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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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A New Day means that change never stops

Non profit finalist sees 2016 as promising

By Dirk Webb

Photo courtesy of Dale Pickett

 

Tim Kean, Director of Food Resources

Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana

6621 N. Old SR 3

Muncie, IN 47303

(765) 287-8698 X 107

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As we gather around the tables at the 2016 Madison County Chamber Gala, like most awards programs, we’ll enjoy some of the best food possible, an eager wait staff will fill our glasses whenever there is the slightest space in it, and then we’ll relish a tasty dessert at the end of the meal. Many of us will leave a portion of our dinner untouched with our plates removed from our tables as quickly as possible.

At the same time we have with us representatives of the Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana. This sobering contrast would be lost on anyone else in the room but these dedicated servants who each day see just the opposite: children who may go to bed hungry tonight and the parents that have to endure that frustration.

The acute irony of the evening is not lost on Tim Kean, President & CEO, yet optimism reigns supreme at the organization that for over 30 years has battled the most basic of human needs, hunger. With over 70 partners to help distribute food donations, Kean is quick to point out, “for every dollar donated, we can supply four meals.”

Serving an eight county area in East Central Indiana with a population of over 460,000, Kean, his staff and a vital cadre of volunteers are faced with nearly 75,000 people living in poverty, an astounding 15.3%. Chances are someone we know may be quietly suffering some level of food insecurity.

The Madison County Chamber of Commerce invites you to visit www.curehunger.org or see Tim Kean to find out how you can help fight want in our community.

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

“I have a lot of optimism with the recent announcements of new businesses locating in Madison County. Each new or expanded entity has its own legacy that it will start to build and help shape this county for the future. We have seen several of the longer term businesses announce expansion plans with new growth opportunities. These all add up to opportunities for second and third level suppliers who are here now or may be attracted to re-locate here. This is what a new sunrise looks like to me in the business sense.”

What does "A New Day" mean to you?

“A New Day to me means that change never stops and to reap the biggest rewards the New Day brings we have to continue to re-tool our products, services, facilities and people.”

Helen Keller said, “optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” How has your optimism helped you guide your company’s vision?

“By helping people see that change is not an enemy. It is the vehicle that takes us to places we have not yet been. Optimism with change will enable us to get through the bumps and the curves we didn’t see coming”

Is your optimism ever threatened?

“Yes, every day, but we still need to face it down or face never leaving the house.”

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

“I am optimistic that we have partnered with the right organizations. In 2016, we will open a new composting operation that will produce a high nutrient quality product and become a new source of revenue. We will use the material we have to contribute and be able to use additional material to divert it from the landfill.”

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

“Madison County has a low cost of living, has a business friendly environment and a high interest in improving the quality of life for its residents.”

 

Second Harvest 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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Hey Madison County Culligan Man!

Conditioning water for 75 years

By Dirk Webb

Photo courtesy of Dale Pickett

 

Mike Barry, General Manager

Culligan Water Conditioning Company

PO Box 2517

Anderson, IN 46018

(765) 649-3391

 

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Most of us grew up with iconic advertisement of the desperate housewife yelling for her local Culligan Man. The Culligan Company was established in 1936 in Rosemont, Illinois and still is a business deeply committed to its roots. Culligan of Anderson opened its doors in 1940 as one of the first Culligan franchises and now, one of seven owned by the Miller family.

Located on historical Eighth Street and Madison Avenue at the site of the old Cooks Grocery store in Anderson, Culligan is led by Anderson newcomer, Mike Barry. Freshly transplanted from California by way of Michigan, Barry says, “I wanted to live in the community I work in, plus my wife is originally from here in Indiana.”

According to Merriam-Webster the word optimism is defined as a feeling or belief that good things will happen.

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

“I would call it early sunrise. One of the reasons I came here was the potential that I saw. I believe we’re on the upswing but for a community this size it won’t happen overnight. Everyone has their theories on how to speed the process but from where I sit home values are going up, enrollment in the schools are up so the signs are there.”

What does "A New Day" mean to you?

“A new opportunity for a new outlook. A chance for optimism, enthusiasm, excitement and potential. You wake up every day and it’s a clean slate. Yesterday may have been the most terrible day ever but today could be one of the greatest ever.”

Helen Keller said, “optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” How has your optimism helped you guide your company’s vision?

“Our company has gone through some tough times. Our customer base has gotten smaller over the years and of course we face competition but I believe the values of our ownership and the resources they give us will continue to make us stronger.”

Is your optimism ever threatened?

“It’s always threatened and there are opportunities to be negative…we may experience setbacks but tomorrow is a new day with another chance to succeed.”

