Hometown Heroes

Last week Cam Fine, president and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America, spent a day in southern Indiana with several area bankers and me. He came at the invitation of IBA Chairman Pat Glotzbach, president and CEO of The New Washington State Bank, Charlestown. Pat’s bank has a branch in Henryville, a town nearly wiped off the map by twin tornadoes on March 2.

After meeting Monday evening with a contingent of southern Indiana bankers, we began our “tornado tour” on Tuesday morning. Joining us were Dave Geis, president and CEO of Jackson County Bank, Seymour, and Nelson Dietrich, past chairman of The New Washington State Bank. For Nelson in particular, the tour was poignant. The area had always been his home, and the devastation he saw represented a lifetime of memories gone in seconds.

Cam was clearly touched by the destruction sites and the stories that went with them. The day after his visit, he wrote a blog, titled “Heroes,” paying tribute to the community banking heroes he had met. Cam also wrote eloquently about the heroic bent of community bankers in general. Anytime there is a disaster, anywhere in this great nation, community bankers are among the first to come forward and offer assistance.

Here in Indiana, Pat Glotzbach is proud of his outstanding staff, who reflect his community service spirit, deep compassion and, as Cam calls it, “never give up” attitude. Hats off to Pat’s team, including Scott Benner, Judy Shepherd, Adrienne Hill, Jay Stephens, Karen Johnson, Darrel Burton, Brenda Doley and Chairman Betty Carver. They are quiet heroes all, reaching out to others in need, despite their own losses.

Some good news is that New Hope Services Inc., a local community service organization, has partnered with IBA to establish the New Hope/IBA Disaster Relief Fund, with 100 percent of the tax-deductible contributions going to help residents of the affected communities. More good news is that the country music trio Lady Antebellum—named Vocal Group of the Year last Sunday by the Academy of Country Music—is collecting funds through an online donation page. Lady A is even donating proceeds from a May 16 concert to be held in Louisville, Ky.

Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of the deadly March tornadoes. Our admiration goes to the helpers who are putting their own needs aside to assist others. And our gratitude goes to Cam Fine for coming to Indiana and for shining a light on our hometown heroes.

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