This morning lawyers from all over the Commonwealth will descend upon Louisville as the Kentucky Bar Convention opens it annual three day series of meetings and continuing legal education programs. And this year will be very special for Northern Kentucky.
Tom Rouse of Erlanger will be officially sworn in this week as the next president of the KBA.
Tom and I have been friends since we attended high school at Erlanger Lloyd where Tom played football before heading off to the University of Virginia. After graduating there he attended law school at the University of Kentucky and set up as a sole practitioner in Erlanger just a few doors down from his family home.
Tom's father, Clyde Rouse, served as city manager for Erlanger for many years and was a fixture in local Kentucky social and political circles, admired for his humor and dedication to public service.
Tom's mother, Marjorie Rouse, was an educator as was his sister Lucy Riffle who recently retired from the Erlanger school system.
Tom has served as president of the Northern Kentucky Bar Association as well as a member of the Kentucky Bar ethics committee, ethics hotline committee and board of governors.
He is currently the mayor of the city of Erlanger where he spent many years in coaching with the Lloyd Juggernaut football team. Tom also worked as an official referee for many years with Kentucky sports.
Now you might think that all of this is just good stuff about another good guy, but for anybody out there who needs a little encouragement to be all that you can be, let me add one more thing to Tom's list of accomplishments.
For many years he has been doing most of the things I mentioned above under the impact of Multiple Sclerosis which has disabled his ability to walk.
Not only is Tom's life a testament to the kind of gentle, honest, forthright, hard working, community minded spirit which is part of his family's legacy, but Tom has done all of this despite having faced obstacles that few others who have had to face the same thing found the intestinal fortitude and sheer determination to overcome.
Congratulations to Tom Rouse and his family on one more accomplishment in a life dedicated to making the world around you a better place. I am proud to call you my friend, honored to call you my mayor and look forward to calling you "Mr. President."