million pharmacy headquarters in La Grange, Baptist Health won the Basham Development Award, which recognizes an organization for its business growth and development in the community.

“We are grateful for the recognition and excited for Baptist Health’s continued growth in the community we are privileged to serve,” Baptist Health representatives wrote in a social media post.