All of us at the Kentucky Resources Council join the many friends and the family of Judy Nichols in mourning her passing and celebrating her life and works. Judy was a lifelong educator and advocate for children and education, from her decades of service in the Boyd County Schools and on the Boyd County Board of Education, to her service as President of the Northeastern Kentucky Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) organization.
Beyond that, however, Judy was an advocate for all Boyd Countians, working tirelessly with a devoted "band of brothers and sisters" in the Citizens of Boyd County Environmental Coalition, to successfully challenge an out-of-control landfill whose trainloads of sewage sludge befouled the air of Boyd County.
As her obituary noted, "her legacy is in the air that all Boyd Countians breathe." Our prayers for comfort extend to her husband David, her extended family, and to the surviving members of the Citizens of Boyd County Environmental Coalition, with whom Judy devoted over a year of daily work to end the horrific stench and sewage trains that plagued Boyd County residents.
Sean Borst, a colleague and friend of Judy's, shared this reflection:
"I hope that heaven has internet and email, so that Judy can read this and understand how important she was to me and our community...She was so brilliant in every aspect. Every fiscal court meeting or event we attended, she would hit a home run....It was a true treat to listen to Judy address the court. I always walked away feeling like I had received a history lesson....Her eloquence was always present in every meeting. Every time we needed something like a document from the court, Judy would appear with it in her hands...Every time we needed help, it seemed Judy had already spoken with someone. She was always a step ahead. She had a direct line to the Department of Environmental Protection, everyone knew Judy. When I would call the DEP, they would always say, we’ve spoken with Judy today. She was always on it 100% of the time.
I think God looked down and said 'this group is going to need some serious help. I better send in Judy.' Her role was to keep us in line and make sure we succeeded in our fight. We all went into battle that year, and I am so glad Judy was on our side. I will miss her phone calls and the time we spent. There were days, I would need to charge my phone before noon after some of our conversations.
Judy if you are reading this, I miss you!! I am so glad I was able to be your friend and work with you. I am almost certain, God sent you to us. I have no doubt it was just some random circumstance that brought us all together. There was a greater power at play. You will be greatly missed.
In her book of reflections and prayers on working with children, Marian Wright Edelman prayed, "Lord, help me not to be a taker but a tender, Lord, help me not to be a whiner but a worker; Lord, help me not to be a getter but a giver; Lord, help me not to be a hindrance but a help; Lord, help me not to be a critic but a catalyst for good."
Farewell for now, and Godspeed, Judy. You were a tender, a worker, a giver, a help, and a catalyst for good, and that legacy endures.