Ambassador of Goodwill Scottie Saltsman passes away

Kentucky Equality Federation acts as a public advocate for victims of school bullying, hate crimes, and discrimination. Kentucky Equality Federation is the Commonwealth’s largest equality organization with member organizations that include Marriage Equality Kentucky, the Kentucky HIV/AIDS Advocacy Campaign, and Kentucky Equality Ballot Access.

Kentucky Equality Federation has bestowed a rare award on Richmond gay activist Scottie Saltsman.  Saltsman is also a former police officer and a supervisor at the Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training.

The distinction of Ambassador of Goodwill is the highest honor given by Kentucky Equality Federation. A Kentucky Equality Federation Ambassador of Goodwill embodies the foundation of our Commonwealth: diversity, tolerance, liberty, justice, and equality for all.

The distinction of Ambassador of Goodwill was so rare that only 14 people have made it through the approval process,” stated Legal Assistant Lara Clay Drake with Kentucky Equality Federation’s Legal Department. “This is not an honor that is given to different people year after year, nor an annual award given to someone. The candidate must truly be remarkable and have shaped Kentucky culture in a positive manner.”

The Honorable Scottie Saltsman was a Section Supervisor with the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet’s Department of Criminal Justice Training. Saltsman was also involved in Native American issues and one of the primary activists that pushed for the creation of the Richmond Human Rights Commission for which he served as Secretary, a post he held until he resigned on April 12, 2012 because the Commission refused to add sexual orientation and gender identity to their definition of protected classes of people or communities in their local equality/fairness ordinance.

Upon receiving news of his distinction as Ambassador of Goodwill on June 03, 2013, Scottie Saltsman stated: “I feel special; it is an honor to be recognized by an organization that fights for people and touches people across the state with their work.”

Scottie Saltsman was alive to receive the distinction; the plaque, however, will be presented to Saltsman’s Mother at his request. Ambassador of Goodwill Saltsman succumbed to the cancer he had been battling on June 09, 2013.

Ambassador Saltsman joins former Kentucky Treasurer Jonathan Miller, blogger Jim Pence, senior Representative Tom Burch, senior Kentucky Representative Ruth Ann Palumbo, Author and Dr. Bernadette Barton, International Activist and Attorney Melanie Nathan, Minister Edith Baker, Ph.D., and others including FDA officials, Kentucky authors, musicians, religious leaders, elected officials and activists.

Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer stated: “We thank you and love you for all the incredible work you have done to advance equality across the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Your selfless accomplishments will never be forgotten and will indeed live forever. I thank you for your counsel and incredible friendship through the years. Knowing you and Matthew Vanderpool have been enormous highlights in my life. Ambassador of Goodwill Saltsman was a man of dignity and character who fought for the things he believed in. Though we continued to pray for a miracle, a greater power had different plans for you, but part of you will always be with us.”

View Ambassador of Goodwill Scottie Saltsman’s profile on Lexington Clinic: “In early 2012, Scottie began treatment for what he and his physician initially thought were internal hemorrhoids. When his symptoms did not improve, he underwent a new battery of tests and was told a biopsy would be needed. “My testing was done on March 21, 2012. On March 22, Dr. William Walton called to inform me it was cancer, and to tell me that he felt we needed to expedite our next steps,” said Scottie. His diagnosis was Stage III b anal cancer, a rare form of cancer that predominantly affects men, but also strikes women. “The biggest challenge for me after learning I had cancer was just to work through the mental process that accompanies that diagnosis,” said Scottie. “It is so important to stay positive and to try not to worry about what could be, or to think ‘why me’, because the moment you mentally give up, it’s over.”


About Kentucky Equality Federation’s Ambassadors of Goodwill:  An Ambassador of Goodwill is appointed by the Chairman of the Board of Directors on the advice of the President (an existing Ambassador of Goodwill may also nominate someone to the President for the distinction). An Ambassador of Goodwill ceremony is scheduled for August in Lexington. Due to the illness of Ambassador Saltsman, his award was expedited at the request of President Jordan Palmer and approved by Board Chairman Brandon Combs.