Our Cooperative Hero, Henry Baughman of Henry County, captured five more national tennis titles this past summer at the age of 73.
His wins in the National Public Parks tennis championships in St. Louis ran his total victories in that event to a record 17.
The five-time gold medalist in the National Senior Olympics, and five-time Kentucky Tennis Player of the Year, has won 70 of 115 finals in Southern Tennis Championships play.
Yet the most enduring legacy for this member of Shelby Energy Cooperative may be his pioneering work with the Kentucky Emergency Medical Technicians’ program—for which he wrote the state’s first EMT workbooks and was one of the earliest instructors.
He grew up on a farm near Stanford, where his father, Henry Sr., took only one vacation in 25 years, but did take time to teach Henry and his younger brother, Jim, how to play tennis.
“I feel like I was imbued with caring for others by my mother, (Mary). She finished medical school at the University of Chicago in the 1920s, but they refused to let her do residency because ‘women should be nurses; men are physicians.’ So she taught nurses at Good Samaritan Hospital in Lexington.”
In Boy Scouts, Henry, an Eagle, was the one who administered first aid when others were injured. He lettered in tennis as a freshman at the University of Kentucky, then served in the Army as a medic in Europe and later as an instructor.
After the military, he was captain of Murray State University’s OVC Champion tennis team, while working as chief X-ray technician at Murray-Calloway County Hospital.
Later, during the 27 years that he taught health and safety at Western Kentucky University, he devoted hundreds of hours to teaching emergency care for the American Red Cross and American Heart Association, and to
tennis instruction for youngsters at local parks. Western Kentucky University honored him with its Public Service Award for volunteerism.
Today, neighbors around the community of Smithfield, where Baughman and his wife, Dr. Jann Aaron, have a farm, often call on him to help with carpentry and plumbing chores, and he sometimes fills in for the pastor at Smithfield Christian Church.
A lead gift from Baughman recently helped Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia build six lighted tennis courts—which have been named the Henry Baughman Tennis Complex.