• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

‘Amazing 8’ honoree donates local artist’s book bench to camp for kids

Former Versailles Main Street Manager Diane Boyer didn’t realize how much of her life was dedicated to giving back to her community until she was named one of 2019’s Amazing 8. That realization came in January when she was notified that Camp Horsin’ Around was honoring her as one of its community heroes during its Amazing Eight Luncheon in Lexington May 1. “The cool part about it is,” said Boyer, “it’s just truly given to civic servants,” who are not affiliated with this camp for kids whose health is compromised or who have special needs, according to its website. Boyer and her husband of nearly 35 years, Rod, and two children, Britt and Landon, have been involved in their community from the time they moved to Versailles from Racine, Wisconsin in 1998. She became a part of the effort that led to Versailles being designated A Preserve America community and other events including a Twilight Festival that continues to this day. “…Those kinds of things,” said Boyer, “Rod and I just look back and we think we were meant to come to Kentucky.” In addition to her work to revitalize downtown Versailles, Boyer has been deeply involved in getting financial support for Lexington’s “Yes, Mamm” program to ensure “no woman has to choose groceries over getting a mammogram,” she said. Currently, Boyer works part-time in fundraising at LexArts, which was part of a collaborative effort called Book Benches. The public art project celebrated Kentucky authors by having Kentucky artists create 30 benches that looked like open books. A Book Bench created by Versailles illustrator Chris Ware still needed a home. So after being notified she was being honored as a community hero by Camp Horsin’ Around, Boyer was able to find four donors so Ware’s book about his grandson, “Max Takes a Nap,” had a home at this camp for kids. Her motivation was simple. “It would be so great if the kids at Camp Horsin’ Around could have this beautiful piece of art, and maybe the next great artist or author or poet … (could be) one of those kids sitting on that bench,” said Boyer. She credits her dad, Del Doty, a multi-talented musician, for giving his six children a love for the arts. “Music,” she said, “it just filled the house.” Ware, an illustrator at the Lexington Herald-Leader for 39 years, described his book bench project as a labor of love for his first grandson. “It’s colorful and I think a lot of kids will like it,” he said. “So I was thrilled that it’ll be at a place where there’ll be lots of kids around, and they’ll be able to enjoy it.” “It was fun for me to do,” he said of creating his picture book that became a colorful bench, “and it was a sweet little story about my grandson getting ready for bed…”

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