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Leadership class honors Brown

Corydon’s Maxine Brown is the Harrison County Leadership Class of 2005’s Servant Leader award winner. The announcement was made at the class graduation program May 26 at the Corydon Presbyterian Church.
Brown bought and restored the Leora Brown School in Corydon, one of the few original one-room schools for African-Americans still standing in Indiana, and she is currently leading an effort to save the historic Leonard Carter house in Corydon from demolition. Carter was a slave who fought and was wounded in the Civil War. The Leora Brown School is now a community and education center that recently hosted a dinner for the Louisville Orchestra, which played its third concert here, arranged by Brown.
Brown attended the Leora Brown School (named for her aunt, a teacher there) and Corydon Central High School before studying at Roosevelt University in Chicago. She worked with remedial education in Indianapolis, was a program officer for Lilly Endowment and then for years she was the executive vice president of the Kentucky Foundation for Women in Lousville. She has been on the board of trustees at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany and started a networking program to deal with racial problems.
Brown expressed surprise and gratitude on winning the Servant Leader award, presented by Linda Rudolph and Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor.
Spieth-Saylor recognized Brown for what one class member said is her ‘passion and desire to educate people about the amazing history of African-Americans in this county. Your work and commitment is a perfect example of how one person can make a difference.’
Brown had to leave the program early to attend a meeting about saving the Carter house.
The prayer before dinner was given by Schatzi Fry, a member of last year’s Leadership class. She was unable to attend the graduation program last year because she was in the hospital, in intensive care, recovering from injuries she got in a motorcycle accident.
In the opening remarks, Sean Hawkins, another Leadership grad, encouraged the group to use the tools they learned in the program to improve their community and themselves. He encouraged them to find their niche, get involved in something, ‘don’t overload yourself,’ ‘have fun’ and ‘keep it simple.’
Harrison County Council Chair Gary Davis, a graduate of the first class in 1995, stood in for former councilman Carl Duley, who won the ‘Friend of Leadership’ award, presented by Jeff Clay.
Jill Pearson reflected on the graduating class’s activities. She said she was a reluctant member who tried to think of reasons why she shouldn’t go. She didn’t fill out the application until the last minute (under pressure by Leadership grad Inez Voyles) and she certainly did not want to start off the program by ‘spending two days in the woods with people I didn’t know.’
She left the opening retreat at O’Bannon Woods State Park feeling good, energized and ready for the next month’s meeting. ‘Each meeting I learned something new,’ she said. ‘I began to figure out I wasn’t learning just the servant leadership things; I was learning more about myself.’
She learned about personality types and learning styles and why some people get on her nerves.
‘We are all very different and bring different pieces to the table,’ she said. ‘It’s important to listen and communicate in positive ways.’
Scott Limeberry was another reluctant member. He hated to miss the baseball playoffs last fall, and he bought Leadership Harrison County’s Program Director John Hodges and his assistant, Sheryl Scharf, a TV to emphasize his point. He later returned it to Wal-Mart.
After spending several intense seminars with 23 others, Limeberry said he now knows them all and cares for them all. He said he learned new leadership development skills that he can use to be a positive influence in the community.
Al Rudolph described Project SafePlace, an ambitious project the class adopted to help make Harrison County a better place, particulary for young persons who are victims of abuse or distress of various kinds. Often, these young people have no place to turn for help. In 2003, he said, Harrison County had 103 reported cases of abuse or neglect.
Project SafePlace, modeled after a YMCA safehouse in Louisville, now has shelterhouses in 10 Indiana counties. Floyd County’s opened in 2003 and expects to serve 50 kids this year. The Leadership class hopes to have a shelter in Harrison County, and it has a $36,000 goal (a one-year budget) to make it happen. Through several fund-raisers, they have already collected $5,000.
It takes about $36,000 just to care for one child for a year in a foster home or the juvenile justice system, Rudolph said.
Several places in Harrison County have already agreed to be SafePlace sites. They include the Wal-Mart Supercenter, Lincoln Hills and First Capital Christian churches, Emergency Medical Services at Harrison County Hospital and the YMCA of Harrison County in Corydon.
The class hopes to have at least one designated SafePlace site in each community in the county.
Quoting one of his favorite French poets, Apollonaire, Hodges told the leaders that they had all seen something within themselves. He urged them to take their gifts and their courage and get involved with their community. He urged them to step up ‘to the edge’ and fly. ‘Begin your leadership flight.’
Leadership graduates
Kenny Bartley
Brenda Billner
Amanda Book
Linda K. Bourne
Karen Cummings
Blair R. Emily
Myra J. Hildebrand
Nell Hill
Scott W. Limeberry
Allen J. Lopp
Evelyn McPherson
Lisa Luan McSpadden
Jill Pearson
Jeff J. Reed
Douglas R. Robson
Al Rudolph
Linda Rudolph
Rick Ruedeman
Daniel A. Smiley
Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor
Brian C. Thomas
Bonnie L. Woertz