(Senate - February 14, 2013)

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[Page S756]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                        TRIBUTE TO TONY WHITAKER

  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, it is my honor to stand before you 
today to recognize an esteemed Kentuckian, Mr. Tony Whitaker, on the 
occasion of his recent retirement from the position of CEO of First 
Federal Bancorp this past December. I speak for the communities that 
Mr. Whitaker has served and worked in during his career when I say that 
his desire to help others, work diligently and contribute to the lives 
of those around him are certainly deserving of our respect and honor.
  Tony has worked as a banker in Richmond, Louisville, and most 
recently in Hazard, KY, where he held the position of chief executive 
officer of First Federal Bancorp. According to Mr. Whitaker, his best 
years of the four decades spent in banking were spent at First Federal, 
something that the people of Hazard would no doubt confirm. His move to 
Louisville is motivated by a desire to be near family, but his 
assurance that he will miss calling Hazard ``home'' is represented by 
his fond memory of the welcoming community he found upon his arrival in 
the 1990s.
  Tony has been an indispensable presence both in Hazard and at First 
Federal, and his strong leadership has prepared the bank to thrive, 
allowing those he has invested in to continue his legacy. He will 
continue to stay involved by serving as the chairman of Kentucky First 
Federal Bancorp. He genuinely wants to positively impact others, 
offering to be just a phone call away to anyone who needs his help.
  At this time, I would like to ask my fellow Senators to join me in 
honoring Mr. Tony Whitaker. This well-known and well-respected man is a 
model citizen, and represents the best of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. 
We are grateful for his input and impact on his community, and I ask 
unanimous consent that a newspaper article highlighting his 
achievements be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

              [From the Hazard Herald, December 20, 2012]

              Whitaker Stepping Down as First Federal CEO

                           (By Cris Ritchie)

       Hazard.--In less than two weeks, Tony Whitaker will step 
     down as CEO of First Federal Bancorp, the parent company of 
     First Federal Savings & Loan of Hazard, and during a 
     reception on Thursday he expressed his admiration and 
     appreciation to the city of Hazard, where he has made his 
     home for the past 15 years.
       Whitaker, who also served several years as president of the 
     local chamber of commerce, will remain chairman of the 
     company's board of directors. Don Jennings, the current CEO 
     of the company's Frankfort location, will take on Whitaker's 
     role as chief executive officer, while Lou Ella Farler will 
     become CEO of the Hazard First Federal bank, a job for which 
     she has been transitioning for the past few months.
       First Federal in Hazard hosted a reception for Whitaker in 
     the bank's lobby on Thursday, during which he noted that the 
     best of his four decades of experience in the banking 
     business were spent in Perry County.
       ``My best years have been with this bank here in Hazard, 
     and living in this town the last 15 years or so,'' Whitaker 
       Whitaker plans to move to Louisville to be close to his 
     daughter and grandchildren, but will remain active with the 
     company as board chairman. The transition once he steps down 
     in Hazard will be seamless, he added, and for the customer 
     there shouldn't be any difference as the bank will continue 
     to offer the same service and products. And he expects the 
     bank to continue to thrive with Farler serving as its CEO.
       ``Through the year I've transitioned, and Lou Ella pretty 
     much got hands on and made most of the decisions,'' he said.
       He added that were his family not living in Louisville he'd 
     likely remain in Hazard, and he expressed his appreciation to 
     the people here for welcoming him into the community when he 
     arrived in the 1990s.
       ``I appreciate the good town I've had the opportunity to 
     live in, the boards that I've had and the people I've been 
     able to work with,'' he said, ``and most of all our 
       Whitaker will step down as CEO on December 31.