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MAGAZINE

MAY 2018

ELEMENTARY STUDENTS ARE SPREADING KINDNESS IN PLAINFIELD

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JUST BE KIND: ELEMENTARY STUDENTS ARE SPREADING KINDNESS IN PLAINFIELD

ADVERTISING DESIGNER

Talk to anyone in Plainfield that knows Andrea Hilton and their face will light up with a smile at the mention of her name. Andrea Hilton is synonymous with caring, with heart, and with the words “Just Be Kind.”

21

43

Valerie Randall

EDITORIAL MANAGER Josh Brown

Josh@TownePost.com

MAY WRITERS

Carrie Petty / Christy Heitger-Ewing Jon Shoulders / Matt Keating Melissa Gibson / Rebecca Todd Seth Johnson

MAY PHOTOGRAPHERS

5  Just Be Kind: Elementary Students 33  Before You Start Another Fitness Are Spreading Kindness in Plainfield

7  Doctor Chauffeurs Cancer Patients to Treatments in His Bentley

9  Get Back From Back Pain 11 Business Spotlight: Dawson Family Dentistry

12 May Crossword Puzzle 15 A Need for Speed: Avon Racecar Driver Is On the Fast Track

Challenge

34 Search for History: Local Couple Visits Presidential Grave Sites

36 From Grief to Giving Back: Jamie Turner Honors Son’s Legacy by Altruistically Donating a Kidney

39 Wood 2 Wow: Local Couple Builds Custom-Made Wooden Creations

43 Waiving the Green Flag: Avon

Resident Talks Being the Starter at the Indianapolis 500

21 Building Leaders: The Boy Scouts of 49 The Learning Garden: Duke Energy America Grows & Transforms Lives 26 Through the Lens: Roberts Camera Celebrates 60 Years in Business

28 Business Spotlight: Service Plus 31 April Showers Really Do Bring May Flowers

Foundation Makes Learning Garden a Reality for the Imagination Lab

50 Plainfield Senior Wins First-Ever

Brian Brosmer / Chris Jones, IMS PHOTO Mark Thompson Picture This Photography / Ron Wise

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For Advertising, Contact Darren Boston Darren@PlainfieldMag.com / 317-716-8812

Golf Championship for Plainfield

52 Taking Aim: Plainfield High School Student is an Archery Expert

4 / PLAINFIELD MAGAZINE / MAY 2018 / PlainfieldMag.com

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ELEMENTARY STUDENTS ARE SPREADING KINDNESS IN PLAINFIELD Writer / Rebecca Todd Photographer / Denny Scott

Talk to anyone in Plainfield that knows Andrea Hilton and their face will light up with a smile at the mention of her name. Andrea Hilton is synonymous with caring, with heart, and with the words “Just Be Kind.” In a humble Plainfield home on a cold winter afternoon, it appears that a group of kids have gathered to play air hockey, laugh and kill time. However, there’s something much more powerful taking place at Hilton’s home, and for many of these kids, it may well be life-changing. When it’s time to get to work, there’s no complaining or hesitating. The Just Be Kind kids get down to business.

Three years ago, Hilton was helping with a school club at Van Buren Elementary. The kids really enjoyed the club and when summer came, they didn’t want it to end. So Hilton got the kids together and they brainstormed ideas for a summer project. They made shirts as one of the club projects, and the kids decided they would like to make shirts to sell. That’s when they came up with the message they all wanted to share: “Just Be Kind.” “We approached the Plainfield Chamber of Commerce about selling the shirts at their Farmers’ Market and they were really receptive to the idea,” Hilton says.

able to increase their inventory to include Just Be Kind pillows, totes, and eventually the popular yard signs that now dot the landscape of Plainfield. After their success at the market, the kids voted to keep their club going. “Let me be clear,” Hilton says. “I am not in charge here. This is all about them. The kids make the decisions. They decide what projects to take on. And someone always volunteers to step up and take charge of projects.”

Nevertheless, when the kids decided they wanted to keep going, Hilton was ready and willing to help them with their endeavor, offering her home as a meeting The shirts were an instant hit at the Farmers’ place and even converting her garage into Market, and it wasn’t long before they were a make-shift clubhouse for the kids and PlainfieldMag.com / MAY 2018 / PLAINFIELD MAGAZINE / 5


storage area for their supplies. The beauty of the Just Be Kind kids is that they practice what they preach. Although they do use some of the funds raised for group activities and educational trips (they recently were able to visit the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry), the majority of funds raised go towards helping others in the community. As a group, they have thrown parties for residents of Cypress Manor County Home, as well as preparing goody bags of personal care items for them. They have also raised funds for the Gathering Together Hospice and the Awesome Westside Advocates, as well as donating funds and volunteering for various other community projects. Not only are the Just Be Kind kids spreading the message of kindness, they are learning many important life skills as well, such as working as part of a team and basic business principles. Each child, it seems, offers a particular skill and is given the opportunity to step up and shine within the group. Emily likes doing community projects and enjoys managing finances. Kendal enjoys helping other kids and welcoming new kids into the group. TJ likes painting, Mirah likes meeting new people, and Ryan is the number one salesperson. Little James is in charge of the keychain project, the group’s newest venture. The group shows no signs of slowing down. They now have more than 30 members of varying ages ranging from elementary through high school. And their message is spreading much further than they had ever anticipated. They’ve had requests for signs from people in Zionsville, Noblesville and even from out of state. “As long as they want to keep going, I’m in,” says Hilton, who is just thrilled that the kids are getting so much out of the group and are learning so much. “We talk about a lot of issues and about what it means to be kind. They all know we all have a voice, and we have a right to be heard. It’s how we use our voice that makes the difference.”

6 / PLAINFIELD MAGAZINE / MAY 2018 / PlainfieldMag.com


Dr. Sexton standing next to his Bentley.

DOCTOR CHAUFFEURS CANCER PATIENTS TO TREATMENTS IN HIS BENTLEY Writer / Matt Keating

Dr. Ron Sexton, a volunteer driver for The American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program, knows how to take cancer patients to their treatments in style. He takes them in his Bentley. “People love riding in it,” Dr. Sexton said. “I had one patient I drove for a treatment who asked to get his photo taken in the Bentley or next to it. It’s been great to see these cancer patients smile or have a laugh, especially after going through such an experience. It’s a great feeling to help them. It’s one of the many reasons I got involved.” Dr. Sexton has been driving patients to their treatments for the last four years. “I love helping people out,” he said in an interview at Barnes & Noble. “Some of the patients won’t go unless the volunteers take them. I always tell the American Cancer Society (ACS) people that if you need a driver, I will be there.” The ACS is looking for more volunteers like Dr. Sexton. The right driver and patient match can help volunteers make an impact in their community, learn new skills, and even advance their careers.

The ACS’s Road to Recovery program offers flexible scheduling and a chance to give back while literally helping to save lives, according to Ashley Noonan with The American Cancer Society. Volunteer drivers donate their time and use of their cars so patients can receive the lifesaving treatments they need. Drivers also offer encouragement and support. “I’m busy, but I always find the time,” Dr. Sexton stated. “I always tell the cancer patients I am glad to be their personal driver in the Bentley. It’s not a huge demand on your time anyway. I just get my GPS out and away I go. A lot of the patients’ families are working at the times of the treatments, and I hate for the family members to have to miss work to do that.” ACS estimates that 35,180 Indiana residents will learn they have cancer this year. Finding a way to get to their scheduled treatment can be their greatest concern. Dr. Sexton noted that most of the treatments for chemotherapy and radiation are very fast, and drivers usually don’t gave long to wait. Dr. Sexton was in his medical practice for over 40 years. During his career, he was on staff at Hendricks Regional Hospital, where he was an oral surgeon. He still serves on The Regional Hendricks Hospital Foundation. He was also voted the Philanthropist of the Year in 2016 in Hendricks County.

PlainfieldMag.com / MAY 2018 / PLAINFIELD MAGAZINE / 7


He would like Putnam County to have an ACS Road to Recovery program.

