Chargers marching to state finals

The North Montgomery Marching Chargers are doing something they have not done for 32 years. The 36-member band will advance to the Indiana State Music Association State Finals in the Class B Competition on Oct. 24 at Lawrence Central High School.

Its last such appearance was in 1983 when the band competed in the state finals at the RCA Dome.

Band director John Flodder said the band earned a gold rating at Saturday’s state preliminaries. However, the significance of the rating took some time to sink in.

“When I heard the announcement my jaw hit the ground,” Flodder said. “The kids were excited, but it was not until we were loaded back on the bus that they realized we were going to state. A celebration broke out and we ended having one big band group hug.”

Flodder has seen the band grow in numbers each year since he took over. His first year there were 23 members.

“I was told when I was hired that the school corporation wanted to see the band flourish,” he said. “We have a very supportive administration at North Montgomery as well as great parents to have made this happen in just four years.”

ISMA is the largest marching competition in Indiana. A total of 28 bands are expected to compete in Scholastic Class B. This is the first year for the Chargers to compete. In Flodder’s first three years, the band only marched in the Festival Group, which is a non-competition class.

“Starting four years ago my goal with the band was centered around having a good performance that entertained the audience,” Flodder said.

This year Flodder was still a bit leery about entering the band into competition. The first two marching competitions the Chargers competed in the festival class, and the results were encouraging.

“We received a gold rating and also won a first place in distinction visual performance at Rennsselaer,” Flodder said. “I decided we had a good start and had some success, so I made the decision to enter into Class B competition at the prelims.”

Marching band is not a regular class at North Montgomery, so the band only practices after school each week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. There is a one-week band camp before the start of school.

“My goal is to help kids connect with the audience in a performance without sacrificing music education,” Flodder said.

With fall break beginning today, Flodder said his band won’t be together again until Tuesday. The last practice before state will take place the morning of state finals since a band concert is already scheduled for Oct. 22 in the school’s auditorium. That concert will include three Northridge Middle School bands as well as the high school concert band. The Marching Charger Band will play their competition songs to close out the concert. There is no admission fee to the concert.

Flodder is feeling confident. The band had a good week of practice, refining the show which features songs “Crazy Train,” “Chattanooga Choo Choo” and “Take the A-Train.”

At Lawrence Central, the Marching Chargers will compete against

14 other bands. They will take the field for competition at approximately 12:31 p.m. Oct. 24. Flodder said Sagamore Athletic Conference bands Tri West and Danville also will be in the competition. A total of 35 class bands and the competitive open class will take place at the state finals.

The Charger Marching Band instruction staff includes Flodder, Marching band assistant director and math teacher Zach Burney, Color Guard Director and Purdue University student Ariana Sowders and Indiana State University student and Percussion Director Thomas Davenport.

Veterans Expo draws crowd

Nearly 100 local veterans attended the Byron Cox American Legion Post #72 Veterans Expo on Thursday. Twenty-four exhibitors were present offering free advice and information to the veterans about services available to those who have served the country.

Montgomery County Veterans Service Officer Joe Ellis was on hand helping veterans understand all his office does. He was distributing books that described veteran benefits and information on Honor Flights.

“We have had three guys sign up today for the next Honor Flight which excited me,” Ellis said. “This expo is important because it gives a lot of  veterans the opportunity to see, read and talk about what veteran services are available. There organizations here all have something to offer to our veterans.”

U.S. Congressman Todd Rokita’s Constituent Outreach Manager, Jared Bond, was manning a booth. He was there to help veterans solve problems they might be having.

“I am here to help people who are having issues with the V.A. and other agencies,” Bond said. “I feel good because I have been able to help a few veterans out today.”

Legionnaire Rodney Strong was chairman of the expo. He said veterans get more than information at the event.

“One of the big things the veterans get out of this is being able to sit and talk with other veterans,” Strong said. “The camaraderie between the veterans is important. The free flu shots and eye exams provided by Dr. Michael P. Scheidler are always a hit.”

Strong finds more Vietnam era veterans than ever before are looking for help and information.

“The Vietnam vets are getting to the age they are looking for benefit information,” Strong said. “We want to make sure those veterans understand all of their benefits and what is offered to them.”

Two participating agencies, Alzheimer’s Association and Crossroads

Veterans Services, an Easter Seals organization, also were at the expo for the first time since its inception 21 years ago.

Crossroads veterans also brought a Remembering Our Fallen exhibit displaying Hoosier servicemen and women who have lost their lives since Sept. 11, 2011. The display is being scheduled to return to Crawfordsville when the traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall visits in August 2016.

The display included a photo of Waveland’s Brian Bowman, who died Jan. 3, 2010, in Afghanistan.

“The Remembering our Fallen display was humbling,” Strong said. “When we have it here with the traveling Vietnam wall that is going to be something, and I know a lot of people will want to come see them together.”

The local chapter of the Blue Star Mothers prepared a free breakfast and lunch for attendees.

Local nurse goes the extra mile

When an elderly Wisconsin woman was brought into the emergency room at Franciscan St. Elizabeth Health - Crawfordsville late Saturday afternoon, registered nurse Jenny Long knew her patient was seriously injured and seriously upset. 

The patient had been a passenger in a vehicle involved in an accident at Interstate 74 and U.S. 231 North late Saturday afternoon. Long quickly realized the woman was more worried about her long-time pet Tismo than herself. The dog ran away from the accident scene and could not be found.

“The patient was so stressed about where her dog was that it was making it hard for us to treat her injuries,” Long said.

