South Central Kentuckian
of the Year {2023}

The South Central Kentuckian of the Year Award annually honors an individual or organization for excellence in leadership as demonstrated by outstanding initiative, impact of work and inspiration of others. The purpose of this award is to honor people in the community who are making significant contributions through their life’s work. Every day people in our community make a difference. We want to celebrate these people who make giving back a priority for themselves, their family or their business.


David Chandler

David (“Dave”) Chandler can often be found at the intersection of philanthropy and entrepreneurship in South Central Kentucky. His immense impact on our community is evident in almost every corner and crevice, and his altruistic pursuits have transcended physical transformations, touching countless lives and reverberating throughout the region.

From humble beginnings in Owasso, Oklahoma, Dave's journey began as a roughneck in the oil fields while working his way through college. In 1982, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Geology from Western Kentucky University, and remains a devoted supporter of his alma mater, including his fraternity of Phi Delta Theta, WKU Athletics, and the Chandler Memorial Chapel.

Dave's philanthropy has had a significant impact on the lives of those in South Central Kentucky. He is a strong supporter of The Foundry Christian Community Center, Junior Achievement of South Central Kentucky, the Housing Authority of Bowling Green, Arts of Southern Kentucky, the Commonwealth Free Health Clinic, United Way of Southern Kentucky, and Operation Pride, to name a few.

As a result of his generosity, Dave has been the recipient of numerous honors throughout his lifetime. He was inducted into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame in 2019, and in 2006, he was named the Small Business Person of the Year by the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce in recognition of his entrepreneurial efforts.

Dave gives credit to his late mother, Sue Stringer, who raised him as a single-parent for instilling in him the values of humility, integrity, and an unwavering work ethic.

Dave Chandler South Central Kentuckian 2023

Key Organizations Supported

  • Arts of Southern Kentucky / Elm Street Society
  • Aviation Heritage Park
  • Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce / Capital Campaign
  • Commonwealth Health Free Clinic
  • Community Foundation of South Central Kentucky
  • Foundry Christian Community Center
  • Housing Authority of Bowling Green
  • Junior Achievement of South Central Kentucky
  • Operation Pride / Beautify I-65
  • Owasso High School / Athletic Endowment Fund
  • The Club at Olde Stone / Board of Directors
  • United Way of Southern Kentucky - Leadership Circle
  • Western Kentucky University
  • Chandler Memorial Chapel
  • Cupola Society
  • Henry Hardin Cherry Society
  • Hilltopper Athletic Foundation (Board of Directors—former member)
  • New Century of Spirit $200 Million Campaign Cabinet
  • Phi Delta Theta Fraternity

Awards & Recognition Highlights

  • 1995 Entrepreneur of the Year for Kentucky and Southern Indiana / Ernst & Young
  • 2006 Small Business Person of the Year by the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce
  • 2019 Housing Authority W.R.O.T.E. Foundation Roast Honoree
  • 2019 Junior Achievement of South Central Kentucky Business Hall of Fame Inductee

The History Behind the Limestone Award


Four Irish immigrants, John J., Peter J., Thomas J. & William J. Murphy established a limestone business in Bowling Green, KY, circa 1886. They were stone masons and engineers known as the MURPHY BROTHERS COMPANY. The brothers operated a stone quarry where they removed and cut limestone for many of the initial infrastructure projects in South Central Kentucky and other parts of the Commonwealth.

Many of the buildings, first constructed more than a century ago, remain today as a testament to the foundation upon which they sit. Some of the most notable are State Street Methodist Church and the Burton Memorial Baptist Church. In addition to buildings, the Murphys quarried and cut the stones for the street curbing for many communities including Bowling Green.

When John J. Murphy’s grandson, G. Michael Murphy began his career in construction in 1976, any opportunity to salvage these “stones of the foundation of our community” was preserved as a memory of their family’s business beginnings in South Central Kentucky.

Just as the philanthropic work of the individuals who receive this award are foundational to their community, the base of this award is salvaged limestone and is intended to represent the purpose of The Community Foundation of South Central Kentucky.