To learn more about the benefits of volunteering and how to become a Road to Recovery volunteer, call 1-800-227-2345.

“Volunteers are really needed,” Dr. Sexton said. “The best people to talk to are the ministers in churches and the Kiwanis people. They have the ability to talk to a lot of retirees, service groups and church members about helping. The people at ACS are really appreciative of everything the volunteers do.”

“I have enjoyed talking to each and every patient I have driven for their treatment appointments,” Dr. Sexton said. “I like making them chuckle or grin if I can, and bring a little bit of sunshine into their lives.”

To volunteer, you must have a valid driver’s license, a safe and reliable vehicle, and proof of automobile insurance, according to Noonan. Drivers must be 18 years of age or older, and have a good driving history. They arrange their own schedules and can commit as many or as few hours as their schedule allows. “The patients are always very appreciative,” Dr. Sexton noted. “I like it if I can get three- five days notice, but if a driver is needed, I can always change my schedule. It’s not a huge inconvenience.” Volunteering is also a great way to meet new people. It strengthens your ties to the community, exposes you to people with common interests, and provides a sense of purpose.

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Perhaps your back hurts first thing each morning, every time you play golf, or only after you lift something heavy. You’re not alone. In fact, approximately 80 percent of Americans will experience back problems at some point during their lifetime. Dr. Nathan Prahlow, physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at the Indiana University Health West Hospital Spine Center, offers these tips for alleviating back pain.    “Back pain can be caused by age, arthritis, weight gain, or poor posture,” Dr. Prahlow says. “There are many common causes of back pain, and it’s not always easy to identify the root cause.”   Here’s the good news: exercise can help. Exercise is a great way to prevent and treat back pain. Strong muscles stabilize your spine when you move and can prevent injury and pain.    What kind of exercise is most helpful? That depends on what you enjoy. If you enjoy an activity, you’re more likely to stick with it.   “If you have severe back pain or if you’re recovering from back surgery, avoid high-impact activities or activities that place stress on

the lower back,” Dr. Prahlow says. “It’s important to make sure your heart is up to the task before exercising, so remember to talk with your doctor to find a routine that will work best for you.” Stretching is also important. Just like weak muscles can lead to pain, tight muscles can place pressure on the spine and lead to injury. Your spine supports your entire body, so when stretching, be sure to target the whole body. If you aren’t sure where to start, talk with your doctor about stretches that may help.   In addition to exercise, it’s helpful to treat pain with heat or ice. But when should you use heat and when should you use ice?    “Many patients prefer heat for chronic back pain,” Dr. Prahlow says. “Ice is best for the first three days, but after that, you can use the one you like the best. Remember not to fall asleep on a heating pad, and don’t use ice directly on your skin.”    A little soreness might be common, especially if you notice it after exercising. However, if back pain continues despite rest, or if it seems to be spreading, that may indicate a more serious problem. Speak with your doctor if you notice any of these signs.

MAY 2018 / AVON/PLAINFIELD MAGAZINE


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DAWSON FAMILY DENTISTRY 1669 East Main St. Danville, IN 46122 317-745-5173 daytondawsondds.com

Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing

After graduating from Indiana University’s School of Dentistry in 2007, Dayton Dawson began practicing dentistry.In 2010 Dawson, DDS, purchased his childhood dental practice in Danville from Dr. Ted Huppert. In 2017, Holly Bradford, DMD, joined the team. Both Dr. Dawson and Dr. Bradford were longtime patients of Dr. Huppert. It felt good to buy a practice that had such a cohesive hometown feel. One of the hygienists has been there since 1978!

Such services include veneers, dentures, extractions, teeth whitening, oral cancer exams, 3D x-rays, biopsies, bonding/ white filling, dental implants, root canals, periodontal treatment, and Invisalign (an alternative to wire braces that uses transparent, incremental aligners to adjust teeth). Their state-of-the-art equipment enables them to create same-day crowns “She’s spent 40 years at this same practice, which is pretty special,” says Dawson, noting and bridges. In many practices, such procedures require two appointments, that most of the staff also worked for Dr. Huppert. That’s why it feels like family, and spaced several weeks apart. The practice also makes snoring and sleep apnea why family is so important to everyone at appliances for patients. Dawson Family Dentistry. “We have a family that has 13 children and we dedicate an entire afternoon to them

“We’ve had patients diagnosed with sleep apnea who didn’t want to use a CPAP

lymph nodes and checking the thyroid,” Dawson says. “We’ve actually found a decent number of thyroid issues by performing this exam.” Where most dental practices focus on teeth and gums, Dawson Family Dentistry looks at everything the mouth is attached to. And thank goodness they do. A few years ago, Dawson found a few lumps in the thyroid of two separate teenage girls. Their parents took them to the doctor where cancerous cells were detected. “A cavity is a cavity, but cancer can kill you,” says Dawson, noting the importance of looking for pathologies intra and extra orally during an exam. Typically, patients don’t go to their general physicians as often as they go to the dentist so this screening is especially important.

so that the mom can avoid having to make multiple trips,” Dawson says. Over time, the practice has transitioned to provide more technologically advanced treatment options. “Even though we’re a general practice, we offer a wide variety of oral health care services,” Dawson says.

machine or didn’t want to travel with the bulky device so they opted to use the practice’s sleep apnea appliance instead,” Dawson adds. Perhaps most unique, however, is the complete head and neck exam both dentists perform on their patients. “We run up and down the neck, feeling MAY 2018 / AVON/PLAINFIELD MAGAZINE

The practice accepts most insurance, which is one reason Dawson Family Dentistry was ranked Best in Hendricks County two years in a row by the “Hendricks County Flyer.” Another reason is that they are involved in the community, sponsoring the Kiwanis Club, sponsoring little league and working closely with Hope Healthcare Services. The office is open Monday-Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments can be made by visiting daytondawsondds.com. For more information, call 317-745-5173.


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Have Headaches? Migraines? Neck pain? Tension Headaches? Sinus Headaches? A 2014 report in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT) found that interventions commonly used in chiropractic care improved outcomes for the treatment of acute and chronic neck pain and increased benefit was shown in several instances where a multimodal approach to neck pain had been used. Also, a 2011 JMPT study found that chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation, improves migraine and cervicogenic headaches.

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Makala with her father, Scott Marks

hile most of her 8-year-old peers were riding bikes and jumping rope, Makala Marks was test-driving her first gokart. From the moment her hands touched the steering wheel, she felt right at home. The passion didn’t surprise her mom, Nikki, who knew from the get-go that she had a little daredevil on her hands. “She’s always loved anything fast and dangerous,” says Nikki, recalling the time that Makala was 4 years old and tried jumping her electric scooter over a six-foot snow drift. Thankfully, she landed at the top and got stuck so no bones were broken. The adrenaline junkie found her calling, however, with go-kart racing. By age 9, she was racing competitively, running in the Southern Indiana Racing Association (SIRA) where she won two championships — the first when she was just 10.

“I’ll never forget the smile on her face as she Motorsports Park. There she practices on walked around with a trophy that was bigger race simulators where she can pick the track she’s going to be racing and practice than she was,” Nikki says. a simulation on that specific track. Though the simulations are helpful, adjusting to realThen there was the race when she started life track conditions, which are constantly dead last and ended up winning. But shifting, is a true challenge. there have been lows as well. During one intense street race when Makala was 9, “I can practice on a Saturday and have her car flipped and the impact ripped off everything figured out, but Sunday if the her helmet. As a result, her face hit the pavement. That wipeout, which totaled her wind shifts slightly or the temperature is two kart, sent her to the hospital with a gash on degrees different, that changes everything,” Makala says. her forehead and two black eyes. “I was like, ‘Okay, maybe we should take a break from racing,’” Nikki says. But Makala had no intention of quitting. In fact, the following weekend, despite one eye being swollen shut, she headed to the track.

New Castle offers tough competition and a big group of racers (on any given weekend, 20-30 kids race in Makala’s class alone). Such stiff competition, however, sharpens skills.

