STANFORD, Ky. (LEX 18) — The city of Stanford is mourning the loss of its mayor, Scottie Ernst, who died Tuesday after a mowing accident.
"My opinion is like anyone else in town you'll find out. Mayor Ernst, he had a big heart and he really cared about Stanford,” said Fire Chief Scott Maples.
Ernst was elected mayor in 2018, but he was already a figure in the community, serving for years on city council. Chief Maples knew Ernst all his life and briefly served on council with him.
"He loved it. He loved his community,” said Maples.
Maples says it's easy to see the impact Ernst had.
"Probably the biggest impact is Main Street,” said Maples. “You look and see the flowers and the way Main Street has shaped up since he's been in office. It's gotten most people's and citizens' attention."
As mayor, people say Ernst was very hands on. If the grass needed to be mowed or if plants needed to be watered in the city, he was there to help. He was apparently mowing city property when the tragic accident happened.
"One word describes Scottie Ernst - servant. That's what he was doing in his last moment,” said Lincoln County Property Valuation Administrator David Gambrel. “Even little things, making sure that we had trick or treat in downtown Stanford last year. Driving the Easter bunny around at Easter. Dressing up like Uncle Sam for the Fourth of July."
Friends will remember Ernst as a man who gave his heart to his community and his family.
"He was madly in love with his wife and she was madly in love with him and that's the great loss,” said Gambrel. “Yes, the community has lost a leader, but his wife has lost her soulmate."
However, Ernest's legacy lives on, on Main Street and throughout the city.