There must have been 100 people lined up at the door of the Hale-Polin-Robinson Funeral Home Thursday when the doors opened for Mike Haydon’s visitation. I was one of them, and my talks with others in the line prompt me to write this letter, as well as my knowledge of Mike as a leader at both the local and state levels.
I first met Mike in 1983, when he became Springfield’s city administrator and I was a Courier-Journal reporter based in Bardstown. I was immediately impressed by his energy and good humor, which served him well as he moved up the political ladder, helped run state government for the last two Democratic governors, and worked across the aisle with Republicans, often when others had given up.
Mike never sought the statewide spotlight; he just wanted to do good, and he did a lot of it. As former state auditor Crit Luallen said at his memorial service in the Capitol rotunda, “Mike never really worked FOR anybody. You might think you were directing him, but before you knew it you were doing his bidding and he had convinced you it was your idea!”
Those of you in Washington County probably know him better as mayor of Springfield, where he also did much good. At both local and state levels, he was a great example of the kind of public servants Kentucky and its communities need to make progress. Thank you for sharing him with our state.
Al Cross, Director
Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues
University of Kentucky