(Posted June 19, 2015)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
This year, Lewis “Louie” Conway and Ralph Ross will preside as grand marshals in the Let Freedom Ring parade, part of Mount Sterling’s annual patriotic celebration set for June 27. Activities will take place at the Mount Sterling Community Center and Veterans Field.
Lewis “Louie” Conway
Originally from Jackson, Ky., Louie Conway made his way to Mount Sterling in 1963 by way of a job transfer. In total, he worked for United Telephone for 41 years, retiring in 2002. It was through his job that Conway took up community service.
“I was the phone company’s representative in the community, and they liked us to get involved,” he said.
Conway served eight years as a member of the Madison-Plains Board of Education, was a two-time president of the Mount Sterling Rotary Club and is a former member of the Mount Sterling Chamber of Commerce.
He is in his 12th year as a Pleasant Township trustee. As such, he helps to maintain township roads, mowing in the summer and snow plowing in the winter. Earlier this year, the trustees remodeled the township building, adding a heating system in place of the wood burning stove, installing air conditioning, replacing the carpet, and adding a generator so that the building can serve residents in times of emergency.
As for what makes Mount Sterling home for him, Conway said, “I’m a country boy, and I like the little town. Mount Sterling is a nice town to live in. We treat you so many ways, you’re bound to like one of them.”
Conway and his wife, Margaret Ann, have been married for 53 years. They raised two children, Charles (deceased) and Teresa, and have two grandchildren, Stephen and Samantha Rose Lemieux.
With the exception of a couple of years here and there, Ralph Ross has lived his entire life in Mount Sterling.
A 1979 graduate of Madison-Plains High School, he went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Mount Vernon Nazarene University. Upon graduation from college, he opened a florist shop in his parents’ home in Mount Sterling. A year later, he expanded the business by remodeling the home’s three-car garage.
“I lived two doors down from Marian Smith, who ran Marian’s Flower Shop. She got me my first loan to remodel the garage and was a mentor to me. She coached me on how to do things,” Ross said. Flowers by Ralph is now in its 32nd year of business.
In addition to his work, Ross is a very active member of Mount Sterling Church of the Nazarene. He has served as a youth director, choir director and praise team leader, and currently plays piano for the church and serves as a board member. In January of this year, he also became the pianist for Mount Sterling United Methodist Church.
Ross recently completed his first year as a member of the Madison-Plains Scholarship Foundation committee.
He says the connections he has made are what keep him in Mount Sterling.
“Through the process of trying to earn a living and my connection with the church, I’ve made lifelong ties with people in the community. I just enjoy spending time with people.”
The Let Freedom Ring parade will step off at 11 a.m. from Veterans Field. The route is as follows: Right onto Main Street from High Street, left onto Clevenger, left onto Columbus Street, left onto James Street, left onto Main Street, and right onto High Street to return to Veterans Field.