Friday, March 2, was the day that twin EF-4 tornadoes devastated communities in southern Indiana. The New Washington State Bank (NWSB) has a branch located in Henryville—one of the affected towns—that sustained much damage. NWSB President and CEO Pat Glotzbach, who is serving as 2012 chairman of the board of the Indiana Bankers Association, invited me to come tour the area on Monday, March 5. The same day, I announced the formation of a fund, the New Hope Services / Indiana Bankers Association Disaster Relief Fund, formed in partnership with New Hope Services Inc., a local community services organization.
Also in March, Grammy-winning country music trio Lady Antebellum sponsored a nationwide high school contest, with Lady A pledging to perform at the prom of the winning school. Henryville Junior/Senior High School—“Home of the Hornets”—handily won the contest on nominations from local rival Silver Creek High School and other schools throughout the country. Due to scheduling conflicts with the Henryville prom date, Lady Antebellum grew the event to a mini prom, followed by a charity ball to be held at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky., about 20 miles from Henryville. The irony that Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Colonel Harland Sanders is a native of Henryville is not lost on us.
The charity that Lady Antebellum selected as benefactor of the ball was the New Hope Services / Indiana Bankers Association Disaster Relief Fund. Pat and I, along with NWSB Board Chair Betty Carver and Teller Marilyn Walden—both of whom lost their homes—and New Hope representatives John Broady and Kenton Wooden, were invited onstage at the concert last Wednesday for the official presentation of the check. I was honored to represent our fund and the banking industry in saying a few words of thanks to our partners, New Hope Services Inc. and The New Washington State Bank. I also was humbled to address the attendees—many of whom had been victims of the tornadoes—and praise them for their courage, resilience and dedication to community.
Standing on that stage with Lady Antebellum, sharing a genuine desire to assist the storm victims, was an incredible feeling. I had the privilege of thanking each of the three stars who make up Lady Antebellum. I told them that their rapid success in a span of four short years, while impressive, pales in comparison to their heartfelt generosity. Their fundraising efforts, which included $50,000 in matching funds from Lipton Tea, have raised $285,000!
Fully 100 percent of the funds are going to help the victims of the storm. Donations have poured in from the IBA, the Independent Community Bankers of America, several Indiana banks and hundreds of individuals across the nation. We are grateful to all who have contributed, bringing total funds raised to date to more than $350,000.
The talented young musicians of Lady Antebellum—Dave Hayward, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott—put on a spectacular concert last Wednesday, raising money and raising hope for southern Indiana. Thank you, and God bless!