Ms. Millersburg
By Preston Jenkins

Lorrain Smoot talks on the phone with Robert Barker, a candidate running for a seat on the Millersburg city council. Robert called to ask why she had a sign put up for him, but also for his opponent. She told him that no matter who you support, it’s just good that people are participating.

In the heart of Kentucky sits Millersburg, population 744, including Lorrain Smoot.
Lorrain, 73, has called Millersburg home for 53 years and is deeply involved in the town. "Everybody knows Lorrain,” says Terry Smith, director and founder of Bourbon Christian Academy. "She's one of those types of people when the first time you meet her you feel like you've known her all your life."

Lorrain is always on the go, upbeat and positive; her energy is contagious. She loves history and collecting books about Millersburg. She wants to keep Millersburg’s history and way of life alive. "Gotta keep these small towns going,” Lorrain says.

She used to be a teller at the local bank, Farmer’s Exchange Bank, until it got bought by Fifth Third and moved to Paris. She would love to see the bank come back, or a restaurant in town – just a place to get a sandwich. “Give us another five years, I think we're gonna change," she says, "and that sounds like a long time but it’s not that long of time. It takes a while to get people motivated, I guess.”

Lorrain is motivated. She keeps a busy schedule: meeting with Community Ventures, a neighborhood revitalization nonprofit; meeting with her book club (they recently finished “Liar’s Bench” by Kim Michele Richardson) and volunteering at Bourbon Christian Academy.

She retired from city council after serving for six years. But she finds time to work one day a week doing payroll at the Central Kentucky Veterinary Services. And ever since her daughter Anna Insko's husband passed away in 2020, Lorrain has spent a lot of time helping out with her grandkids: Emma, 13, and Nic, 10. On Sundays, they all go to Nic’s soccer games and during the week Lorrain takes him to practice. She also shares her love of history with Nic.

When she walks outside, her neighbors come up to chat and gossip. There’s the small-town drama. But they also bring up bigger problems to be addressed, such as getting their temporary post office from a trailer back into a building. Even at soccer practice, the cars going by stop and people roll down their windows to talk to Lorrain. “She is Ms. Millersburg,” Terry says.

Lorrain is friendly and caring. When she meets new people, she invites them to join her in the community, or even at her house to chat about anything. If you speak to anyone in Bourbon County, there’s a good chance they know Lorrain.

She is hopeful for the future of her beloved community and is passionate about making Millersburg a better place for everyone.

Lorrain walks with her grandson Nic Insko across an old railroad bridge in Millersburg.

Lorrain Smoot visits Mary Lou Rankin of Millersburg on her 94th birthday. Lorrain bought her a cake and a card to celebrate the special occasion.

Lorrain Smoot in the recently renovated Mustard Seed Hill Allen House building in Millersburg. In 1920 the citizens of Millersburg purchased this building and turned it into the Millersburg military academy. In 2016, once the military academy closed, the building was renovated by Community Ventures and tuned into what it is now, an event venue.

Nic has pizza with his grandmother Lorrain after school and before soccer practice. "That’s why you hang out with my grandmother," Nic says.

Lorrain sits with Nic during his soccer practice. He had some trouble breathing after practicing some drills.

Lorrain takes a phone call outside Bourbon Christian Academy in Millersburg.

Sharon Rankin (left) with Lorrain inside Bourbon Christian Academy. Lorrain volunteers her time at the school when she is needed.

Nic gives his grandmother a look after Lorrain tells him that it is probably not the best idea to cross Hinkston Creek using the few rocks sticking out of the water.

(Left to right) Anna Insko, John Smoot, Nic and Lorrain gather together in Lorrain’s kitchen after a long day.