DOING WHAT I DO BEST
Colonel L. A. Thayer
Newly appointed Kentucky Colonel, Colonel L.A. Thayer, is a self-proclaimed Colonel Sanders “look alike.”
Self-proclaimed Col. Sanders “look-alike,” Col. L.A. Thayer, has been appointed the highest title of honor bestowed by the governor of Kentucky. Thayer has been named a Kentucky Colonel.
The Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels is a voluntary, philanthropic organization that recognizes an “individual’s noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service.” It is a lifetime distinction. Members reach out to the needy, with the intent of also preserving Kentucky’s “rich heritage.”
Thayer was nominated by the Sanders family after they became of aware his work to “keep Harland's name alive.” “To be nominated, you do have to have good works in your life,” said Thayer.
In fact, Thayer, who works with disabled children and adults for a living believes this, as well as the Sanders family’s gratitude for his work in keeping Col. Sanders’ name and image alive, is what brought forth his nomination. One must be nominated by another Colonel to be considered. Thayer says he is extremely “humbled and overwhelmed” that not only the Sanders family found him worthy, but also Kentucky’s governor “looked at my information and said, ‘yes, I will commission him.’”
Although colonels originally served in a military capacity, gaining the name during the War of 1812, it was not until the early 1900s, when a group of colonels decided to form a “society,” that the title took on the meaning recognized today. From then on, colonels evolved to become primarily focused on charitable programs, with social events, such as the Kentucky Derby, holding an important role, as well.
Thayer says now that he is a commissioned colonel, he is officially a member of the Kentucky governor’s staff, and that he can now play a part in the Kentucky Derby, if he would like to do so. After a bit of research, Thayer said he believes he is first Kentucky Colonel in his home town, and expressed excitement remaining connected to the state (Kentucky) he lived through “the most important four years of his life,” during which he grew up admiring Colonel Sanders’ life and legacy.
“The man was a legend. As a young man, I thought, ‘Wow! If I could live half the life he did, I would be proud,” said Thayer of partly why he chose to impersonate Col. Sanders.
The idea originally came to Thayer one afternoon in 1994 when he took his father and his dad’s Korean War buddy out to lunch at KFC. His father was coincidentally wearing a cream colored suit, and when they walked in, people just stopped and did a double-take, thinking he was the real Colonel Sanders. Since Thayer and his father looked so much alike, a seed was planted for action years later.
It was one year ago when Thayer finally acted on his “dream” of doing Col. Sanders impersonations. He visits various KFC restaurants within a 250-mile radius on most Sunday afternoons, when church would typically let out. Thayer said during his impersonation, he shows up at a KFC and goes to the counter to order his food. People are taken aback and surprised by his appearance. They begin waving and often approaching him right then asking for pictures.
Thayer said he carries marbles with him embedded with Col. Sanders’ picture, and gives them to kids. He said he is gracious and kind, even delivering food to a couple of elderly ladies in the past, who had ask if the colonel would be willing to do so.
“I do not work for KFC, but the Sanders family said I looked more like Harland than they have seen in a long time. They said, ‘hey, we really like what you are doing".
Thayer said he has several upcoming requested visits in the near future from KFCs to the Veteran’s Association in Houston, Texas, already planned. However, he welcomes any new appearance opportunities that may come his way, including, hopefully, a shot at being a KFC ambassador.
For more information on Kentucky Colonels’ history and philanthropy work, visit their website, www.kycolonels.org. Or, to contact Col. L.A. Thayer’s about his availability, visit his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/colonelusa, or click on the contact tab above.