Kentucky State Police Trooper Joey Vorbeck hushes.
Before he depresses a small switch on his cruiser console to broadcast he’s “10-8,” or evening shift begins, the amiable 27-year-old has his own devout rite. “I say little prayers,” he smiles proudly, understanding each workday brings stakes and vulnerability in darkness.
Crisscrossing country road ruts, he blacks out his headlights, with gunshot bangs 100 yards away. Two state police brothers are alongside Vorbeck. “We’re one foot out of the car and shots started firing. We didn’t know if they were intended for us or not,” he details, speaking of the chancy episode.
Although it’s just someone firing into an embankment, he calls upon KSP’s concerted mental and physical training, his three years protecting Madison County citizens as a deputy sheriff and his grandpa’s guidance for certitude in this risky business.
Rex Bunch was sworn into office the day Vorbeck was born and served three terms as Metcalfe County sheriff. He often piled his cadet grandson into his police car. There, Joey met a state trooper — a tough, unfaltering leader with a herculean aura and constant kindliness while backing up Vorbeck’s grandfather.
“I always knew I wanted to be a trooper since I was a little boy. It stuck with me until I became one,” he adds, saying those years as a ridealong helped him come to terms with odds of danger around the rural hollow bend. Raised on a farm, he’s in his element here.
“There are always butterflies in your stomach when you’re responding to an emergency. From training we go through, to calls you learn from, it all betters me on handling those situations,” he said. “But we’re trained to handle those situations, no matter how small or big.
“We go — no matter what the situation is. We’re not trained to survive. We’re trained to win.”
He’s privileged to wear the KSP uniform.
“This agency has heritage. People know when this gray car pulls up we’re gonna take care of them,” he said. “The job can be very stressful — from paperwork, to long hours to dealing with the most unimaginable calls the normal citizen wouldn’t think of. There are nights when you go home at midnight, get called back out and return home at 6 a.m. You never know what the day holds for you.”
Vorbeck’s paramount objective is coming home to his wife. Walking out tonight, he seals his love for her with a kiss and a heartfelt, “I love you.”
He learns safety from every complaint, from traffic stops to domestic violence calls, and advocates bulletproof vests.
“You wear it for yourself and you wear it for your family. It’s selfish to them to walk out the front door without it,” he yanks at his vest, and then speaks of commonplace highway traffic stops quickly turning bad. “Just because someone is nice doesn’t mean they don’t wanna kill you.
“Stress will always be part of being a Trooper. I deal with it by coming home and turning it off. I don’t think about what happened that night or day.”
After Christmas, he pulled over a mother with two children in the car. A nice guy, he imparted Tonka trucks and a princess dress-up set to the kids. He hopes first memories of a trooper were cheery and hospitable. He recommends the career to children and loves volunteering at the annual holiday Shop-with-a-Trooper charity campaign.
“If you have a goal you wish to accomplish, go for it, and don’t stop. I had support from my family. Since day one I said I wanted to be a Trooper — and now I am one.”
Kentucky State Police Trooper Joey Vorbeck hushes.
- Local News
Downtown lunch with the arts continues at noon today
Born with a love of traditional country music that could only belong to a truck-driver’s daughter, and growing with dreams of living lessons through Loretta Lynn songs, Canadian-born singer Crystal Shawanda has more recently added the inspirations of ladies including Aretha Franklin, Koko Taylor, Big Mama Thornton, Tina Turner and the mighty Janis Joplin to her shows — including her open-air appearance on Judd Plaza downtown starting at noon today.
Local briefs: 4/25/14
The city’s annual Arbor Day tree seedling giveaway will take place from noon to 6 p.m. today, or until all seedlings are gone, whichever comes first, at Central Park.
Grimes goes on attack over McConnell jobs comment
Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate Alison Lundergan Grimes is castigating incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell for telling a Beattyville newspaper editor that it’s not his job to bring jobs to Lee County.
City to seek proposals for floating restaurant
The Ashland Board of City Commissioners on Thursday voted to advertise for proposals to locate a floating restaurant on the city’s riverfront.
Luallen says no to 2015 governor’s race
After months of deliberation, former state Auditor of Public Accounts Crit Luallen announced Thursday she will sit out the 2015 race for governor.
- BREAKING: APD probes gun report near Blazer campus
Judge denies renewed motion to dismiss Rosen lawsuit
A judge has refused to dismiss a former Boyd district and circuit judge’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a law that affects his ability to run for re-election this fall.
In an order entered on Friday, Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas D. Wingate denied a renewed motion to dismiss by current Boyd Circuit Judge George W. Davis III, an intervening respondent in the suit filed in January by Marc I. Rosen.
Ashland football players join special-needs students for prom
The purple chiffon gown and the sparkling tiara are back in the closet four days after the big dance, but Karina McBride still hasn’t stopped talking about Saturday night — the decorations, boys bringing her cups of punch, her first kiss (on the cheek, her mother hastens to interject), and dancing the night away at her first prom.
“She’s been flying high since that night,” said Michele Woods, who is Karina’s mother and who brought together friends and volunteers to organize a prom for special needs students.
Concrete pouring at Putnam
Workers are pouring concrete foundations at Putnam Stadium and once those are dry and cured will be ready to install seats at the historic arena.
The workers are putting in 12-hour shifts to keep on schedule to complete the stadium’s reconstruction in time for this fall’s football opener, said site supervisor Craig Chinn of Trace Creek Construction.
The most visible work is happening on the home-team side of the stadium, where workers Tuesday were setting forms for the cylindrical concrete piers that will support the seats. Once those are poured, cured and inspected they will add the seats.
Unique races for Carter magistrates
Carter County magistrate ballots are full of candidates eager to represent constituents in each of the five districts that make up the county’s fiscal court.
- More Local News Headlines
- Downtown lunch with the arts continues at noon today