FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin spent his last day at the Capitol in a flurry of activity.

Much of that activity on Monday involved honoring the U.S. military. But the morning began with a surprise.

When Bevin arrived, he saw his staffers lining the hall to his office. They greeted him with applause and shook his hand, honoring their boss for one last time.

Bevin then thanked them for their service.

"God bless you all," he said. "Thank you very much. I appreciate it."

Bevin later emphasized the positive aspects of his administration as he wound  down an often combative and controversial term that ended in a loss to Democratic rival Andy Beshear.

"I'm grateful to have been a part of something as extraordinary as the last four years have been," Bevin said. "Never in the history of Kentucky have we seen such economic success, such forward progress at every turn."

Bevin is a military veteran. So among his last official public acts, he broke ground at the Capitol on a memorial to Gold Star families, which have lost loved ones in combat.

"For him to take time out of his day to spend time with us, our families, that's what it's about," said Cathy Mullins, a Gold Star family member. "That's how he even got elected. There's countries around this world that don't have these freedoms. It's the perfect thing for him to do today."

Bevin rounded out his public schedule by unveiling a memorial to prisoners of war and service members who are missing in action.

And as the Capitol gets dressed up to welcome a new governor, Bevin has a final message for Kentucky and for his successor.

"Keep moving forward," he said. "Kentucky is a special place. We're a crown jewel in America, we just need to keep the crown jewel dusted off and sparkling. Bright days are ahead."

Bevin's term ends at midnight, when Andy Beshear takes the oath in a private ceremony at the governor's mansion. 

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