“I told my parents I only needed one eye to race,” says Makala, who for the past two years has practiced karting at New Castle

“The medals she got from Kart Racers of America could fill up two shadow boxes,” Nikki says.

AVON/PLAINFIELD MAGAZINE / MAY 2018


Though Makala loved karting, the family couldn’t afford for her to continue the sport competitively. “With go karts, you need new tires every weekend,” Nikki says. “And some kids refresh motors after every race.” At 13, Makala traveled to Palm Beach, Florida, to attend the Lucas Oil School of Racing (she won a scholarship to attend

the school). There she was the only girl and youngest student in her class (other participants ranged from 17 to 60). Though Makala performed beautifully, it was hard for Nikki to watch the first time her 13-year-old got strapped into a racecar. “I was used to seeing her in a kart,” Nikki says. “Knowing what a full-blown racecar is capable of is a totally different story.” Makala received her Sports Car Club of

America (SCCA) novice license at 14. Last year she ran in the Yamaha Junior, which is for 12- to 15-year-olds. Makala turns 16 on May 10 so she’ll now move to the senior class. In addition, this year she’ll participate in Formula Vee with Wasserman Racing in the Challenge Cup Series, a series that involves six races — the first of which will take place this month in Canada. She’s also been invited to participate in the Brazilian Formula Vee.

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Though Makala suffered several serious setbacks following her fall —including seizures and migraines — she made a remarkable recovery and ever since has approached life full-throttle.

Often when Makala races, she’s the only female on the track. Her dominating spirit has more than once crushed the male ego. “Boys definitely don’t like getting beaten by girls,” Makala says. “Actually, the fathers usually have a bigger problem with it than their sons,” adds Nikki, though she’s quick to admit that she feels better about her daughter being out on a racetrack with skilled drivers than being on the interstate with distracted ones. Makala, for one, is laser focused. She knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go for it. It’s an attitude that has flourished since suffering a near-fatal accident when she was just 4 years old. It was a rainy September day when Makala and her cousin were goofing around, jumping on the bed near an open window. One bounce caused her to fly backward, hitting the window screen, which popped

“Racing is in my blood. It has come naturally to me from day one,” says Makala, whose dad, Scott, is a crew chief at Andretti Autosport. As a result, Makala has already attended the Indianapolis 500 many times. She’s also been fortunate enough to receive coaching tips out. In an instant, Makala fell out the from several pros, including Pippa Mann, second-story window, smacking hard on Marco Andretti, Leah Pritchett, James the deck below. Knocked unconscious, Hinchcliffe, and Alexander Rossi (who won blood trickled from her mouth from having the Indy 500 in 2016 as a rookie). bitten her tongue. She suffered no broken bones, but that was only because her head Should her dream of becoming an Indy had sustained the brunt of her fall. As a car champion not work out, she has a result, she suffered swelling on the brain backup plan. and a fractured skull. “I want to work with newborns,” Makala says. Placed on life support, doctors were not optimistic about her chance of survival. It comes as no surprise to her mom, who says After three days, the neurosurgeon her daughter has been obsessed with babies delivered devastating news. He explained ever since she was practically one herself. that due to intense swelling, they needed to drill a hole in Makala’s skull to release “When she was little, she would wander off the pressure, then insert a device to check in search of babies,” Nikki says. for brain activity. But then something miraculous occurred. Makala opened As unique as Makala is, she shares one her eyes and uttered the words, “I want a universal feeling with teens everywhere: Reese’s Cup.” she’s itching to get her driver’s license so she no longer has to ride the bus. “Ever since then, I eat a Reese’s Cup before every race,” Makala says. “It’s my good luck “I get my permit in August,” Makala says. tradition.” “I’m so excited.”

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THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA GROWS & TRANSFORMS LIVES Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing

Charles Coffelt first joined the Boy Scouts when he was in first grade. He continued through the program, earning his Eagle Scout as a sophomore. Now he’s a leader with Boy Scout Troop 308 and Cub Scout Pack 429. With sons in both programs, Coffelt is passionate about sharing the scouting life and passing along the skills and values he learned through the years. “I really believe the program helped me mature into the man I am today, and my fervent hope is that all four of my young boys will have a similar experience as they grow into men,” says Coffelt, noting that he still has lasting friendships from his Scouting years. “The program exposes young men to a

variety of experiences, from all the outdoor activities that Scouting is typically known for to STEM-related opportunities and Civic and Arts related experiences.”  

just now starting to see all they got from Boy Scouts.” Restivo has been involved with scouting for the past 16 years. Her oldest son Dominic (now 19 and in his first year at the U.S. Naval Academy) is an Eagle Scout and was involved with Scouts from first through 12th grade.  

The Boy Scouts of America, one of the nation’s largest and most prominent valuesbased youth development organizations, teaches leadership, builds character, and instills the importance of community service. “The Scouting program provides young adults the opportunity to learn practical skills in a variety of areas,” Dominic says. “It “We’re trying to give everybody a guiding also prepares them for success in a rapidly light to be a better person,” says Melanie Restivo, Special Education Secretary for changing professional world.” Plainfield Community School Corporation and Scout enthusiast. “These kids are getting Dominic hits on the mission of the Boy life lessons they may not fully appreciate Scouts of America, which is to prepare until they’re out of the program. I hear from young people to make ethical and moral boys now in college who tell me they are choices over their lifetimes. By the time

MAY 2018 / AVON/PLAINFIELD MAGAZINE


they’ve emerged from the program, they have worked with adults for years, developing skills in interpersonal communication, collaboration, and group dynamics. “They might be doing a niche project and complain that it’s stupid, but the truth is that they’re learning life skills,” Restive says. “Let’s face it — at some point in all of our lives, we’re going to work with someone we don’t like. These are tools they can take with them going forward.” The Boy Scouts provide a nice blend of education and fun. Sometimes the group uses meeting times to engage in community service projects or to earn merit badges. Other times meetings are reserved purely for enjoyment. “You’ve got to have a mix of the two because if it feels too much like a classroom, they won’t want to stay involved,” Restive says. “That goes for adults, too.” Through the years, Restivo has served in a variety of positions within Boy Scouts, including that of Scout leader. This is due, in part, to the fact that it can be difficult to recruit volunteers.

- DOMINIC RESTIVO

“Folks often hesitate to give up their weekends,” Restive says. “Others aren’t big into camping.” But those who are eager to lead do a phenomenal job. Doug Hartman, an adult leader with Troop 308, grew up in a Scouting family, advancing from Tiger Cub all the way up to Eagle Scout. “I learned and experienced so many fantastic things,” Hartman says. “Now that my son is involved in Boy Scouts, it’s neat to see him enjoying many of these same things. I think it has brought us closer together, and I love it.”

26 / AVON AVON/PLAINFIELD MAGAZINE / MAY MAGAZINE 2018 // AvonMagazine.com MAY 2018


Groups typically meet on a weekly basis. Not every boy will attend each week, however, because by middle school and high school they’re involved in other activities such as band, choir, theatre, and athletics. Restivo moved her troop meeting to Sunday nights to better accommodate schedules. “You make changes based on the needs of the current group,” Restive says. Once a month the Boy Scouts participate in different adventure trips such as hiking, caving, canoeing, rock climbing, ziplining, rappelling, paint-balling, and of course camping. “If it can be done outside, we’ve probably done it, even down to a good snowball or water gun fight,” Restivo says. The whole idea of Scouting is to expose kids to a variety of things while also helping them bond as a group. Setting up camp requires menu planning, open fire cooking, and dealing with inclement weather or equipment failure. “It’s about helping kids determine how they’re going to handle whatever life throws at them,” Restivo says. Summer camp experiences are one way they perfect this skill. There are a variety of campgrounds throughout the Hoosier state that are associated with Boy Scouts of America. One that’s located relatively close is Ransburg Scout Reservation in Bloomington. “We try to get the boys to one weeklong camp experience each summer,” Restivo says. You never know how such experiences will impact a Scout. Several years ago, Scoutmaster Brian Pace, a geologist with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, gave an Earth Day presentation to a class of first-graders. After the talk, the wife of Pace’s former Cubmaster approached Pace to ask if it was Scouts that first piqued his interest in geology. “I paused and told her I didn’t know,” Pace says. “[But Scouts] may have well been a spark that ignited my interest in geology and science.”  MAY 2018 / AVON/PLAINFIELD MAGAZINE


