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Al Cornett honored by State House of Representatives

Alfred Al Cornett was honored recently by the Kentucky House of Representatives for his dedicated service and employment and for a willingness to share his talents as a woodworker with the people of Harlan County and Southeast Kentucky Community amp; Technical College.

State Representatives Rick Nelson and Leslie Combs sponsored the resolution which was read aloud to the assembly on Feb. 3 by the clerk.

Following the reading, Cornett was escorted onto the floor of the House Chamber accompanied by Dr. W. Bruce Ayers, president of Southeast Kentucky Community amp; Technical College and Representatives Nelson and Combs. Several hand-crafted dulcimers were displayed to the body. The presentation culminated with a raucous applause for one of the commonwealths most accomplished artisans.

I was certainly humbled to have been honored in this manner, said Cornett. I am so appreciative to all those who played a part in honoring me on this memorable day.

Since 1977, Cornett has crafted over 1,000 of the stringed instruments mostly constructed in the hour glass or oval shape patterns and fashioned of wood native to the Central Appalachian Mountains. Cornetts dulcimers are highly sought by musicians and collectors alike throughout the country. As the head craftsman at Southeast Kentucky Community amp; Technical College, he has taught numerous dulcimer-making classes over the years, sharing his talents and knowledge in woodworking to inspire a new generation of craftsmen.

Mr. Cornett is a native son of Kentucky who was graduated from Kingdom Come High School in 1942. During World War II, he served his country as a member of the United States Army rising to the rank of sergeant. Assigned to the 303rd Signal Service Battalion unit, he was a key component of the famed Phantom Army, which was assembled to confuse the Nazis prior to the invasion of Europe in June 1944. His unit then pushed across the continent and was involved in several key battles that were crucial to the success of the Allied Forces, including the Battle of the Bulge.

Following the war, Cornett was employed by Chrysler and General Motors in Ohio and also attended classes at an industrial electrical school in Chicago. He eventually moved to Harlan County and operated Cornetts Home Supply Company and Als Radio and TV for many years.

He has been married 56 years to Geneva and they have a daughter Teresa Creech. He has been an active member of the Cumberland Missionary Baptist Church since 1959. He is also admired as a valuable member of the community of Cumberland, and throughout the years his work as a member of the Lions Club has seen him devote his talents and donate countless hours to the organizations many charitable projects.

What a fitting tribute for Al to have been honored by his state, said Bruce Ayers. He has certainly made an indelible mark as a craftsman and as a human being.