There's no better organization that tries to bring Greene County together than the Greene County Foundation.
Whenever you attend one of its meetings or events, it oozes with togetherness, cooperation, and a sense of pride for all 32,000 residents of this large and diverse county.
Such was the case Thursday night at the Linton Elks Lodge, as the GCF hosted its annual celebration dinner.
It's always a fun evening to watch Greene Countians get together and chat and support each other. From Brad Crites of Hendricksville, to Jasonville mayor-elect Roy Terrell, to Linton resident and overall good person Polly Miller, to community leader Ed Cullison of Solsberry.
The entire county was represented at this celebration. And that's not easy.
As GCF Executive Director Kerry Conway told the audience, she can get to downtown Indianapolis from her northeast Greene County home near Hendricksville quicker than she can get to downtown Linton. It's longer mileage wise to Indy, but she noted that the roads are much better to Indy (That's not a putdown to the Greene County Highway Department; there's just no easy way to get from Point A to Point B in Greene County).
That accurately describes how big this county truly is.
And the GCF sums up what is good about the county.
The Foundation will celebrate its 10th anniversary next year, and it has offered money to numerous organizations and groups over the years. And there's money in accounts that will allow the Foundation to give to Greene Countians for years to come.
Conway made a great analogy Thursday when it was announced that one of the many organizations to receive a donation/grant was the Greene County United Way. Some may consider the United Way and the Foundation to be in competition with each other, but that's simply not true.
The United Way, Conway pointed out, is like the county's checking account. The Foundation is the county's savings account.
Both are vital parts of our county family, but serve different functions.
The keynote speaker Thursday night was David Terrell, executive director of the Office of Community and Rural Affairs.
He spoke about rural counties and how important they are to the economic health of the state. He also patted many Greene Countians on the back when he mentioned time and again how many from our area show up at state meetings to learn more about how to make our area a better place to live.
Terrell shared a story about one conference when the organizers were forced to ask Greene County to cut back on the number of people who planned to attend. There wasn't enough room for others around the state.
He said that shows just how much Greene Countians care about the future.
Terrell pointed out that "Champions" are the people who will lead Greene County into a prosperous future. He added that it's important for county residents to allow the "Champions" to be "Champions" and not try to knock them down as they lead the way.
"Champions" are not afraid to think outside the box, and bring many different ideas to the table. It's those types of people who will be responsible for strengthening our economy and county as a whole.
Need an example?
Dale and Tillie Jessup of rural Lyons donated 100 acres of farmland in Fairplay Township to the Greene County Foundation last December. The land is valued at $330,000.
The land will continue to be farmed each year, and any profits made from the crop -- estimated between $10,000 and $15,000 every harvest -- will be used to set up a continuing scholarship fund for Greene County high school students who want to pursue a career in agriculture.
If that doesn't scream "Champion," I don't know what does.
If you would like more information about how you can help strengthen Greene County's future by being a part of the Foundation, call Conway at 659-3142.