When you navigate the backroads of southcentral Kentucky, past the old country store and new homes that have recently been erected amid the old farms and fields, you’ll drive down a windy road coming onto the 115-acre Bridge to Recovery property that leads to Phil Leedy Lane. It’s a nice drive these days – not so much like days past when it was narrow and gravel. That’s in part due to its namesake: Phil Leedy.

Truth be told, one driving through the area may not even notice Phil Leedy Lane. It’s marked by a green road sign, and at the corner sits a growing tree and a memorial bench. But those of us who’s lives were forever touched by Mr. Leedy, it is fitting that it sits in the heart of a placed he loved so dearly and that loved him back equally.

Phillip Michael Leedy was 42 years old when he passed away in August 2015. He was a devoted husband, father, son, brother, colleague, and loyal Bridge to Recovery employee. He was known by those around him as “Phil,” while his beautiful wife, Monica, still always called him “Phillip.” He adored his daughter, Maya, with all his being. She shares his intense blue eyes – a reminder of the sparkle he passed along to her.

Phil was a deeply avid lover of the outdoors and adventure. He and his father, Lonny, shared a bond over this and enjoyed special time together. Phil enjoyed hiking, fishing, hunting, and just simply being outside. He proudly hiked portions of the Appellation Trail solo.

I want to tell you how tragic his death was – and it truly was. But it also seems serendipitous that Phil left this world doing something he truly loved – canoeing the waters of a local river.

In a tragic accident, we lost Phil, and our hearts have forever been left with an unfillable hole.

In the days following Phil’s death, all of us at The Bridge to Recovery, where he was employed as the Director of Operations, heavily felt the impact of his loss. Our hearts ached for his family as we struggled to find our own footing without him. A friend to us all, but also the person who was the calming force for us all, was gone. We were devastated and lost. But, Phil was devoted to the work that we did at The Bridge to Recovery – he believed in it deeply, and even more so the longer he worked there. We dug into our work, for Phil.

In the years following Phil’s death, our lives have forever changed. Phil’s legacy is as alive today as it was at his death in 2015 and the years of life prior to that. His presence is so often felt – his love, compassion, sweetness, his deep voice but calm spirit, his smile, the sparkle in his eyes – it can still be felt in the halls of the lodge, or in the wind of the trees, or especially when you sit on the memorial bench at the intersection of Phil Leedy Lane.

A ceremony following his death saw the planting of the tree, the institution of the bench, and the naming of the road in his honor. It still doesn’t seem nearly enough for what he gave to all of us. But at the heart of The Bridge to Recovery, you’ll find Phil Leedy Lane, and in the hearts of all of us, you’ll find the spirit of Phil Leedy, alive and well.

Thank you, Phil, for your devotion to The Bridge to Recovery, your dedication to our clients and to our mission, and for your friendship. You are forever missed.

By: Neena Wilcox