Upon the passing of Clarence Brown Jr., I stood in awe of his extensive contributions to the greater good.
From the entirety of his career – tours of duty in two major wars, nine terms in Congress, determined bipartisan efforts during the energy crisis, environmental stewardship concerning Cedar Bog – a solitary word emerges: service, the guiding principle of Bud Brown’s life.
As publisher, Mr. Brown’s “Round the Square” column appeared weekly in the UDC. In one of those columns in 1960 he explained the impact the proposed city park would have on so many people and groups, ending the op-ed piece with a single question: “What if no one cared?” And therein lay the essence of Clarence Brown. His heart was made for public service – his legacy was to care.
When I recently perused the front pages of the UDC for the first month of 2022, it struck me that Bud Brown’s personal call to service is alive and well in Champaign County. As I spotlight five outstanding examples, please pardon my personal prejudice. When students are involved in any way, my heart melts …
(1/22) – The Graham Foundation are Graham graduates looking out for Graham graduates. Fifty years after the consolidation of the six country schools dotting the townships and villages of western Champaign County, forward-looking alums representing each school determined to provide scholarship aid to the newest Falcons leaving the nest. Currently, 12 Graham graduates/trustees, similarly forward-thinking, solicit donations to finance and award onetime scholarships and grants. Board President Ron Clark emphasizes: ALL graduating seniors are equally eligible regardless of educational plans. Kids headed to four-year schools as well as trade and technical programs are encouraged to apply. Trustees seek to recognize individuals demonstrating balance in academics, extracurriculars, and community participation. Although $1,000 seems anemic in comparison to astronomical college costs, such an award is an integral part of collecting needed funds precisely because it is within the student’s own ability and initiative to submit a completed application. The Graham Foundation provides an all-win opportunity for Falconland and beyond!
(1/27) – Other former-students-now-alumni also serve the community in crucial, ongoing ways. Members of the OSU Alumni Club of Champaign County regularly distribute food items at The WhereHouse Food Pantry, a ministry of the United Methodist Church. Go Bucks!
(1/19) – For some athletic groups, teamwork is not only built in practice sessions or competitive play. Case in point: the middle school and high school ladies of the West Liberty-Salem track-and-field team performed acts of community service in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the holiday set aside to honor him. Coach Ann Vogel encouraged the athletes to deepen their team camaraderie by together cleaning the school weight room and clearing snowy village driveways and sidewalks. They are to be commended for their generous efforts. Team! Team! Team!
(1/21) – Scott Spinner, president of the Mechanicsburg food pantry, explains that Oasis of Mercy formed six years ago to serve village and area residents. Now volunteers and organizations in Champaign, Clark, Madison, Union, and Franklin counties have enabled the original scope to broaden service for 25 village households to 229 families across the five counties. Purchases from Second Harvest Food Bank provide economical food, and multiple church ministries coordinate outreach. Volunteer opportunities exist in the areas of monetary and food donations and distribution. All help is welcome in this ever-widening circle of service to neighbors in need.
(1/26) – Speaking of food pantries, student responsibility, and Falconland – a partnership of several entities is developing in the Graham school district. To strengthen community support for families in need as addressed by the St. Paris Community Food Pantry run by the Federation of Churches, a choice food pantry has opened at Graham Elementary School. Stacey Logwood, Graham’s Student, Family, and Community Support Coordinator, and guidance counselor Megan Christmann are directing cooperative efforts between Second Harvest Food Bank and the district. They are also relying on student volunteerism to further the effectiveness of the program. The high school leadership class has already stepped up with strategic planning and supporting activities as has the FFA. As the new Falconland Market further develops plans allowing individuals to select items directly from shelves as in a supermarket, opportunities for all manner of volunteer activities will become available. Here’s hoping this program will result in healthier students attending school, readier and more able to succeed in the classroom.
(1/7) – The Woodruff Farm, The Champaign County Sheepman’s Association, and Champaign County OSU Extension are combining resources to form a new sheep club for county kids. 4-H members, FFA members, and other interested youngsters will be supplied with a project animal, feed, a place to house the animal, and the education needed to raise a sheep for market. It will be the member’s responsibility to complete an application and to supply every drop of sweat equity required, with costs to be settled after the county fair sheep sale. What an opportunity to learn responsibility by accepting responsibility! What an educational experience to learn about farming right here in a proud rural setting! What a great chance to socialize with peers for fun and profit! What a way for area adults to cooperate in the education and support of our kids!
I thank Katie Milligan and Anna Kennedy for their excellent front-page reports that caught my eye and supplied me as a UDC subscriber with well-researched information about local initiatives.