Boy Scouts troops go through chartered aith-based, civic, and educational organizations such as churches, rotary clubs, PTAs, fire departments, and recreation centers. Scouts then typically engage in whatever community service project their charter organization is committed to. For instance, Restivo’s Troop 308 group is affiliated with Hope United Presbyterian Church in Plainfield so the boys regularly do grounds clean-up there. Or if the church is hosting a dinner, the boys may help serve food or wash dishes. They also may rake leaves, pull weeds, or trim trees for elderly members of the church. For their Eagle Scout Projects, Restivo’s boys have revamped the church playground by spreading fresh mulch, staining and sprucing up the equipment, building picnic tables, and putting in a community toy box. Boys have also built bat boxes and benches, cleaned up trails, planted trees,

and installed flagpoles. “A lot of the work is landscaping-based. These young kids have good, strong backs and can recover faster from manual labor,” Restivo says. Restivo is continually impressed by the positive changes she sees in her students as a result of participating in Boy Scouts and advancing through the chain of command. “Basically, the way it’s set up, there’s this built-in hierarchical training system,” Restivo says. “Older boys train younger ones on tasks. Then as the younger ones advance, they instruct those below them.” Restivo loves witnessing the inevitable transformation over time. “You see them evolve through the various levels of maturity,” says Restivo, whose

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favorite thing to watch is a shy kid emerge from his shell, come into his own, and take more initiative. “I like Boy Scouts because we go hiking and camping,” says seventh-grader Avery Hartman. “It’s just a great chance for social interaction.”


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Marketing and Human Resources Director Meredith Reinker, and owner Bruce Pallman.

THROUGH THE LENS ROBERTS CAMERA CELEBRATES 60 YEARS IN BUSINESS Writer / Jon Shoulders Photographer / Brian Brosmer

Roberts Camera’s ability to thrive in the photography, lighting and electronics retail business for 60 years has involved much more than just keeping up with industry technology that seems to evolve almost daily. Meredith Reinker, marketing and human resources director, says the Indianapolisbased, family-owned company’s willingness to adapt its business model to customer habits and shopping methods has been just as important to its success as keeping up with the camera and lighting industry’s ongoing technological advancements.

“The jewelry wasn’t doing great at the time so they started to pick up additional lines – service merchandise catalogs were how people shopped back then so they basically became a catalog showroom,” Reinker says. “One of my grandfather’s employees at the time was a high schooler who was taking a photography class and told my grandfather he could sell cameras. It was good timing in the sense that film was really evolving at that point and film cameras were getting popular, and then, of course, eventually digital took us into the next era.” Since its founding, Roberts Camera has continually found effective ways to reach beyond its Indy customer base, from a thriving mail-order business through the 1970s and 1980s to a successful sales presence through its official website, which was launched back in 1997. In 2012 the Roberts staff began a buy, sell and trade sister company called UsedPhotoPro, which deals exclusively in used camera equipment primarily online.

The company, which offers a full range of new and used photography, audio, video and lighting gear and currently operates two brick-and-mortar locations in Carmel and downtown Indianapolis, was founded by Reinker’s grandfather Robert Pallman as a modest jewelry business on South Capitol Avenue in August of 1957. Almost Reinker says her father Bruce, who has immediately, Pallman began adjusting his run the company for the past 45 years, business concept to meet customer demand. has brought an open-minded approach to INDY METRO / MAY 2018 / TownePost.com

sales and customer service that has helped Roberts Camera stay in business in a time where many camera shops have closed their doors due to dwindling sales. “Over the past 10 years, the evolution has been going fast with how people shop,” Reinker says. “Retail has changed so much as it’s gone from people having to walk into a retail store to shopping online – our sales now are about 60 percent online and 40 percent retail. So again, it’s that combination of staying with the technology and then how people actually approach retail.” To commemorate 60 years of service in Indianapolis, Reinker and her 64 full-time and part-time Roberts co-employees – many of whom have been with the company for 20-plus years – held an in-store celebration in August with special deals and promotions as well as free photography classes and camera cleanings. “Twice a year we also do a spring and fall photo expo where we bring in our manufacturer representatives, and tech reps from Nikon, Canon, Panasonic and all those types of brands,” Reinker adds.


“We offer free classes all day long, which helps to promote the classes that we offer regularly. We usually have anywhere from 10 to 12 classes a month for every level of photographer from fundamentals of photography up to specialty lighting and that kind of stuff.” Reinker adds that the explosion in iPhone camera use has had a twopronged effect on her industry, phasing out less expensive, pointand-shoot cameras while at the same time increasing interest in higher-end equipment and accessories. “The iPhone has gotten a lot of people interested in photography that otherwise might not have been, especially with social media where everybody is a photographer now,” she says. “So, we have people coming in now that have been using their iPhone for a long time but want to take that next step and get better images with better equipment.” Reinker believes the company is primed for another 60 years of success as long as it remains adaptive and flexible in the face of an ever-changing marketplace. “As Indianapolis has grown we’ve received a ton of support. Indianapolis has a very strong and vibrant community of photographers,” Reinker says. “In a time where photography has changed drastically, I think our customer base and the support we get from Indiana as a whole is awesome. Indy is a great place to be.”

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SERVICE PLUS HEATING, COOLING, & PLUMBING 7520 E 88th Place Indianapolis, IN 46256 317-218-7929 ServicePlusNow.com

Writer / Seth Johnson Photographer / Ron Wise

Chris and Emily Cunningham truly value quality customer service. In fact, it’s why they started their own customer-service focused heating, cooling and plumbing company, Service Plus, in the first place. “Before we started Service Plus, we were a couple of kids, fresh out of college and at our first real jobs,” Emily says. “We owned our first home and needed to have some repairs done, and I was appalled at how incredibly hard it was for me to find a company to do the repairs, show up when they said they would, and get the work done properly. I said to Chris, ‘Honey, don't you know how to do a lot of this stuff? I think we could really make a difference in the home repairs industry.’”

Service Plus owners Chris and Emily Cunningham

they even have their 9-year-old daughter and so well that our customers become raving 12-year-old son help around the business fans,” Emily says. when possible. As for providing fulfilling careers for their “Our family is totally involved in this employees, Service Plus ensures that all its business — we love it,” Emily says. workers are adequately prepared to do their Ultimately, anyone who interacts with job with confidence. Service Plus becomes a part of the company’s family too. “We want to have the best trained and Through this realization, Service Plus was qualified employees, so our strategy is to born. Although running the company “We love the customers we serve,” Emily consistently offer technical training and was certainly a learning experience in adds. “We love the team we work with, customer service training to make sure the beginning, Chris and Emily quickly and that's what it all boils down to — the repairs are done properly the first time and picked up on the ins and outs of the home people.” that the excellent customer experience maintenance world, all the while keeping carries through from beginning to the end customer service at the heart of everything.   At the heart of Service Plus are two core of your repair,” Emily says.  values: Providing excellent service from “Once we were both working for Service the best trained and qualified technicians Having recently moved to a new location Plus full time, which was within four and staff members, and providing fulfilling just south of 96th Street on I-69, Service months of when we took our first service careers that employees joyfully embrace.  Plus will now be able to serve both its call, we were 100 percent committed and customers and employees even better. we knew it was sink or swim,” Chris says. To inquire about heating, cooling and “We were determined to make it work and When it comes to excellent service, the company has a standard they’ve set for plumbing needs, be sure to give them a be the best at what we do, and we still feel themselves. call at 317-434-2627, or visit them online that way today.” at ServicePlusNow.com. The Service Plus “We define ‘excellent service’ pretty simply: team would love to help with any heating, Now 15 years and three kids later, Service cooling and plumbing needs you may have. Plus is still proudly a family business. In fact, we do what we say we will, and we do it INDY METRO / MAY 2018 / TownePost.com


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APRIL SHOWERS REALLY DO BRING MAY FLOWERS Writer / Carrie Petty

Oh May, your glorious month. Time to get busy! If April is the time when the garden is emerging from sleep, then May is the time in the garden when she has had two full cups of coffee and ready for high gear, time to bloom! Where to begin. Let’s talk lawns first. Make sure that mower blade is sharp people, and do not ever mow when it is wet. This is the first step to preventing diseased lawns. Also, to prevent moles set out multiple traps along the moles trail. An old American Indian trick — it is said that the moles move to the surface on a warm, sunny day at high noon. You can get them with a garden spade if you have the constitution to do so. I call the hubby for that trick.

