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Morton tapped for chamber director position

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By Charlotte Underwood

After devoting 26-years to his country, Lt. Colonel E.L. Morton will now devote his time to his hometown.

Morton has retired from the military and accepted the position of Director of the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce.

Born and raised on a farm in Demory, Morton said he is ready to contribute locally to his community.

“I’m excited. I didn’t think there would be an opportunity to contribute to my community like this,” said Morton happily.

While his military retirement will not be complete until March 31, Morton will begin his official duties as chamber director on Feb. 1.

Morton received orders to go to Afghanistan two and a half years ago and has only been back stateside for a year.

He said he is very happy to be home with his wife Elaine and their three sons, Ethan, Garrett and Gabriel.

“I’ve been a commuter dad too long. It’s been long enough, I’m ready to be here with my wife and kids,’ said Morton who had previously been commuting from Fort Knox, KY to see his family every week.

Morton said he feels that the first step as director will be to learn the environment of the chamber members and the county.

“I hope to not be presumptuous; I’m in a position of having to learn what I don’t know,” he said. Morton hopes to have a better assessment on the needs of the county after 90-days.

“I had a boss who said to work your tail off for 90 days, then look up and you’ll have a feel for what’s going on around you,” explained Morton.

He said he feels hopeful and excited about the growth the county has shown.

“When Rarity Properties selected the top of Jellico Mountain, that shows we have something special. Tie that to the 300,000 acre wildlife management area and all the outdoor recreational opportunities and we’ve really got something special,” Morton said.

While tourism is a main area of growth for the county, Morton said that doesn’t mean it will be the only area concentrated on.

“We’re not going to ignore the businesses, nor the agricultural bases either,” said Morton. He hopes to increase both the business base, as well as agriculture.

“Individually I can’t do anything, but collectively we can meet whatever challenges are ahead.”

Morton plans to meet with former director Betty Snodderly to draw on her knowledge and experience of the internal workings of the chamber.

“She is owed the credit for bringing the chamber up to where it is today and it’s a place of incredible growth potential,” said Morton.

He said he is aware of the challenges ahead, but looks forward to beginning the position with optimism.

“I know that I will be working with people who have the same values I’ve been fighting for; quality of life, freedom, and family.”