Jeff McFarland celebrates his grandson Owen after his team wins their academic bowl. Owen represents the North Middletown Elementary team; the school is the last rural elementary school in Bourbon County outside of Paris.
While getting ready to restock a camper before a rental camper delivery, Jeff warns Fritz not to run out the door behind him. Jeff says that after he retired from the Paris fire department, he started the family camper rental business with the one camper they already owned; they now have seven.
Jeff meets with site superintendent David Parker (left) on the Community Storm Shelter construction project. Jeff has been working on the project since 2015. The city clerk and treasurer of North Middletown Lee Ginter says, “People do not know what he has gone through to get this to happen … I think that should be his legacy.”
Jeff works on getting property taxes mailed out from the mayor’s office. “I’ve been to a lot of places and traveled quite a bit,” Jeff says. “But you know, there’s no place that really caught my eye that I would want to leave North Middletown for.”
Jeff checks on the construction progress of the Community Storm Shelter; he is acting as the on-site observer to save the city costs. The storm shelter, when not in use, will be a community center and have an extension that includes the fire station. “I really think that this community center is going to be kind of a spotlight for North Middletown,” Jeff said. “People are excited about having a new place to call our own.”
(From left) Sarah, Owen, Weston, and Jeff eat dinner at Jerry’s Restaurant. “I tell everybody that if I had known they were as much fun as they are, I would have had them instead of my son," Jeff says about his grandsons.
Jeff helps tie his grandson Owen’s cleats before practice when Owen giggles and Jeff gives him a stern look. "I farted," Owen says.
Jeff and his wife Sarah wait with their English bulldog Fritz and their dachshund Ellie Mae for Owen to get off the school bus. “If I put the leg up on my recliner, he’s in my lap,” Jeff said of Fritz. “I can have the worst day in the world and come home and he doesn’t care … the unconditional love and mutual respect that we have is pretty cool.”
Jeff and his son Wesley have matching tattoos of the fire department emblem, the Maltese cross, with the words “Family Tradition” inside. “I’m 61 years old and I’ve got one tattoo,” Jeff says. “And that’s all I’ll ever have, and we both got them at the same time. And I thought that’s pretty special to me that he wanted to do that.”