A great man once lived among us, one that shined bright through the crowd, despite his efforts to stay in the shadows, and although he is no longer with us, the legacy his life created still is, and will be for generations to come.
Brother Joseph A. Carrico left this earthly world and the Logan community he loved so dearly the day before Thanksgiving. Passing this close to a holiday that celebrates being grateful is apropos, considering so many people have been touched in one way or another by the life of Bro. Joe. Of course he would never want accolades for his life’s mission to aid others, those less fortunate, but he certainly deserves it, and during a time when he is being missed by so many, he is going to receive it.
The many seeds planted by Bro. Joe over his 88 years have blossomed and flourished beyond belief. While here with us, Bro. Joe taught us how to live, he took God’s word and spent a lifetime trying to immolate it in his quiet, but steady way. No one is perfect, and we all falter from time to time, but Bro. Joe has shown us through his example that one man can make a difference if he is willing to let love and kindness lead him, and mixing that with motivation to follow what Christ commands of us all, is a recipe for a true successful life.
Countless articles have been written about Bro. Joe over the years since he moved to Logan County in the early 1950s. He was selected twice for Citizen of the Year, once in 1968 and the other in 1991; was named one of Logan County’s Top Newsmakers of the Century, and received numerous awards, to many to count, for his efforts to help those in need. He even received a medallion and proclamation from Kentucky Governor Brereton Jones in 1995 acknowledging him for his service to the community.
Brother Joe was originally from Graves County. He was one of five children growing up in Fancy Farm about ten miles west of the county seat, Mayfield on Kentucky Route 80 in the rural western portion of the state called the Jackson Purchase. Early in his life he had worked as a survey crew member with the R.E.A. During three memorable years, Bro. Joe had served as a flight engineer with the United States Air Force in World War II. He saw action on bombers and transports in China, India and Burma during the war.
Bro. Joe was a highly educated man. He began his school career at Union University at Jackson, Tenn. Then he attended the Bible Institute of Mayfield, then onto Bethel College at Hopkinsville and finally onto Western Kentucky University where he received a degree in secondary education in 1960.
Bro. Joe joined the Baptist church in 1948 and when moving to Logan County became the pastor of Post Oak Baptist Church in 1954, where he stayed until his retirement 50 years later.
He and his first wife Leona had a child named Renee, whom he loved very much. He spoke of his daughter often and you could tell by the way his face lite up when mentioning her, that she was the love of his life. Both Leona, a long-serving educator and his daughter passed before him.
Bro. Joe served on many committees and boards including the Board of Directors of the Kentucky Heart Fund, the Logan County Heart Fund, the Russellville Ministerial Association, Associate Moderator for 22 churches in the Bethel Association of Logan and Todd Counties, Chairman of the Finance Committee for the Bethel Association, and Chairman of the Cancer Crusade, among many, many others. He has earned numerous awards, to many to mention, and received many accolades. He was responsible for many individuals receiving Kentucky Colonels, and was most noted as the founder for the Toys for Tots in Logan County.
Toys for Tots and Bro. Joe have assured that hundreds of children woke up to something underneath their Christmas tree and had a good meal on their table. He organized numerous volunteers, businesses and organizations to help in his crusade to assure the downtrodden were lifted up.
He was a man who helped everyone that needed it, no matter who you were.
Bro. Joe was the intricate player in partnering Logan County with the 7th Battalion of the 101st Airborne Division in Fort Campbell when the community as a whole was in need. When Logan County needed help in the late 1970s due to high drifting snow and freezing weather conditions, it was Bro. Joe who called on the Army for help. Logan Contains were in desperate need of food, fuel and medicine. After receiving assistance from tanks and helicopters, Bro. Joe worked with then Judge Bob Brown and the city and county adopted what was then the 159th Aviation Battalion, who is now the 101st Aviation Regiment.
Since this time, Fort Campbell’s soldiers have had a presence in Logan County, rather it be riding in the Tobacco & Heritage Festival, cooking and serving food at the annual Toys for Tots Country Ham Breakfast or repairing bicycles and other toys for Toys for Tots.
It wasn’t until the last years of his life that Bro. Joe began to slow down a bit. He handed over the reins of Toys for Tots to the Agape Service Foundation in 1994, but continued a wonderful working relationship with the non-profit. Even at his worst, while sick and in the hospital one year Bro. Joe had an ambulance take him to the annual Toys for Tots Country Ham Breakfast (a fundraiser for the intuitive) and then carry him back when he was done. He didn’t want to miss what he felt was very important to those in need, even while he was in need.
“Bro. Joe’s Life was a ministry,” said Mike Humble of Agape, adding that Carrico was a great man and a caring man for his fellow man. “He was always on the go and would always stop and pray with you,” said Humble.
After Agape began overseeing Toys for Tots, Bro. Joe began Carrico Ministries, which reached out to the community in many ways. He even started a church called the Calvary Baptist Chapel on 3rd Street in Russellville. He was very active in helping the mentally disabled and acted as Chaplin at the many homes for disabled individuals.
There is not enough space to mention all of Bro. Joe’s accomplishments and what his life has meant to this community and the lives of the many he has touched. Perhaps he is best summed up at the end by going back to the beginning with one of the earliest articles written about Bro. Joe appearing as an editorial by the News Democrat on Jan. 18, 1969. Of all the pieces written on Bro. Joe over the many years, this one seemed to capture them all and offer a feeling of what everyone felt who knew Bro. Joe.
The editorial reads:
The Quiet Christian from Post Oak Baptist Church
Few there are in Logan County who have not crossed the path of a smiling, chubby little Baptist pastor who seems to be truly a man for all occasions.
Whether it’s readying a crusade for the Boy Scouts or the Heart Fund, visiting sick and afflicted in the hospital, preaching a funeral for some friendless soul, or one departed who was mourned by hundreds; Rev. Joe Carrico is truly a man who witnesses to all walks of life.
There is no way to estimate the number of children who have received toys at Christmas time because Joe Carrico the Post Oak Baptist minister- made sure that they were remembered- in case someone else forgot.
The toy drive conducted by his Royal Ambassadors of Post Oak church for the Christmas past was very successful. Toys were distributed to about 458 children as a result of the campaign. Bro. Carrico, his assistant Ray Mullen and others connected with the collection, express their appreciation to the response of the public- which was “Magnificent.”
As for us, we would like to take this space at the beginning of the New Year to say a public “thanks” to the warm hearted, modest man of God who has touched with compassion, humor and love the hearts of many, many Logan Countians.
Well done, and Happy New Year, Brother Joe.