Saturday worth of mulching and gardening chores, make sure you give the old body a good stretch and warm up a bit. Your back will thank me in the morning. At the age of 54, I have settled for one of those seat thingies that you can flip over and kneel on too. It has saved my gardeners back from strain. Visit all your local gardening centers and pick up something new. I suggest every year adding a new tree or bush to the landscape and at least a couple of new perennials to the flower garden. Always, always, try new veritable varieties. So many cool ones come out each year. If you have not tried Purple Kohlrabi, then you need to.

When planting any newly purchased pot grown specimen, a good tip is to scrape off the top half inch of soil out of the pot If you did not get your crab grass and toss it in the trash, not the compost preventative down in April, do it as soon as bin! This is where the weed seeds reside. possible. And make sure you cut your lawn Taking that soil off the top of the pot will to the highest setting on the mower, this way help prevent the introduction of new weeds you are shading out weed seeds in the soil in your garden. Particularly, the hard to and will have a much healthier lawn. The eradicate Thistle-It is a monster. taller the blade, the deeper the root! Many Indiana landscapes now have Hostas Now, when it comes to general gardening peeking up through the soil, their tall green chores for the month of May, first things spikes curled into a cone format, this is the first, stretch. Before you head out for a full perfect time to divide them and make more TownePost.com / MAY 2018 / INDY METRO

plants. Place your spade two inches away from the growth and dig down deep, tip your spade back to unearth the root ball to loosen. Do this all the way around the plant base and pull the entire thing out of the ground. Then divide each green spire into a new plant, making sure you capture a good rootstock as you go. This is the easiest and cheapest way to increase the size of one’s garden. This is the very act of ‘gardening’ itself! If you do this, I give you permission to call yourself a gardener. Bravo! Dividing Daffodil bulbs is a great chore to do now, and your garden will reemerge in the spring with a fresh facelift of yellow blooms. Just dig up a clump of foliage left behind after the blooms fade, and pull apart the bulbs with your hands. Again, be sure to capture a good rootstock with each bulb if you can. If not, they will survive. Replant one-by-one in a new hole elsewhere about six inches deep. This is also a great time to use a granulated fertilizer on your Tulips and bulbs to strengthen their roots for next year’s bloom. Gardening is always about looking forward. It is the most optimistic duty. So get going my friends. And as always, I hope I have helped you “Grow a More Beautiful Life!” Cheers.


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BEFORE YOU START ANOTHER FITNESS CHALLENGE Writer / Coach Roz Harris

Weight loss and fitness challenges are exciting because they’re fun, mix things up and keep you focused on a specific goal. They increase awareness and open the doors to better health. But not all challenges are created equal, and some challenges can be counterproductive to your health goals. If you’re going to join a short-term challenge this summer, here are five types of programs to AVOID when you’re trying to lose weight. 1. AVOID CHALLENGES JUST FOCUSED ON WORKING OUT. Any approach to wellness, better health and weight management needs to include nutrition, lifestyle changes and fitness. 2. AVOID CHALLENGES THAT DON’T INCLUDE SOUND NUTRITIONAL RESOURCES. Diets are like zombies: dead but they keep coming back to life. Ditch diets and join a program that showing you HOW to eat healthy every day.

3. AVOIDS CHALLENGES NOT FOCUSED ON REVVING YOUR METABOLISM. Weight training done right and smart cardio are the 1-2 punch that ensures you’re NOT wasting your time when you exercise and actually creates the FOUNDATION for a healthy metabolism. Studies show that when you add just five pounds of lean body muscle, your body burns 200 MORE calories each day. That’s revved! 4. AVOID CHALLENGES THAT DON’T SHOW YOU HOW TO MAKE LIFESTYLE CHANGES. For example, the Free Day Concept is critical. It’s a bad idea to workout every day, and it’s a bad idea to be on some eating plan or cleanse for extended periods of time without short breaks. 5. AVOID CHALLENGES THAT LACK SOLID ACCOUNTABILITY. If you fall off, will anyone notice? Join a challenge that wants you to succeed and will provide support to make that happen.

MAY 2018 / AVON/PLAINFIELD MAGAZINE


SEARCH FOR HISTORY LOCAL COUPLE VISITS PRESIDENTIAL GRAVE SITES Writer & Photographer / Melissa Gibson

On a trip in the fall of 1991 to the New England area, Jim and Connie Sieferman found themselves enjoying a picnic lunch, complete with turkey sandwiches, Pringles chips and Diet Pepsi, within view of President Calvin Coolidge’s gravesite. Connie says the year following that vacation, she and Jim would recall the time they had “lunch with the President”, eventually shortening the reference to “Pringles with the Prez” with fondness. A project was born for the couple, now married for 38 years.

They began planning little trips to see a Presidential gravesite or a detour from vacation plans to add to their scrapbook. On July 19, 2017 (also Jim’s 70th birthday) the journey was complete — 38 presidential grave sites over the course of 26 years, and a photo of Connie biting into a Pringles chip at each one. The pair ( Jim being a natural history buff and veteran) would research the president prior to the trip and add in their own special twist along the way. “It was really difficult in some places to smuggle in a potato chip,” Connie says. AVON/PLAINFIELD MAGAZINE / MAY 2018

“Arlington was probably the hardest because they stand guard there.” Still others, like Grover Cleveland’s site is barley marked. “It was interesting to see how they all held the same office yet chose such different things for themselves,” Connie says. “Nowadays they have presidential libraries and often choose to be buried there.” The president’s former and post-presidency lives were also educational for the couple. “They had personal lives, were human and were real people,” Connie says. “Truman


was a hat maker, Jimmy Carter a peanut farmer. That part of their lives was very interesting too.” The trips come with a unique experience and story to tell about each site. The couple was in the crowd at Gerald Ford’s funeral and burial. They agree Ronald Reagan’s gravesite is their favorite due to the picturesque landscape and learned of a “less romanticized” version of Abraham Lincoln’s life in Springfield, IL. They’ve been across the United States, sometimes stopping by five or six sites in one trip. “If you’re interested, you’ll find a way,” Jim says. “I don’t know that there’s as much emphasis on (history education) anymore. In the early 80’s I was flipping through a Social Studies book and there were just a couple of paragraphs on Kennedy.” “That was a huge touchstone in my life,” Jim says. Hopefully, their journey will inspire others to learn more of their American history. “Our kids go on vacation to Disney World and we love Disney too, but perhaps they should be going to Washington D.C. as well,” Connie says. “We make light of our Pringles game but we do take the time to recognize what these men gave to our country and it always gives us pause,” Connie says. MAY 2018 / AVON/PLAINFIELD MAGAZINE


JAMIE TURNER HONORS SON’S LEGACY BY ALTRUISTICALLY DONATING A KIDNEY

Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing

When Jamie Turner saw her OBGYN on a Wednesday, she listened to her son’s heartbeat. Two days later, however, she stopped feeling movement. “Nobody can explain the heartbreak of delivering a stillborn,” Turner says. “You walk into the hospital pregnant but walk out with a box and a blanket.” Up until Dawson’s tragic death in 2010, Turner, a pharmaceutical sales rep, lived a charmed life. A collegiate softball star, she was a good student who never really had a run of bad luck. When Dawson died, her first instinct was to bellow to the universe, “Why me?”

