“Oh yeah, I’m a history buff,” said Keeney. “I’ve tried to keep up with things. I took a history course in college that I didn’t have to take, a History of the South course, so all along, I’ve been a fan of the Civil War.”
The Battle of Mill Springs occurred on January 19, 1862 in Pulaski and Wayne Counties and was the first significant victory for the Union Army in the west. The Confederate defeat at Mill Springs blazed a trail for Union troops to move from Kentucky into Tennessee.
Keeney is entering the fray at an opportune juncture, as these are exciting times for the Mill Springs Battlefield and the organization that oversees it.
For once, Somerset’s own Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers is in the midst of efforts to get the battlefield integrated into the U.S. National Parks System, which would increase visibility of the battlefield for tourists across the country and potentially have an economic impact on the community as a whole.
Also, in October, it was announced that approximately 100 new acres were being brought into the western Pulaski-area battlegrounds to be preserved, and that another deal was in the works that would hopefully bring the Mill Springs Battlefield size up to about 600 acres when finalized.
The hiring could bring a bit of stability to the directorship of the Battlefield Association. Almost exactly a year ago at this same time, Alabama marketing expert Stephen McKinney was hired for the job. Shortly thereafter, however, he was replaced by Gilbert to serve as interim director, which he did for the remainder of 2013.
“The Mills Springs Battlefield Association Board of Directors wants to thank Mr. Gilbert for his services and welcomes Mr. Keeney to his new position,” announced the MSBA in a written statement.
Added Keeney, “Dave Gilbert has done a good job. I just agreed to come in and follow him. Maybe have some continuity, to continue on with good leadership and hopefully bring some community awareness.