That is when Long promised her patient she would go look for the dog herself. Her words seemed to bring calm to the situation. 

“I promised the lady that as soon as I got off my shift, I would go look for her dog,” Long said. “That seemed to calm the patient down and we were at least able to treat her and get her ready to be transferred.”

When Long’s 12-hour shift ended at 6 p.m. Saturday, she made good on her promise. Long spent nearly two hours looking for the Pomeranian-Poodle mix. She walked fence rows, talked with several crash witnesses and talked to convenience store employees. Long even had her husband, Cole, join in the search after his 12-hour shift ended at a local factory.

“There were several witnesses who had seen the accident and saw the dog run to the west,” Long said. “There was a fence row and a corn field and I knew that dog could be anywhere.”

So, Longs searched and walked. They even found a farmer in the area who promised to be on the lookout. 

Finally, with the sun setting, the search was called off. However, that did not stop Long from worrying about her patient who had been transferred to another hospital and was even further from her pet.

“We really did not know if the dog was even alive,” Long said. “But, I wanted to keep my promise to find Tismo because it was obvious the dog was very important to the lady.”

Long then reached out via Facebook to local pet advocate, DeAntha Wright-Thornburg. The Crawfordsville woman is known for helping find lost animals.

“When Jenny called I immediately put out the call of the missing dog,” Wright-Thornburg said. “People immediately started re-posting the news and wanting to help.”

At 5:30 a.m. Sunday, Thornburg was at the accident scene looking for Tismo, but with no luck.

“Whether the dog was found dead or alive, I thought it was important to find it so the lady could have some kind of closure,” Wright-Thornburg said. “It was important to her recovery to find out what happened to the dog.”

It was not until 11 p.m. Sunday that Tismo was finally found. A farmer found the dog and called the phone number on the dog’s collar. The number belonged to a Wisconsin veterinarian who was able to notify the injured woman’s family that the dog had been found. Relatives of the injured woman picked up the dog and drove it home to Wisconsin.

Long was relieved to get the news. 

“I was so worried about the lady,” Long said. “She had no one here to go searching for the dog. I just felt like I had to help. I worried that we’d never found the dog. I worried about how the lady’s rehab would go.”

Pam Miller, a manager at Franciscan St. Elizabeth Health - Crawfordsville, said Long is an example of the type of people who work in the local emergency room. 

“Jenny is just another example that nurses have big hearts,” Miller said. “I have known for a long time that our E.R. is blessed with good and caring nurses.”

Long has been a registered nurse for four years at the local hospital. She graduated from Ivy Tech while raising her three children. She also is a Southmont High School graduate.

“I guess I did what I did because I kept thinking what if that was my grandmother lying in a hospital far from home,” Long said. “I am just happy the lady is recovering and she knows her pal is waiting for her to get home to Wisconsin.”

Expo and job fair is Friday

The Crawfordsville/Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce reminds all patrons that its annual Business Expo/Job Fair will be held 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at Crawfordsville High School.  

This event is free and open to the public. It will include opportunities to pick up and complete applications with various vendors. Participants also may choose to bring resumes and credentials. 


This is an effort by the Chamber to help meet the needs of a severe work-force shortage in the area, as well as hopefully draw more members of the public to the event.  

Dave Peach and Phil Thompson will broadcast live from the venue. There will be numerous door prizes awarded, including Colt’s tickets. A food court will be provided by Allen’s Country Kitchen.

Questions and information can be directed to 765-362-6800; or email Amy at info.crawfordsvillechamber.com.

Wabash lends a hand

Students at Wabash College are using their spare time to lend a hand — but not their own.

Under the direction of Lon Porter, associate professor of chemistry and the department chair, a small group of students are using 3-D printing technology to make prosthetic hands for children.

“At Wabash, we thought that was a simple way to reach out and do some good,” Porter said. “Instead of the students printing some little trinket when they’re learning, they can print something that, hopefully, will enrich somebody’s life.” 

Since the end of the summer, students have made about 20 different 3-D printed prosthetic hands.

Production of one hand costs about $25. The equivalent professionally-made prosthetics can cost anywhere between $6,000 and $10,000.

“To buy a prosthetic for a child who’s going to outgrow it when it costs thousands of dollars is probably not feasible for your average family,” Porter said.

The Wabash group is partnering with a non-profit organization made up of volunteers called e-NABLE, which was founded in 2013.

According to their website, “e-NABLE typically focuses on under-served communities for whom traditional prostheses are too expensive (because they can cost thousands of dollars per year) or impractical (because children outgrow them). Many children simply never get one because of the expense.”

Since it was founded, e-NABLE has delivered approximately 1500 hands with the help of groups around the country like the men at Wabash.

Each hand produced for e-NABLE functions the same. The person receiving the hand must have some wrist functionality. When a person fastens the 3-D printed prosthetic hand to their arm, bending their wrist will make a grasping motion. 

e-NABLE recognizes that these plastic hands can not hold more than a few pounds of weight and the individual fingers cannot move. However, for a child who has lost all

functionality of one hand, this might give them more options than they had.

“Children use them for simple tasks like holding water bottles while being able to hold a snack in their other hand at the same time, helping to give them balance by allowing them to use two hands to ride a bike or swing on the swings, holding sports equipment like baseball or cricket bats, catching soccer or footballs etc. and other simple tasks that having two hands is helpful for.”

Porter said this project is gaining interest around different departments, and he has enjoyed seeing the excitement from students like Wabash Junior Cordell Lewis during this project.