After some time, however, it dawned on her, “Why not me?” “What makes any one person more special to be immune to tragedy?” she thought. The day she buried Dawson, Turner stood frozen in the aisle of Walmart, staring mindlessly into space in a grief-soaked haze. Suddenly, a woman shoved Turner’s cart out of the way and shot her a steely glare for blocking the aisle. It took every ounce of strength for Turner not to collapse on the floor in a puddle of tears. “I wanted to say, ‘Do you even realize what I did today? How can you be so uncaring?’” recalls Turner, who, in that instant, recognized how deeply AVON/PLAINFIELD MAGAZINE / MAY 2018

narcissistic, narrow-minded and impatient some people can be. “We honk in irritation at a traffic signal if the person in front of us doesn’t move the second the light turns green. We roll our eyes when a waitress gets our order wrong.” Right then and there, Turner vowed to make compassion a priority in her life. Turner went on to have a third child, Kennedy (prior to Dawson, she had Keegan). When Keegan was 6 and Kennedy was 3, Turner was still searching for a way to honor her son’s memory. “I was compelled to find a way to let his legacy live on, but I didn’t know how,” Turner says.


One night while lying in bed, she asked God to give her a sign — something that would clearly tell her what she was supposed to do. Three days later, she spotted a billboard with a picture of a girl on it who was the spitting image of her niece. Turner did a double-take and saw that the plea was for a new kidney for this little girl. When Turner got home, she researched the girl’s plight and found that the name of this girl’s doctor was Turner. Chills shot up Turner’s spine. In addition, the girl’s mother had donated her kidney (which sadly her daughter’s body rejected), and she did so on December 10 — Turner’s birthday. More chills. “You know how you always ask God for a sign but then when you get it, you’re like, ‘Well, I didn’t mean to go to that extreme,’” says Turner with a chuckle. “I was like, ‘Seriously? Organ donation is what you want me to do?” Instinctively, Turner picked up the phone, called the number on the billboard, and began answering a litany of screening questions. Two weeks later, she received a call from the National Kidney Registry. They had additional health questions. A week later, she went in for blood work, and after an extensive psychological evaluation, she was cleared to be an altruistic organ donor. Altruistic donation is when the donor gets nothing in return. Because Turner is an altruistic donor, should she ever have an issue with her remaining kidney, she would jump to the top of the recipient list.

Registry put a $1-million-dollar policy on her. “In the big picture, if I died on the table, I didn’t look at it as me leaving my daughters. I’d just be joining my son. It was a no-lose situation for me.”

“I want you to know that you not only changed my life but my grandchildren’s lives as well,” Howard wrote. “You’ve given me the gift of time that I never would have had with them were it not for your generosity.”

Though Turner came through the surgery just fine, she did develop a serious infection soon thereafter and had to spend 28 days in the hospital. Recovery required a fecal transplant.

Turner recites the quote, “You’ll never experience true joy until you give something to somebody who cannot repay you.”

“I joke that I donated a kidney to save someone’s life and someone else donated their poop to save mine,” Turner says. Going into the operation, Turner had no idea who the recipient of her kidney would be, and that’s what she preferred. “I didn’t want to pick my donor, nor did I want to know their backstory,” Turner says. Four months after the surgery, Turner’s recipient, Howard, sent her a heartfelt thank-you card. Since then, he sends a letter ever three to six months to fill her in on how he’s doing. He writes how grateful he is to have been able to walk his daughter down the aisle and to be able to go fly fishing with his grandkids.

Turner started off a six-person chain of donation. The chain has to start with someone who doesn’t need one in return. Then it’s like a blind lottery match for who gets what kidney, based on compatibility. The morning Turner went in for the surgery (in June 2013), a calming peacefulness washed over her. “There was no second-guessing or worry. I knew my family was taken care of,” says Turner, noting that the National Kidney MAY 2018 / AVON/PLAINFIELD MAGAZINE

“The truth is that my kidney wasn’t a gift from me to Howard. It was a gift from me to God,” Turner says. And though she’s forbidden from playing contact football, rugby, or ice hockey, for the most part, Turner has no restrictions in living her life. Above all, she’s happy. “When my feet hit the floor every day, I try to make a difference in someone’s life, even if it’s just in some small way,” Turner says. “Maybe I help a little old lady lift a case of Coke into her car. Maybe I pay for the person in line behind me at Starbucks. It’s about finding good meaning in your life.” Mostly Turner relishes knowing that she did something good in this world. Her act of love demonstrated true compassion. No doubt Dawson is beaming with pride.


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LOCAL COUPLE BUILDS CUSTOM-MADE WOODEN CREATIONS Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing

Throughout their marriage, whenever Melissa Edwards was out shopping with her husband, Chris and pointed out something made of wood that she liked, he would respond, “Oh, I can make that!” He could…and he did. “He’s made a lot of our furniture,” Melissa says. “And he’s taught me so now I make things, too. We both like to work with our hands. I’d like to think I’m just as handy as he is with the tools.” When the couple was brainstorming how they could pull in supplemental income, a light bulb went off in their heads, and in November 2016, they launched their family business, Wood 2 Wow.

The pair, who both work full-time (he’s an equipment tech for IU hospitals and she’s an oral surgery technician), wanted their side gig to be something they could do together so they wouldn’t have to spend more time apart. So they work out of their garage. Chris often builds the pieces and Melissa applies paint or polyurethane to them. At any given time, the Edwards’ usually have a half a dozen orders to fill, each of which typically takes 4-6 weeks to complete. Roughly 80 percent of their orders are custom-made. “People will often send us a picture and say, ‘Can you make something similar for me?’” Melissa says.

right now with three children to run around. If the couple does have free time, however, they make their own creations and sell them online or at craft and hobby shows. For instance, last Christmas Melissa made vintage sleds as holiday décor that was a big hit. “I pre-made 20-25 of them and they sold immediately,” says Melissa, whose favorite part of the business is interacting with members of the Avon community. “Every day I get messages from people telling me that they love our craftsmanship and will definitely come back to us for future projects,” Melissa says. “Those words are motivating and keep us going when we get tired.”

In the future, Melissa hopes to open a shop in town. Schedules are just a bit too harried The couple has produced all sorts of MAY 2018 / AVON/PLAINFIELD MAGAZINE


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different projects — everything from clocks to coffee tables, serving trays to signs, office desks to doggie beds. They’ve made fishing pole holders and Harley Davidson helmet holders. You name it, they make it. For example, a customer asked the Edwards if they could make a decorative storage spot for her cat’s litter box. Tired of the eyesore, she wanted a cabinet that would contain the litterbox and designed in such a way that her felines could covertly enter and exit.

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“We make a lot of items that you wouldn’t find in a store,” says Melissa, referencing the time a woman contacted her to share that her family had a decades-old walnut tree that had stood in their backyard ever since her daughter was very young. Her tire swing hung from this tree. Her playhouse was made from this tree. A lot of sentimental value and memories were tied into this giant walnut tree. Sadly, it died and had to be cut down. The mother wanted to make a gift out of the tree’s wood. She had two long pieces of wood, which Melissa and Chris put through a planer to square up. They then fashioned floating shelves out of the boards. “When the customer picked them up, she teared up. And when her daughter received the gift, she cried, too,” Melissa says. “Those are my favorite kinds of projects because they have special meaning for the families.”

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Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing Photographer / Chris Jones, IMS PHOTO

100th anniversary of the Indy 500, and Bruce Crandall was named honorary starter. Crandall, who flew more than 900 missions as a helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War, had received the Medal of Honor — the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government.

