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Body of community leader recovered from river

By Leanne Fuller lfuller@paducahsun.com

Authorities recovered the body of Hal Fennell, 71, at 2:30 a.m. Monday after his truck went into Little River off Glenwood Mill Road in Trigg County on Saturday night. The cause of the wreck remained under investigation.

Fennell was the retired director of the Trigg County Heath Department and served more than two decades as chairman of the Trigg County Local Emergency Planning Committee.

"Hal was the kind of guy who never met a stranger and was a friend to everyone," Trigg County Judge-Executive Hollis L. Alexander said. "His death is a tragic loss to this community, to his loved ones, and he will be missed forever."

Fennell's truck ran off the road and into the river around 8 p.m. Saturday, and he called family members by cell phone to say he had run into the river and was floating. A family member called 911. Crews began the search for Fennell, and worked until 4 a.m. Sunday.

Later Sunday morning crews began an expanded search and discovered Fennell's truck before nightfall. Personnel worked into early Monday morning to recover the vehicle. Fennell's body was inside.

Trigg County Public Information Officer James Flood expressed admiration Monday that Fennell served as LEPC chairman - a volunteer position - for 23 years.

"He did a lot for the county, professionally and personally," Flood said.

Alexander said Fennell was dedicated to emergency planning and his role on the committee, as well as to Trigg County as a whole. Alexander also commended Fennell's work at the health department, where he estimated Fennell served for more than 30 years before retiring.

"I know that while he was there, he served the county and did an excellent job as the health department administrator," Alexander said. "He was a kind, Christian man... He was always the same guy on Monday morning as he was on Sunday morning. He did a lot of things to help a lot of people."

According to a news release from Flood, the Trigg County Rescue Squad was aided in the search by Marshall County Rescue; Stewart County, Tenn., Rescue; the Area 2 Dive Team; Bloodhound Search and Rescue of Clarksville, Tenn.; Fort Campbell Fire/Rescue; Kentucky Fish & Wildlife Resources; the Cadiz Police Department; the Trigg County Sheriff's Department; Kentucky State Police; the Montgomery Fire Department; Trigg County EMS; Trigg County Emergency Management; Kentucky Emergency Management Area I; Air E-Vac Life Team; Main Stream Dive Team and Seven Springs Farms.

Contact Leanne Fuller, a Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8653.

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