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He Served 13 Tours in Iraq & Afghanistan and is Honored in Ft. Mitchell

Fort Mitchell honored one of its own Monday evening, presenting resident Matt Zahler with several proclamations and a day in his honor in Kenton County and Fort Mitchell, for his 13 tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I couldn’t have done any of it without my wife,” Zahler said, standing in front of Councilman Dennis Zahler, his father. “I’m one proud papa,” he said. Mayor Jude Hehman called his former Beechwood High School classmate a “true, American hero.”

Past heroes of our country were honored Saturday afternoon in the city’s annual parade. New July 4 parade organizer, Zach Rechtin, said it had 70 entrants in a non-election year and was aided by nice weather. “We have a few tweaks and things we want to work on for next year so we can continue to improve,” he added. Rechtin said the most patriotic float awarded in the parade belonged to the Kenton County Fiscal Court and the most creative was awarded to The Diocesan Catholic Children’s Home. In addition to his parade duties, Rechtin will coordinate events for the recreation program moving forward, City Administrator Sharmili Reddy said.

The city also posted a Facebook poll Monday, asking residents what they would like the now-razed house in Fort Mitchell Park to be transformed to, making best use
of the land. “The park board felt strongly it wanted to get ideas from the community…Just keep your eyes open for these questions on Facebook. We really need some input from the community,” she said.

The Administrator stated that city residents with potential ideas could also reach out to Parks Director Kyle Bennett at [email protected].

City Fire Chief Scott McVey is pondering retirement at the end of July, and Reddy wants to contract with the Northern Kentucky Area Development District to help search for the new chief. “To contract with an independent agency like that would guide the process for us,” she said. “Depending on the contract we have with them, they can create job responsibilities, they can collect resumes, they can be the independent panel that would help with the search when it comes to the fire department. Since we’ve
included a full-time fire chief within the budget, I’m taking steps in that direction,” she said. But, it will be a couple of weeks or months before any decision is made on McVey’s potential replacement.

Other Notes:

The city was approved for two road projects, Orphanage Road and the left turn from Dixie Highway onto Beechwood Road, to help alleviate traffic issues at the intersection, where a recent count had 10,000 vehicles traveling along Beechwood during a three-day period.

According to Sergeant Matt Robinson, the city is joining forces with Covington’s department to help combat crime hot spots within the city, using intel-based programs to assist the department in best allocating its resources toward troublesome spots.

The Vent Haven Museum on 33 West Maple Avenue will hold its annual Double Talk show on July 19 at 3 p.m. at Notre Dame Academy’s Performing Arts Center, featuring professional ventriloquists. Tickets are currently on sale for the event and can be found on the Museum’s website, The Museum is the world’s only singularly dedicated to ventriloquism.

Monday’s council meeting was the first held in the new city building, where an open house will likely be held in mid-September but the date is yet to-be-determined.

Story & photos by Jason Finnell, RCN contributor