For the past decade, Tom Hansing has been a starter for the Indianapolis 500. This means that on race day, he shows the flag colors from race control, which dictate what happens on the track. When Hansing enters the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on race “When he left the flag stand, he shook day, he’s always overwhelmed with emotion. my hand and clasped in his hand was the commemorative coin that all Medal of Honor “The morning of my very first 500, driving recipients receive,” Hansing says. “Everyone in underneath the tunnel on the north end, the grandstand was on their feet cheering. He between turns 3 and 4, and coming out and stopped and saluted. It was a ‘wow’ moment.” seeing the Pagoda, I remember thinking, ‘Is this for real? Am I really here?’” Hansing During practices, Hansing carefully studies says. “It’s goosebumps on goosebumps, and the cars’ colors because it’s hard to tell who’s through the years that’s never changed.” coming out of the fourth turn since they’re The electric atmosphere of race day could be described as the excitement of Christmas morning wrapped into the adrenaline rush of skydiving. “Right there along the front straightaway, when you’ve got all 33 cars coming at you for the very first time—that’s amazing,” Hansing says. Then there’s the energy that builds during pre-race activities. Hansing vividly recalls the 2011 race. It was the

so far down the track. Starters rely not just on the cars’ colors but also the computer that’s in the flag stand, which has a map of the racetrack and shows the car numbers as they’re moving around the track. A diamond indicates the leader.

Occasionally, starters help with set-up of timing and scoring. In the past, Hansing has also assisted with tech inspection, which includes looking at ride height and wing angle and also making sure the mirrors are MAY 2018 / AVON/PLAINFIELD MAGAZINE

within a certain parameter. “Dashboard and continuator lights are checked as well as other nuances,” Hansing says. “You have to do like 200 different things in 10 minutes or less.” Hansing was first introduced to the world of racing in 1999 when he met the midget starter for the United States Auto Club (USAC) while refereeing for Special Olympics basketball. Hansing started going to races, getting in with a pit pass and doing gofer work. He later got licensed. One of the first races Hansing worked was a Silver Crown Series race at the Indiana State Fairgrounds—a mile dirt track. With 32 seconds between laps, that’s just enough time to get distracted and forget to switch flags. So he’s always practiced keeping the flag he’s going to use in his hand. “Even when I’m waving the white flag for the last lap, I’ve always got that yellow flag in case there’s a wreck,” Hansing says. Though he has never forgotten to switch flags, he once dropped one at a USAC race in Richmond, Virginia.


“I hit the flag on the flag stand just right and it came out of my hand and floated to the racetrack as we went yellow,” Hansing says. “That was embarrassing, and the crowd gave me a hard time, which I deserved.” The most shocking memory, however, occurred in December 2013 at an indoor race when Hansing was taken out of the flag stand on a stretcher. Racer Nick Hamilton and another car made contact and Hamilton’s vehicle hit the wall. The car lifted and its front right wheel hit the bottom of the flag stand, causing the scaffolding to collapse. Hansing went airborne and came crashing down on his left side rib cage on top of the metal support bar of the flag stand. “People hollered at me to lay still,” Hansing says. From there it was all a blur as paramedics rushed to put him in a neck brace and position him on the stretcher. Miraculously, nothing was broken or

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punctured. Hansing thanked God for sparing him serious injury. Though he was raised Catholic, Hansing fell away from his faith during high school. In college, however, he met a beautiful woman named Rica at a country club dance. Though she initially declined his request to dance, three weeks later, she accepted his marriage proposal. That was 22 years ago. The couple began attending Our Shephard Lutheran Church and School in Avon when Rica was pregnant with their first child. The church’s marriage retreat, men’s retreat, and other functions helped Hansing reconnect with Christ. “Rica and I were fortunate to have people who walked alongside us and made us feel welcome,” says Hansing, who started volunteering with the church’s Little Rams program, which he now heads up. Little Rams offers soccer and basketball programs for preschoolers through fourth grade.

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Hansing loves mentoring the children and seeing their confidence blossom. He also helps coach the school’s basketball team and maintains the soccer fields and cross-country course. In addition, Hansing helps teach Bible and confirmation classes. Every opportunity to serve has helped his faith grow. This season, Hansing will be the starter for USAC and the Pirelli World Challenge, a new sports car series. He also splits the starter duties at Kokomo Speedway. For the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC), eight classifications will run throughout the season. (Not every classification will run on the same race weekend.) While Indycar events are a prescribed number of laps, PWC races range from 40 to 60 minutes. The PWC schedule contains 10 race weekends from March to September, with an 8-hour endurance race (part of the Intercontinental GT Challenge), which takes place in October. “It’s such a rush,” says Hansing of working in the racing industry. One of the biggest perks of the job is getting the chance to visit different cities. The flip side of travel, however, means time away from his family. Plus, since this isn’t Hansing’s full-time job (he works at Republic Airline as manager of CrewPay Systems), he has to use a big chunk of his vacation time to attend races. Prior to having kids, the couple made race weekends into extended getaways. For instance, when there was a race in Syracuse, New York, and another race the following weekend in South Boston, Virginia, they visited Washington, DC, in between the two. Now Hansing is more intentional about carving out time to do special things with each of his children. That might be catching a showing of Mary Poppins with his daughter Emma (13) or taking his son Robert (9) go-karting. Or sometimes he spends his free time at the track. Hansing has ridden with an Indycar driver for the two-seater experience at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “We got up to 190 mph,” Hansing says. “That was enough to catch my attention.” He also did the single seater experience where he drove an Indycar around the track three times with a pace car leading the way. “To realize that my bottom was less than 12 inches off the ground was crazy,” Hansing says. But as you might expect, he loved every minute of it. AVON/PLAINFIELD MAGAZINE / MAY 2018


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Thanks to a $25,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation, students from all four of Plainfield’s elementary schools will benefit from an outdoor classroom known as the Learning Garden. The Learning Garden will feature modular, raised beds that include seating and shade. Students will plant and tend the garden, then harvest and even eat the fruits and vegetables that it produces during its three planting seasons each year. The space will be part of The Imagination Lab, which is located at Clarks Creek Elementary. The grant will cover everything needed to physically create the garden, along with planting kits and an extensive curriculum for elementary students. “Through the generosity of our friends at Duke Energy, and the Duke Energy Foundation, we’ve been able to take our dreams for The Imagination Lab to even higher levels,” says Scott Olinger, superintendent of Plainfield Schools. “Our vision for the ways students learn and experience life will now extend to the outdoors, and we think that is a wonderful gift.”

The Imagination Lab, which opens to students in August, was created to provide both the time and space where learning grows from out-of-the-ordinary, collaborative experiences, with a focus on persistence instead of perfection. Elementary students will visit The Imagination Lab every three weeks, completing work that connects to their classroom curriculum. Learning Gardens are the product of Big Green, a non-profit that believes in a future where every child has the opportunity to play, learn and grow in healthy communities. There are now hundreds of Learning Gardens in schools throughout the country. The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to address the needs of the communities where its customers live and work. The foundation provides more than $30 million annually in charitable gifts. The foundation’s education focus spans kindergarten to career, particularly science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), early childhood literacy and workforce development. It also supports the environment and community impact initiatives, including arts and culture.

PlainfieldMag.com / MAY 2018 / PLAINFIELD MAGAZINE / 49


PLAINFIELD SENIOR WINS FIRST-EVER GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP FOR PLAINFIELD Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing . Photographer / Jennifer Benge

What started out as joy rides on the golf cart around the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course with her grandfather when she was 3 years old quickly evolved into a full-blown passion for Kayla Benge, Plainfield High’s first-ever state golf champion. Benge, 18, got her first set of golf clubs at age 5 and by age 7 had won a Drive, Chip, and Putt Competition for junior players. Winning only fueled her fire to practice. “I loved the toughness of the sport,” says Benge, who thrives on competition—especially against herself. “I can never be good enough in my own mind. I love working and driving for certain goals.” Her father, Curt, the high school girls golf coach, has mentored her throughout her childhood.

