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Judy’s challenge

Randy West, Editor

Judy O’Bannon is at it again.
Few people can motivate people like Judy O’Bannon, the First Lady of Indiana. She has been blessed with a unique gift to encourage people to do things they never ever thought about or never thought possible — whether it’s encouraging inner city kids in Indianapolis to try their hand at gardening or leading a delegation of Hoosiers to Russia or South Africa for lessons on community building.
Judy was the primary driving force behind the Hoosier Millennium Task Force which encouraged communities all over the state to do something permanent to honor their past, create opportunities for people to get involved in their community, and make plans for a solid, beneficial future or the next generations.
Locally, the Corydon Millennium Committee was formed, and together this small but powerful group came up with the idea for Larry Beisler’s limestone sculpture piece that honors Harrison County history. The committee also produced a fine photo book called “A Place To Belong,” an official Millennium glass paperweight, and a new Corydon flag.
Judy came home to Corydon Saturday, July 14, to unveil Beisler’s work that now stands at the Blaine H. Wiseman Visitor Center in Corydon. It honors the pioneers who founded this community, the state constitution and the First State Capitol here. This limestone sculpture will last for many years.
Elsewhere in Indiana, the community Millennium projects included just about everything you could think of, from countywide bike paths to sewage treatment project.
And now Judy wants us to start thinking about Indiana’s Bicentennial, our 200th birthday in the year 2016. Judy is one of the few people we know who are even thinking beyond next week, let alone 2016, but we ought to accept her challenge and start thinking now about what kind of celebration we want to have. It shouldn’t be something ephemeral, like fireworks and pageants. It ought to be something that celebrates our uniqueness and reflects our values. It should be something that sets a foundation, a strong limestone foundation, for our children and grandchildren, and it should be something that everyone in Harrison County, regardless of their station in life or their origins, can be proud of.
All of the millennium projects around the state started with small groups. As students of leadership and “success” know, small groups can be extremely powerful. A small group can accomplish great things, whether it’s a small group of friends at a church or a small group of revolutionaries who overthrow a government. Just think of what small groups like the YMCA and SOS, Community Unity, Friends of Harrison County Youth, the Gerdon Youth Center, Main Street Corydon and others have accomplished around here.
In naming his wife to head the Millennium and Bicentennial celebration committee, Gov. Frank O’Bannon said in 1998: “The coming millennium is more than just a time to celebrate. It’s also a time for everyone to think long and hard about the Indiana we want for our great-grandchildren.
“This will be an exciting time. It’s also a perfect time to draw together our hopes and dreams and plan to make that vision a reality.”
Judy O’Bannon, like no one else, will help us make our vision a reality. Let the planning begin.