FRANKFORT, Ky. — Every morning, the sound of ringing bells fills the Kentucky State Capitol Rotunda in honor of coronavirus victims.
Kandie Adkinson rings her father’s old school bell at 10 a.m. nearly every day at the Kentucky State Capitol to honor people dealing with the virus.
“I ring his bell in honor of all of our educators, our bus drivers, our school administrators who are having to adjust their school planning for non-traditional instruction to make sure our children are educated,” Adkinson said.
She started ringing the bell March 30 after Gov. Andy Beshear made a plea to honor coronavirus victims.
“So I asked our administration, Secretary of State Michael Adams if it would be okay if I rang a bell in the rotunda every day. And of course, they agreed instantly,” Adkinson said.
Michael Adams is actually the eighth Secretary of State Adkinson has worked for over the past 36 years.
Adkinson said the love of public service has kept her working for the office through the decades. She handles records in the Secretary of State’s land office, which means she gets to utilize her love of history.
“I have the distinct honor of working with Kentucky’s original land patents, those Daniel Boone surveys, General George Rogers Clark’s military warrants,” Adkinson said.
She has some family and friends dealing with the coronavirus, but the largest direct impact on her happened when her youngest granddaughter gave birth to a child on Good Friday, which was one month early.
“He had lung problems,” Adkinson said. “As much as we wanted to be there to hold that baby, we knew it was in his better interest that we stayed away.”
Adkinson said the child’s parents had to split time with him initially due to restrictions put in place because of the coronavirus.
She rings the bell by the statue of Dr. Ephraim McDowell, the first surgeon to successfully remove an ovarian tumor, to honor the doctors who helped keep her great-grandchild healthy while in the neonatal intensive care unit.
“Because of what they did to keep him safe and because of what we’re learning about COVID-19 in children now, little Jaxson is doing well,” Adkinson said. “He’s home with his mother, and now she can hold him whenever she wants to.”
She knows she’s not alone ringing the bells at 10 a-m every morning.
“There are bells being rung in Cornishville, where I’m from, western Kentucky, eastern Kentucky, central Kentucky,” Adkinson said.
And because of that, she has hope.
“We have to learn to get through this, just like Daniel Boone did. He faced the challenge. He met the challenge, and that’s why we’re here today,” Adkinson said. “It would’ve been easier to go home to the Yadkin Valley and hide under the featherbed, but thank goodness he didn’t. We’re going to get through this Kentucky. We’re strong.”