Award finalist is making a difference

Opportunities exploding on the northern part of the county

By Dirk Webb

Photo courtesy of Dale Pickett


Kandie Courtney, Director

George Morisett Center

208 S Anderson St.

Elwood, IN 46036

(765) 552-5570

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The late Rev. George Morrisett saw a need in his community. Taking the words of the Bible to heart, “But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?” Rev. Morrisett began a work of goodwill that eventually became more than one person could do.

The Elwood Ministerial Association took over administration of the food pantry and utility assistance program that now bears the name of its founder. Along with the ministerial association the Elwood churches donate food and financial support to the center.

Kandie Courtney, Director, likes to point out that her hometown, Elwood, comes together to help those in need like very few places she has heard of. "This town is a very giving community to those in need whether it be to the center or individuals" says she. "The Elwood Post Office supplies large amounts of food in May. Red Gold has been instrumental in sponsoring the Run to Crush Hunger event in October. When we have a certain need all we do is send out the word to our churches and the community and our needs are met."

Through needs-based criteria, the Morrisett Center provides help with food, utilities and even rent on occasion for Elwood’s citizens. Each case is decided individually.

Would you consider Madison County to be in the midst of sunrise? What does the business sunrise across the horizon look like to you?

“Yes, we do in the northern part of the county. On a positive note businesses and industry seem to be moving to this direction. We know that in the town of Elwood that the new administration, positive attitudes and the will to bring our town to what it once was is nothing but a sunrise for us. We are optimistic that our day will come as we endeavor to plan and prepare. We feel that as a county when everyone works together, it can only become a sunrise as opposed to a sunset. Many things can be done in a county-wide endeavor to help Madison County become the booming county it once was and it starts with cooperation and working together.”

What does "A New Day" mean to you?

“A new day is an opportunity and one that we can do God’s will first and foremost. To serve the citizens we love and are called to serve. We get to smile and yes sometimes even frown. We get to help with a leg up and we get to fulfill our dream mission to help others not as fortunate as we have been. We also never know what the future brings and we could also become a client someday. A new day is living life to the fullest. A “New Day” also means that although the message does not change, the methods of presenting the message must change with communities and counties. We must look for new ways to present our Lord Jesus Christ to the world around us and new ways to present Madison County to future businesses and industry. “A New Day” is an opportunity to become a better me, a more mission minded me and with the will of God do both.”

How has your optimism helped you guide your company’s vision?

“As a member of the Optimist Club for over 30 years nothing can be done without hope and confidence. Each day as prayer is led asking God to give the people and the volunteers a sense of hope that is found in Jesus. As other food pantries in the area have closed or shortened their hours our community has supported us greatly because of the sense of hope we give those less fortunate than we are. Our vision has broadened and given us the ability to help more people. At the same time we have tried to tighten our belt and not let our organization become “used” by people who can also help themselves and choose not to. In that process, the town of Elwood even in the decline we have had has stepped up and helped us even more. This is the optimism and achievement needed to have the ability to help even more of those that need it.”

Is your optimism ever threatened?

“Yes, I feel that is human nature but, the true test is whether you allow that optimism to bring you down or whether you learn from it and you become a better person. Our faith never waivers in an Almighty God that has allowed us to meet the needs of our organization, the community and the county. We allow Him to lead and we take our hands off of the control and give Him the praise instead of thinking we have done something great. We also never allow that threat to interfere with the job or in our case the mission. It is OK to become down or discouraged as long as it is never with a client, it is used to help achieve even more or used to discover what one can really become.”

If Optimism leads to achievement, what is it you hope your company will achieve in 2016?

“With our company being a nonprofit and run on donations, our achievement is to be able to help more clients, to raise our donations and to spread optimism, hope and achievement. We hope to prove essential food and assistance to the needy. We hope to instill in them a sense of PRIDE and GRATITUDE when the world around them looks down on them and belittles them. We will do this to not only our clients, but to the town as well as that is what it will take to make Elwood become what we really want our town to be. It cannot just stay in house, but needs to be a team effort with everyone becoming a part of that team.”

If you were to have five minutes with someone who was considering relocating to Madison County what would you tell them?

“We are the future of Madison County and it is ready to explode with opportunities. The work ethic among those residing in our county is above normal as we work harder and are working smarter. We work together and will achieve more because of our work ethic, optimism and drive to achieve. You will have the opportunity to be a part of growth, good will and achievement. If you are looking for good schools, good communities and dedicated leaders you won’t go wrong in relocating. You will be a part of making a difference!”

The George Morrisett Center is one of three finalists being considered for the 2015 Non Profit of the Year award. Thanks in part to St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital, the winner will be announced on February 25 at the 2016 Annual Awards Gala.

To view past award winners, or to read more about the awards, visit MCC's Wall of Fame.



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