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
Boyd Democrats take floor at Elks
Boyd County Democrats met at the Elks Lodge for a matchup between candidates for two of the hottest primary races in Boyd County: sheriff and judge-executive.
The candidates, sponsored by the Boyd County Democratic Women’s Club, each took to the podium to face the crowd Tuesday night and discuss the candidacy and platforms for the race that is still over a month away.
Shay receives 38 years for fatal shooting
Casey R. Shay, 27, of Morehead, was sentenced Monday to 38 years in prison for the fatal shooting last year of Cassandra M. “Cassie” Owens, 21.
Space not problem with home garden
Growing your own dinner is not a concept lost on Kenny Imel.
Greenup court jumpstarts road repairs
As part of the Greenup County Fiscal Court’s annual expenses, the court approved the first reading of an ordinance that allots up to $1.5 million for blacktopping damaged county roads.
Nursing home reports drug theft to APD
Woodland Oaks Health Care Facility, 1820 Oakview Road, on Monday reported the theft of 30 hydrocodone tablets from a secured area within the nursing home.
Devices left from previous construction discovered
All four lanes of U.S. 23 were shut down for nearly two hours Tuesday following the discovery of old explosives on a hillside rock cut.
The devices apparently were left over from a previous construction project and were discovered by a crew working on the new Ironton-Russell Bridge, Russell Police Chief Tim Wilson said.
Boyd walk to raise awareness of autism
The differences in the nine children in Carla Malone’s classroom are striking.
A few can talk, but some won’t make a sound and others jabber apparent nonsense sounds.
There are playful children and those who keep to themselves. Some of the children can read and do other academic tasks. Schoolwork for others means matching pictures and doing exercises to develop fine motor skills, like learning to hold a pencil.
Grimes outpaces McConnell in first quarter
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes has again outpaced her likely Republican general election opponent, incumbent Mitch McConnell, in fundraising during the first quarter — but she remains well behind McConnell in total fundraising and cash on hand.
UPDATE: U.S. 23 reopened; explosives eliminated
More information on the U.S. 23 closure from the the Kentucky Department of Highways.
BREAKING: Explosives find shuts down U.S. 23
All four lanes of U.S. 23 have been shut down to the discovery of undetonated explosives on a hillside, authorities said.
- More Local News Headlines
- Boyd Democrats take floor at Elks