distinguished alumni

Hardin County Schools will honor five graduates with Distinguished Alumni awards at a luncheon on Thursday, September 21, 2022 at the Hardin County Schools Early College and Career Center.

This is the first group of HCS Distinguished Alumni to be honored since 2019.  The Covid-19 pandemic did not allow for ceremonies to be held in 2020 and 2021. 

If interested individuals would like to attend the luncheon on September 21, they should contact the HCS Superintendent’s Office (270-769-8817) with an RSVP by September 9, 2022.  There will be a cost associated with the event.

Here are this year’s honorees:


Rebecca (Becky) Ates

Rebecca (Becky) Ates, a 1979 North Hardin High School graduate, was hired in 1983 as a part-time teller at Fort Knox Federal Credit Union. When she retired from the same institution in 2021 (now Abound Credit Union), she was Executive Vice President.  She was instrumental in a $1.85 billion increase in assets over that span of time. 

When she began her career with Abound Credit Union, it had $39 million in loans. Ms. Ates’ work was critical in expanding the loan portfolio to $1.3 billion through her efforts in implementing small business lending programs and mortgage lending programs.  As she moved from serving members on the front line to leading the organization, she never lost sight that these lending programs represented members' homes and small business owners' dreams.  Abound Credit Union President Ray Springsteen said that “all of her outstanding accomplishments and innovations were driven by her desire to serve members and strengthen our communities.”

From her start at the credit union, she balanced a career, post-secondary education classes, raised a young family and found ways to continue serving members and the community.

Ms. Ates was instrumental in financial education. She worked with school districts to provide the systems and training teachers needed and developed new partnerships with the Omicron Nu Lambda fraternity to help reach underserved populations and launched innovative new programs with local colleges to help thousands of young adults build a financial future.  

During her tenure at Abound Credit Union, Ms. Ates never stopped continuing her education and focusing on professional development. After she was hired as a part-time teller, she completed her associate's degree (Elizabethtown Community and Technical College), bachelor's degree and master's degree (Western Kentucky University).


Burton and Barbara Langley

Burton (Lynnvale High School Class of 1948) and Barbara Pawley (Lynnvale Class of 1952) Langley accomplished a great deal in their life together.

They founded and ran successful local businesses:  Langley Contracting, Kentucky Guardrail, Kentucky Galvanizing and the Bank of Elizabethtown.  They also developed the area in and around Hardin County’s present-day Pine Valley area into real estate and a golf course.

The Langley's passion for education motivated them to donate the land to Hardin County Schools that currently houses the College View Campus.  That building is the former G.C. Burkhead Elementary School.  

Mr. Langley helped develop Hardin County’s rural water system and began serving as a commissioner in 1967. He retired in 1991 when he and Mrs. Langley retired to Florida.  While there, the couple developed and owned the Kissimmee Bay Country Club and seven other golf courses in Florida.  They owned the country’s largest private golf museum, which they donated to Rotary International.

The Langleys established the Barbara and Burton Langley Family Foundation.  The foundation has contributed to the restoration of rural cemeteries, veteran projects, Oneida Baptist Institute and has assisted many individuals attempting to earn their GEDs.  The Langley Family Foundation awards a $1000 scholarship to a high school senior living in the Hardin County Water District #2 service area.  The Foundation has distributed more than $250,000 to the community.


George H. McAfee

George H. McAfee graduated from Glendale High School in 1945.   After graduating from Centre College in 1949 he joined the United States Civil Service and became a Radar Instructor at Kessler Air Force Base, Biloxi, Mississippi.

He was drafted into the US Army in 1952 and was a radar instructor at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Aberdeen, Maryland. He was discharged from the Army in 1954 and joined Westinghouse Electric Corporation’s Defense Center in Baltimore.

Mr. McAfee started his 33-year career at Westinghouse designing and developing analog computer systems for radars that were “housed” in airborne radars and missile systems. 

Many of the systems he designed and developed were for special access programs.  Therefore, information about them is classified and not for attribution.  His specialty was designing and developing feedback control systems for radars used in the Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) and the F-16 Fighter Jet.

He also designed and developed the Underwater Launch Computer for Elevation and Range (ULCER) for the Polaris Missile System.  The system calculated the height and troughs of sea waves to determine when it was safe to launch a missile.

Mr. McAfee held many positions of responsibility throughout his career.  He retired as Manager of the Feedback and Control Systems Department.

He graduated from Centre College with a BS (Physics).  In 1967 he received a MS (Electrical Engineering) from The Johns Hopkins University.  He was a registered Professional Engineer (PE) in the State of Maryland.

His widow is 2016 HCS Distinguished Alumni honoree Naomi Jones McAfee.  She graduated from Glendale High School in 1951.


Lt. Col. Tucker McEwen

Lt. Col. Tucker McEwen, a 1999 graduate of Central Hardin High School, is the senior C-32A Evaluator Pilot in the United States Air Force’s 89th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.  His primary duties include planning and executing missions transporting the Vice President of the United States (under the call sign “Air Force 2”) as well as the First Lady, Secretary of State and other senior government officials. 

Prior to being selected as an Air Force 2 pilot, Lt. Col. McEwen was assigned to fly the C-130 Hercules aircraft.  During this time he amassed over 3,500 flight hours, including over 800 combat hours during four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He delivered tens of thousands of tons of cargo and personnel in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom, including over 30 combat airdrops to resupply troops at remote outposts in the mountains of Afghanistan.  During an airdrop to resupply a US Army forward operating base in the Korengal Valley in 2006, his aircraft evaded intense enemy surface-to-air fire.  Lt. Col. McEwen and his crew were awarded the Air Force Combat Action Medal for this mission.  He has also been awarded the Humanitarian Service Medal for his participation in relief operations in the aftermath of the Haiti Earthquake of 2010 and Cyclone Nargis in Burma in 2008.

In 2019, he completed a fifth combat deployment to Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan as the Director of Operations for the 430th Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron. His duties included directing combat operations for 23 squadron personnel and the squadron’s four E-11A BACN aircraft.  He also flew 600 combat hours and provided communications range extension and data link bridging for air and ground forces.

Tucker received his commission through US Air Force ROTC Detachment 290 at the University of Kentucky in 2003. He graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Georgetown College and was named the Outstanding Physics Major of the Class of 2003.  During his time at Georgetown, he was a wingback on the Georgetown College football team that won the NAIA national championship in 2001 and 2002.


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