“It was tough having my dad as a coach but also extremely helpful because he knows my game as well as I do,” Kayla says. “It was like having a caddy at certain points because I could talk him through my shots and he could help me decide the right decision to be made at that point.” Kayla, who will graduate this spring and play on Xavier University’s golf team next year, finds the mental aspect of golf to be the most challenging part of the game. “You have to be your own best friend out on the course. You can’t get down on yourself or it’ll reflect in your score,” says Kayla, who worked with a sports psychologist to learn tips on improving her mental game. “My wife and I decided the sports psychologist was a good idea because Kayla can apply these stress management tips not only to golf but to anything in her life,” Curt says.

50 / PLAINFIELD MAGAZINE / MAY 2018 / PlainfieldMag.com


Kayla finished in the IHSAA Top 20 all four years of high school. She entered her senior year, however, with heightened confidence. “I felt like my game was in a great place,” says Kayla, who shot four under in sectionals and three under in regionals. She had a solid first day at the state tournament, shooting one under 71, one shot off the lead. The second day, conditions were tougher with strong winds. The girls in the lead struggled, but Kayla remained composed. After she had bogeyed holes 16 and 17, she approached the 18th hole, a par 5. Kayla hit a decent tee shot and then a really good second shot. She was 100 yards out and her father said to her, “How many times have we done this late at night? Where we joke around—hey, this next putt is for the state championship?” Now this shot really was for the state championship. When Kayla sunk that final shot to win by one, her proud father and devoted coach hugged his daughter and told her, “It’s not about the ring, the medal, the trophy, or any of that. You’re a state champion for the rest of your life! Nobody can take that away from you.”

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Taking Aim Plainfield High School Student is an Archery Expert Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing Photographer / Mark Thompson

Mackenzie Hessong was 10 years old when her dad bought her a $50 bow from the sporting goods store and taught her about archery. Over time, she grew to love the sport and begged her dad for a more high-quality bow. Finally, he acquiesced and purchased his daughter a $400 Hoyt Ruckus. “We’d take her to the park with this little target we had and let her shoot against the woods,” says her mom Becky. “We noticed she had some real talent.” Mackenzie joined 4H at age 12, which enabled her to practice archery on a regular basis. Soon thereafter she began signing up for local competitions. “The top 10 advance and compete at the Hendricks County Fair, shooting two rounds using 10 arrows,” Mackenzie says. There are three first-place age groups — elementary, middle, and high school. Each first-place level competes against each other. Whoever wins that round is crowned grand champion. Mackenzie won grand champion at age 15. Those who have never tried archery may not recognize the level of concentration it takes to do it well. “People think it’s easy to just stand on a line, look downrange, and shoot, but you have to focus,” Mackenzie says. “Your feet have to be right. Your hips have to be right. Your hand placement has to be right. The way you hold your bow. The way you release it. The way you put your string against your face. Everything about it has to be perfect.” It’s unlike other sports where there’s room for error. For instance, in basketball, if you miss a shot, the game goes on. Not so in archery where if you miss one X, you’re out of the competition. “If I don’t put my hand on my bow right or if my release goes off too fast, I can shoot a zero,” Mackenzie says. “It’s stressful and intense. That’s why you have to have drive, determination, and patience.” Once Mackenzie started to advance in competitions, she asked for birthday and Christmas money so she could purchase a $1,700 Hoyt Podium (with all the bells and whistles, it costs $3,500). Mackenzie, 17 and a senior in August, joined a team called Pine Hill Prodigies in


2016. They play at Pine Hill Archery Club in Danville. “That’s been huge for her,” Becky says. “That’s where she’s gotten her college scholarships.” So far, she’s received three scholarships from the same couple of schools. Though several schools are pursuing Mackenzie, currently the front-runner is Union College in southern Kentucky. “It’s a small school and I’m a small-town girl,” Mackenzie says. “Plus, the coach seems like a great guy.” Every year, Mackenzie participates in state and national shoots. This year she also participated in The Vegas Shoot, the largest and most prestigious indoor archery tournament in the world where more than 3,500 people compete in multiple divisions — from little kids all the way up to pros and seniors.

For instance, this year in Vegas. 10 of the top pros didn’t make it into the final shootdown.

At The Vegas Shoot, Mackenzie shot against girls from Argentina, Australia, Switzerland, and Finland. Though she shot her all-time best score on day one, she shot her average the following day.

“Everyone is going to have bad days, bad tournaments,” Mackenzie says. “You just have to take the attitude that you learn something from every shoot or competition.”

“She was 35th out of 103 on Friday, then dropped down to 46th,” Becky says. That still put her in the top half of kids her age all around the world, which is pretty remarkable, but Mackenzie was disappointed. It’s in these instances when she has to remind herself to get outside of her own head.

And she has. Last year for her 16th birthday, her parents presented her with a target that was signed by a bunch of pros that read, “See you in Vegas!” In February when she went to The Vegas Shoot, she attended an event called “Shoot with the Pros” where pro shooters give tips to the up-and-coming generation of shooters.

“People think it’s easy to just stand on a line, look downrange, and shoot, but you have to focus.” “You have to have a good mental game because if you make one bad shot and get down on yourself, the game is over,” she says.

Mackenzie received a pep talk from a pro after shooting her average and not being happy with her performance.

But even the best of the best have off days.

“I was upset and a pro came over and told 54 / PLAINFIELD MAGAZINE / MAY 2018 / PlainfieldMag.com

me to give myself a break,” Mackenzie says. “He said, ‘You know you can shoot well so just trust in your shot, trust in yourself.’ In a lot of other sports, pros aren’t so willing to help out, but in archery, they’re super kind because they want to keep growing this sport.” During competition season, Mackenzie practices roughly 6-8 hour per week. Just prior to a competition, she practices twice a day. Not surprisingly, such repetition sometimes results in injuries — especially given that her bow weighs 10 pounds. “That may not seem like much, but when you’re holding it out in front of you, it’s quite a bit,” says Mackenzie, who started with a draw weight of 20 pounds but has now worked her way up to 50, which is more than most girls her age shoot. When she was 15 years old, Mackenzie’s arm started tingling. Diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome, her shoulder bone and arm bone were pinching her major nerve and artery, limiting blood flow. Therefore, whenever she raised her arm to shoot, it went numb. Ultimately, her doctor recommended ice, physical therapy, and rest for a month. When she returned to the sport, she was instructed to only shoot five arrows a day the first week, 10 arrows


a day the second week, and 15 arrows a day for the third week. Now she stretches prior to shooting, especially since she still experiences tendonitis in her shoulder (the same injury that plagues volleyball and tennis players). Between juggling schoolwork, archery, and college visits, Mackenzie doesn’t have much free time. “I don’t remember the last time I hung out with friends. Well, maybe I do,” she says with a chuckle as she recounts the story of when she and some friends went to Nancy’s Broken Arrow, a 3D Bow Course in Quincy, Ind. It was pouring down rain and Mackenzie was walking down the steps from a tree stand when she started to slip. Instead of reaching out her arms to break her fall, her first instinct was to throw her arm up in the air to save her bow.

about saving my bow,” Mackenzie says. A big country music fan, Mackenzie enjoys participating in the choir at Plainfield High School and attending Chapel Rock Christian Church. Though Mackenzie once dreamed of becoming a minister, her vision has shifted in recent years and now she’s considering a career in law enforcement.

“Everybody thought it was so funny that I wasn’t worried about myself. I only cared

“With everything happening in the world, I want to make a change,” says Mackenzie,

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whose father Scott is a police officer with IMPD. Mackenzie has a younger brother Noah (13) who is huge into travel baseball, basketball, and football. As for Mackenzie, she’s played volleyball in middle school, but archery is clearly her calling. “I love it,” she says. “It may take up my life and all my money, but archery is my favorite thing in the world.”


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Plainfield Magazine May 2018  

Talk to anyone in Plainfield that knows Andrea Hilton and their face will light up with a smile at the mention of her name. Andrea Hilton i...

Plainfield Magazine May 2018  

Talk to anyone in Plainfield that knows Andrea Hilton and their face will light up with a smile at the mention of her name. Andrea Hilton i...