I have dedicated my life to my community and public service. My parents were very involved in volunteering. They instilled in me that we all have something to give to others. Never take anything for granted and always be willing to lend a helping hand.
Operation Life Ambulance
We moved to Greenwood in June of 1967. John was a teacher at Southport High School and preferred to live outside the Southport school district. After looking at homes for better than four months we decided on our current home. We took possession just one week prior to our wedding. A neighbor was also a teacher at Southport High School and invited us to join the Greenwood chapter of the Jaycees. Jaycees has two major areas of development. One was community service and the other was building your inner self to build your confidence and never be afraid to try something different. We really enjoyed being engaged and volunteering in our community.
During our years in the Jaycees, we worked on many community projects. One major project was raising funds to purchase a new “Operation Life” ambulance for the city’s fire department. Jeanette Surina owned the Big Red Barn Skating Rink and allowed us to do an all-night skating party. Gateway Learning Center in Franklin needed a school bus to transport their special needs children. We found an opportunity to collect the trading stamps grocery stores gave out depending on the amount of your purchase. Several of us spent many Saturday evenings gathered around a Formica topped table gluing stamps into books. I don’t remember how many books we needed but we had hundreds and hundreds of books. Another was selling bricks to raise money to build the current concession stand at the Little League Park. We learned patience and confidence. We were all in our 20’s but we realized we needed to ask for help from not only local businesses but also needed the support and help of the community.
We were successful with each of the challenges. Some of the older firemen at Station 91 are sure to remember Operation Life ambulance service. The Little League Concession Stand is still standing and going strong. I’m sure the bus at Gateway was retired long ago but Gateway is still located in its original building alongside Access on the north side of Franklin.
One downfall for us with the Jaycees, when the Jaycee turns 35 he is no longer able to be a Jaycee. He can join the International Jaycees and you can still support the organization, but you are no longer viewed as a Jaycee. John turned 35 in November of 1975. We were suddenly in limbo….we were no longer working out in the community. We missed not being involved. The same friend that encouraged John to join the Jaycees was also a current City Councilman in District 1. In 1979, he decided not to run for re-election and encouraged John to file to run for the office of City Council – District 1. John was elected to his first term on the Greenwood Council in 1979. He was sworn in on January 1st, 1980.
Little League Concession Stand
Yet another Jaycee & Jaycee wife’s project. In the early 70’s, the Jaycees spearheaded a project to sell bricks in to raise funds to build a concession stand for the Greenwood Little League at Craig Park. On June 2, 1973 enough bricks had been sold and the concession stand was dedicated to “The Youth of Greenwood”. The plaque on the building states it was a joint effort by the Greenwood Jaycees and the Greenwood Little League…..the building is still in use today and is an important part of the Little League’s baseball season each year.
Flags for Greenwood’s Arrives
In the mid 90’s we traveled many miles in our 1930 Model A Ford. We traveled along US and State highways as we traveled to many Model A National Conventions. We drove to Texas, Florida, the Carolinas, New York, Michigan, Missouri, etc. We went through many small communities sporting their patriotic spirit by displaying their American flags. John was a member of the City Council at the time. We both admired the beauty of the flags proudly flying from the utility poles. I would always comment that Greenwood needed to do flags. John would always comment…..there is too much infrastructure that needs attention.
Finally, after about a year and a half John’s reply was…..if we want to see American flags on our streets it’s up to us to do it! I’m sure he thought that would be the end of the discussion…. but I was a Jaycee wife and had picked up some of the pointers along the way about building your confidence, so I decided to test what I had learned. I first counted the number of utility poles along Madison Avenue from County Line to Smith Valley Road. Then counted poles along Main Street from US 31 to Meridian Street. There were 254. I then called some flag companies to get pricing for the flags, poles and brackets. I thought I had my bases covered when one of the companies asked me if I wanted unfurlers? I had no clue what unfurlers were, but I soon learned it looks like the liner in a golf bag, but you place in on the flagpole, attach the flags to the unfurler with security ties, the unfurler will continue to rotate around the poles so the flag hangs straight down and doesn’t get tangle. Flags for Greenwood was about to be born.
I ordered flags from four different companies and took them to a seamstress to get her opinion as to which one would withstand the weather the best. When John came home that evening, we had dinner then I surprised him with my research and samples. He was stunned but shared in my vision. We talked with Charlie Henderson, the mayor and Charlie agreed the city would use the city’s cherry picker truck to put the flags up and take them down, supply the manpower and storage space.