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

“Further stability. As our customer base grows it means more stability for everybody here and our company as a whole. All ten of our employees live in Madison County. We all shop locally and as we do our little bit means we have ten more residents telling the story, helping create more jobs. Two or three more jobs here at Culligan can have a significant impact at the local restaurant down the street, the gas station at the corner, doctor’s offices, and beyond.”

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

“This is a terrific place and a good time to move here. We’re only 25 miles from Indianapolis. Any place else that close is very built up and much more expensive. Being from California the cost of living here is unbelievable. We have a great University, a nice downtown, and good restaurants that would lure a young family here.”

Thanks in part to St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital and Howard Webb Agency, Culligan  will be honored for 75 years in business 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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Watch it happen or Make it happen!

East Side Dolphin Club celebrates 50 years

By Dirk Webb

Photo courtesy of Dale Pickett

 

Donald J. Volk, Board Member

East Side Dolphin Club, Inc.

3508 E. 8th Street

Anderson, IN 46012

(765) 621-1618

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In 1966, Anderson High School Teacher and Swim Coach, Bob Freeman, along with L.T. Withers, Marion Withers, and Dan Ferree decided that Anderson needed a competitive swimming facility that would also serve as a meeting place for local families. Originally intended for the 1500 block of 10th street in downtown Anderson, Faree completed a transaction for the 34 acres on Lindbergh Road where the club has resided since.

Nine lanes wide and 50 meters long, the main pool at the Dolphin Club was the first competitive facility in Central Indiana. Having a 12 foot diving well, the Dolphin Club also produced some of Indiana’s best divers including , Jim Alexander, former AHS State Champion swim coach.

Board member, Don Volk recalls, “Country club pools were small and not built for competition. 50 meter pools made competitors eligible for state cuts qualifying our local swimmers for advancement to further competition both for state and nationals.”

Freeman, however, wanted more than just a swimming pool and offered a local vacation style entertainment family center that, at its peak, built up to 500 families. For many years the club had an average of 40 families on the membership waiting list.

Ever a visionary, Freeman carried on the day-to-day operations using the “management by walking around method.” Said Volk, “Bob was a very kind man; easy to talk to.” With the 2002 passing of Freeman leadership passed to wife Marti (now Euneman) who managed the club for 10 years. Today, the Eastside Dolphin Club consists of 375 member families and is managed by Jay Ettle, a former diver who previously coached at Yorktown and Delta.

One of the common links at the Dolphin Club throughout its existence is Don and his wife, Sandy Volk. For most members, a quick glance to the east side of the pool will almost always reassure them that the Volks are in their poolside chairs unofficially welcoming one and all to enjoy the sun and fun.

Don Volk, a native of Utica, IL (population 1,000) is a product of LaSalle-Peru HS. Riding a bus to interview for a job at Guide Lamp in 1961, Don has served on the Dolphin Club board for 20 years with Sandy serving for 12 years before that. Says Volk, “I love the Dolphin Club. I go there every day to play tennis and enjoy the pool. We have noticed the recent change in school calendars has cut a month off the summer program. Weather in the past two years has been rough and caused folks to procrastinate regarding membership decisions but overall we still consider the Dolphin Club to be a wonderful jewel here in Anderson and Madison County.”

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

“Absolutely. Anderson is finally sprouting its wings since 2006. Since the housing recession and loss of GM, I see a bright future. The Dolphin Club is a strong quality of life attribute to our community and we need to promote it as so.”

What does "A New Day" mean to you?

”A turnaround. A rebirth of community awareness and all we have to offer. We’re turning this around and I love those kind of challenges. My goal was never to be in the same job for more than two years. I like to be a change agent and we continue to need change here. The Dolphin Club can and does play a vital role along with the arts, entertainment, healthy living, and quality of life that are so important to Madison County. We want to be a part of what Anderson has to offer.”

Helen Keller said, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” How has your optimism helped you guide your company’s vision?

“Optimism is the positive leadership that is at the core of our community. Our community leadership has to have that. Economic Development is part of that core as well. When I took over at the Paramount, I was referred to as ‘The Paramount’s Full-time Cheerleader for Downtown Anderson.’ I’m a very positive person and I want to help reinfuse enthusiasm and excitement here in the community for every event kind of like Kyle Morey at the Chamber.”

Is your optimism ever threatened?

“I think for some people change is very difficult. I noticed it especially when we started cutting hours at the Club last summer. If we don’t like the change, we need to ask ourselves what can be done about it. I love to bring the critics to the table and ask them to help. I didn’t let the negative attitudes outweigh the positives. I make sure I stay positive.”

If optimism leads to achievement, what is it you hope the Dolphin Club will achieve in 2016?

