Lexington Derby Eve tradition returns to help out good causes

Lexington Derby Eve tradition returns to help out good causes
Published: May. 4, 2023 at 3:34 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A Derby Eve tradition makes its return Friday night and organizers hope it will be bigger than ever.

The Poor Man’s Harlan County Derby Eve party has been around for 49 years and has made a huge difference for many across Kentucky.

This year’s party will benefit two local organizations: The Friends of Lexington Fisher House and The K Club.

The Fisher House helps families with lodging while their veteran loved one is in the VA Medical Center getting medical care.

The Fisher House is brand new in Lexington. It’s estimated to save veterans and their families $600,000 annually in lodging and transportation costs.

A veteran that you’ve seen on WKYT several times knows firsthand the difference the Fisher House makes. Kentucky native and Marine Corporal Matthew Bradford and his mom stayed in a Fisher House in San Antonio for eight months.

“I lost both my legs and my sight,” said Bradford. “So, like, you know, there was a lot that focus on and a lot to worry about at that time.”

Corporal Bradford was severely injured in 2007 after stepping on an improvised explosive device while serving in Iraq.

“My mom was kind of my caregiver at the time. The Marine Corps took care of her when she was there but, you know, knowing that we had a place to stay. You know, kitchen, a bedroom like a bathroom like everything was taken care of. It took a lot of stress off to work, just focus on rehab,” said Bradford.

Not having to worry about a place to stay allowed Bradford and his mom the opportunity to begin healing.

“You don’t think of that when you’re in combat like what’s going to happen to me, what are they gonna do to me when I get injured? But knowing that they’re waiting for you on the other side with open arms that, you know, these nonprofits these organizations are there to help out as much as they possibly can,” said Bradford.

The event starts at 6 p.m. Friday at Two Keys Tavern in Lexington. The silent auction has all kinds of UK things up for grabs including all kinds of UK memorabilia, bourbon and more.

Tickets for this year’s Derby Eve party cost $25.

Click here if you would like to buy a ticket to this year’s party or want to bid on an auction item. You can also donate directly to the Fisher House.