I then set out to get permission from Public Service Indiana to hang the flags on the utility poles. Next, we took the flag we had chosen and asked the city to install it on a flagpole on Madison Avenue near where Hoosiers is located. We needed to test this flag and identify any problems prior to having 254 problems…..Many cars honked their horn as they noticed we were putting up our first flag. The Daily Journal heard about our project and published a story helping us to get the word out to the community. Now it was time to start distributing our letters. It was now early March; we had started delivering our letters and talking with the various business owners. Our goal was to collect the necessary funds to purchase flags by the end of the year so we could start flying them for Memorial Day in 1996.
We were overwhelmed with the support from the community. Almost all of the businesses gave us money as soon as we told them about our project. We only had one problem that arose from the test flag. The test flag only had two grommets and needed a third in the middle to keep it more securely attached to the pole. By the middle of April, we had more than enough money to purchase the flags…..in fact, we had enough to purchase flags for Meridian from County Line to Smith Valley Road.
The flags arrived one day and the poles a few days later. It was an OH MY Moment! We needed to work fast to get the flags ready and on the poles for Memorial Day!!!! We called on friends to help us assemble the flags on the unfurlers. We completed the flags the weekend prior to Memorial Day. We handed them off to the city and we were both excited and relieved. The sight of the flags flying along Madison Avenue was simply beautiful. Our Jaycee experiences definitely guided us in accomplishing this challenge! Our flag population grew from 254 to over 900 flags by 1999.
Valle Vista Homeowner’s Association
Both my husband, John, and I have enjoyed serving our community. On February 11th of 1985, my husband John, received a plaque expressing the appreciation of the Valle Vista Homeowner’s Association. The homeowners appreciated the City Council and Mayor Surina working together for the City of Greenwood to be in a position to take over the ownership and management of the failing Johnson Suburban Utilities…..the sewer service for the Valle Vista development. There were many problems and the developer who was involved in the ownership of the facility was not able to maintain and operate the sanitation utility.
Veterans, Police, Firefighters and EMT Memorial
ANOTHER PATRIOTIC MOMENT IS ON THE HORIZON -Very soon….we will have another patriotic moment. Prior to my husband’s death in 2008, John and I gathered a group of individuals together to raise funds for a Veterans Memorial to honor the military as well as local police officers, firefighters and EMTs who serve and protect our community. There were issues with finding property and the group disbanded. I was delighted when a group of veterans contacted me inquiring as to whether I was still interested in working on the memorial and would like to join them. I JUMPED at the opportunity! Now property has been made available by the city, adjacent to the library near the intersection of Surina Way and Meridian streets as the home for a MEMORIAL TO HONOR VETERANS, POLICE, FIREFIGHTERS AND EMTS.
We are anxiously awaiting final design drawings to wrap up our fundraising efforts. Within a few months we should be able to finalize the individual sponsorships and order the stonework. We still have room to add something in honor of your family. Please email for pricing or details.
- Greenwood City Council representing District 1– since November 2008 & Council VP since 2021
- Richard Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series Class of 2014-15
- Council liaison to the airport
- Aeronautical Center of Technology Academy Board of Directors since 2021 (Encourage students to pursue aviation related careers by working with local schools)
- Member of Greenwood First Baptist Church since 1979
- The Social of Greenwood (Senior Citizens) Board of Directors since 2009
- Greenwood Village South Board of Directors since 2010 & Finance Committee since 2021
- Miles for Myeloma – volunteer significant hours annually – raising over $7M since inception in 2005
- Veterans Memorial Committee- Memorial will be adjacent to Library
- Women Who Care since 2016 (Steering Committee 2016-18)
- Crime Watch Coordinator – Holman Heights/Forest Park
- Past member of Greenwood Plan Commission
- Past member of Johnson County Solid Waste Management
- Past President of the wife’s auxiliary of the Greenwood Jaycees
- Former Employee of Ernst & Young LLP – 24 Years
- Former Board Member Restore Old Town Greenwood
- Former Board Member Indiana Utility Shareholders Assn-Been to Wash DC 3 times working to limit taxes on investment dividends
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM ME
By allowing me the opportunity to remain as your council representative, I will continue to:
- Listen and voice/vote your concerns
- Expect the city to operate in a frugal, competent, effective manner without reducing services
- Maximize best use/return/investment of taxpayer’s money
- Support/encourage well planned economic development/increase tax base
- Spend ONLY WHAT WE CAN AFFORD as we plan future of OUR city
- Must save for tomorrow and continuing planning for our future
- Manage city’s money the same as my own!
- Monitor our districts streets, sidewalks and street lights for proper and timely maintenance
I believe my experience, reputation for fairness and community involvement REFLECT MY DEDICATION to serving you and our community.
INTEGRITY MATTERS even when it may not be the politically correct thing to do!
Proudly Paid for by The Committee to Re-Elect Linda Gibson