”2016 is our chance to overcome negativity in the community and win back our former membership. Our enthusiasm has to be contagious. We have people who drive by us every day and still don’t realize we’re there, even after 50 years. Our goal is a 20% membership increase. We have to have a ‘can do’ attitude by pulling together with our members rather than letting the club gently dwindle down. This is a critical year for us to shine. We’d love to have corporate sponsorships that can help pay for individual family memberships. We’d like for our members to do more than just swim or sun bathe, we want our members to be our advocates and help us be there for another 50 years.”

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

“This is an easy one. Anderson and Madison County is the best bang for your buck. We have the best value in housing and entertainment. We have Hoosier Park, The Paramount, and The Anderson Center for the Arts. We have the Mainstage Theater too. Sandy and I have had a membership for over 50 years. That’s a lot of plays and concerts. We have Anderson University, Purdue Polytechnic and IVY Tech; such vibrant educational institutions. We have wonderful hiking trails and parks. If we do get the lake, the Dolphin Club would be right there at the edge of that. We have so much to offer for our people to do. We also have open hearted people willing to help others in need. Alternatives and the United Way immediately come to mind. You can watch things happen or make things happen. I prefer the latter.”

East Side Dolphin Club will celebrate their 50th anniversary at the 2016 Annual Awards Gala on February 25, 2016, sponsored in part by St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital. To view past award winners or to read more about the awards, visit MCC's Wall of Fame.

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A New Day Means Night is Over

Award finalist sees Anderson in midst of sunrise

By Dirk Webb

Photo courtesy of Dale Pickett

 

Ben Orcutt, Owner

Buckskin Bikes

517 W. 11th St.

Anderson , IN 46016

(765) 393-1409 (work)

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Buckskin Bikes started as a non-profit, with owner Ben Orcutt, working for education, advocacy and a bicycle friendly atmosphere here in Anderson. He spent hours repairing bicycles, striking up conversations, teaching riders how to repair their own bikes and simply providing a gathering place for west siders. In June 2012, Buckskin moved into the for-profit sector and added Jackrabbit Coffee to the shop in the spring of 2015. “Because bike traffic is slow in the winter, coffee creates conversation and conversation creates interaction that helps create social change.”

Orcutt serves as a member of the Anderson Redevelopment Commission and joined the Madison County Chamber Board in January of 2016.

According to Merriam-Webster the word, optimism, is defined as a feeling or belief that good things will happen.

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

“I definitely do. As a small business owner and member of ARC I see business at both a macro and micro level so it’s very interesting to be part of both worlds. On the big scale, we are bringing in new industry and new jobs. I’ve been here ten years but only for the past few have I seen the positive growth. For small business, the micro level, I just heard from a web developer who was getting “beat up” with the expenses. He has now set up shop here in Anderson. A lot is happening under the radar that people don’t see. I’m also involved in AU’s IdeAU program to encourage entrepreneurship and is targeted at ‘brain drain.’ I’m very excited to be a part and encourage more people to take the leap into business ownership. It can be scary but the upsides economically and culturally are significant. I love being a resource for others considering their own dream.”

What does "A New Day" mean to you?

“By definition a new day comes after a night. Some are bogged down by the past and A New Day also presupposes that what happened before wasn’t ideal. It means we choose to start fresh.”

Helen Keller said, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” How has your optimism helped you guide your company’s vision?

“I don’t think about being optimistic at all. However, I have a pretty clear vision of the world in which I want to live. Therefore, making steps toward that are pretty simple in my mind. I understand I want a good cup of coffee in the morning so I’ve made that possible for myself. I have a desire to see the world better than it currently is. I believe that is possible and have chosen to work toward that end. While I want my business to grow financially to provide more jobs what really drives me is the vision for the community that I want to live in.”

Is your optimism ever threatened?

“Certainly. The winter is a dark time in the bicycle industry. Every February is a rough time financially. I also know there are still businesses closing in Anderson or not excelling and it can be very disheartening to see that.”

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

“Simply do what we do, only better. I’m not looking to expand and open 100 stores, I just want to continue to offer quality service and products and engage with my customers. I want to help someone else start a business. Obviously I want sales to increase but this year I’m focusing on digging deeper roots.”

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

“They should do it, right now. The cost of living and cost of running a business are low. Madison County is growing so you’re getting in on the upswing. I have felt very supported by the city and by the chamber and I can imagine that would be extended to any newcomer. You may not experience that elsewhere. I understand the value of density. If someone opens a business next door to me, it helps me. We have space, opportunity and a great chance for someone to come in and fill a need with their business.”

Buckskin Bikes is one of three finalists being considered for the 2015 Emerging Business 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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