Our Opinion: Torch Relay showcased county assets, community involvement

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Wednesday brought an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to Greene County, and we could not be more proud to be a part of such an active and involved community.

Greene County was a part of the statewide celebration of Indiana’s 200th birthday. As part of that celebration, the Bicentennial Torch Relay made its way through the cities and towns of Greene County on Wednesday. Our staff was posted throughout the county, and we were all blown away by all the hard work that made the event a success.

The Greene ‘16 group worked hard to make sure the route touched on important landmarks in the county, such as the county’s hidden gem -- the Tulip Trestle.

While not all of the torchbearers were able to carry in their own towns, the group made sure they felt at home. For example, Halea Franklin, who worked closely on the project alongside Susie Schulte and many others, had some concerns about Tony Rash not being able to carry the torch in his hometown of Jasonville.

Rash started Greene County’s portion of the relay in Worthington, so Franklin found a way to bring a little bit of Jasonville to Rash instead. She reached out to the Jasonville Fire Department to see about getting a ladder truck put in place to hang a large flag at the beginning of the relay. The Jasonville and Bloomfield Fire Departments worked together with their ladder trucks to hang the flag in the background of Rash’s starting point.

Throughout the entire route, people were cheering on their torchbearer. Men, women and children lined the streets as each of the 20 torchbearers participated in the event. People were cheering, waving and chanting the name of their favorite torchbearer, and it was quite a sight to see.

Thanks to the Greene ‘16 committee, blue and yellow flowers lined the route -- which represent the state’s colors. The members of the group, along with the Volunteer Center of Greene County, spent a Sunday potting blue asters and yellow mums along the route. Businesses, subdivisions and homes throughout the county sported the flowers.

In addition to the work that went into preparing the actual route, community groups throughout the county worked together to draw out crowds. The Greene County Courthouse in Bloomfield was home to a large Indiana flag, as well as students and county leaders working together to plant trees on the courthouse’s lawn.

But, the best part was the reaction of each of the torchbearers as they walked, ran or rode their portion of the relay. The 20 Greene County representatives were nominated by their peers and were able to show off their hometowns to the entire state. Our reporter, Andrew Christman, was able to catch a photo of Yvette Rollins as she rode a horse with the torch to the Tulip Trestle. With a big smile on her face, she held the torch high above her head.

We were not the only ones to notice the hard work put into the local route. Franklin said state representatives also took note.

“They were blown away by how organized everything was, the number of people that came out to witness the Relay and they were very impressed,” Franklin said.

We would like to give a big ‘thank you” to everyone who dedicated time and effort to showcasing Greene County’s assets for the entire state to see.