My childhood dream was to run my family business and build a career in banking, but when the opportunity came in the early 1990s to sell the company, that was our reality. We moved soon after and relocated to an urban area. I became one of the statistics of youth that left their hometown. A town in which four generations before me had put down roots, raised families, and contributed. This change shifted my course of direction for a bit. When I left in 1990, I didn’t have a set path to get back home to Newton County and never dreamed it possible. God works in wonderful ways.
Community involvement and philanthropy have been something instilled in me since childhood from both sides of my family. I grew up in Goodland, Indiana. My family settled in Newton County over 100 years ago, and my great grandparents operated a General Store in Wadena, IN. I recall country drives with my grandfather and his stories of this once bustling little town. When I see how Wadena has changed over the course of my lifetime, I am determined to do something to not let our small rural towns fade into history.
As a fifth-generation entrepreneur in Newton County, I am proud to say this is where my family has put down roots for over a century. Growing up in Goodland, my family instilled in me the importance of community and displaying pride in our hometown.
The town of Kentland itself is woven into some of my earliest memories as a child. From attending preschool, making lifelong friends at South Newton, logging thousands of flight miles at the Kentland airport with my dad, learning the fine art of shopping with my grandmother at Sharpe’s, and the anticipation of spring arriving with the opening of Don’s Drive-In each year, the experiences are treasured.
I have watched Kentland change over the past four decades, and the one constant that has stood the test of time has been the spirit of the community, which sets this town apart. Committed leaders who are willing to put in the time to make good things happen are the key to keeping Kentland thriving.
My husband and I have lived and worked in both rural and urban areas over the past two decades, and when the opportunity presented itself to come back home to Indiana, we knew there was no other place we wanted to invest our time and talents. The energy and dedication of the town officials, community volunteers, and citizens are inspiring.
I have spent over two decades as a nonprofit executive working with organizations ranging from healthcare, arts, and public policy in the area of fundraising and talent development. During my career, I have studied with philanthropic scholars at the Lilly School of Philanthropy and have had the unique opportunity to travel across the country working with community leaders and volunteers who are passionate about change. When I visited with Mike Davis and learned of the work the Town of Kentland was doing to bring new business, improve park systems, and provide additional healthcare access to our area, I was inspired to help and lend my expertise. The energy of the Task Force volunteers and engaged residents is a testament to the love for this town. I have worked with several leaders across the U.S. in strategic planning work and the plan which was outlined by the Task Force is impressive in both its vision and execution.
Five years ago, my husband, Jason was completing his oral medicine residency at a large hospital in Charlotte, NC. Jason and I were determining the place to build his dental practice and where to land next. The goal was always a rural area – but we never dreamed that the road would lead us home! We had spent 17 years in North Carolina, and while we loved the south, we knew that for the next chapter of our lives we wanted to be closer to our families. The stars all seemed to align in 2017 when we learned that there was an opportunity here to join the local dental practices in Remington and Kentland. With the help of family and friends we made the move and haven’t looked back! We are so blessed to be a part of this community again.
The sense of community and commitment to growth and serving our neighbors is what makes Kentland special. The passion and commitment of the residents and neighbors to support local businesses and community efforts are inspiring. Watching the business growth over the last few years has been really exciting. To see local entrepreneurs being able to not only dream but implement their ideas is key to growing the entrepreneurial spirit that is rooted deeply in our small-town citizens. My hope is that in twenty years, Kentland is a thriving example of the commitment and energy of the current and future generations in continuing to make it a place in which we all love to call home. We can only do that if we step up now and see how each one of us can improve our little corner of Newton County. I can think of no better way to honor the generations that have come before me than to continue to build upon their hard work and love for this community as we “Boldly Move Forward”.