In celebration of Older Americans Month, we are recognizing the contributions made by older adults in our communities. We are sharing the nominations submitted for the LifeStream Golden Hoosier Award, which recognizes outstanding volunteerism by older adults. Stay tuned for an announcement on the winners of this award in the coming weeks.
If one were to look up the word “Volunteer” in a dictionary, it is very likely that a picture of Linda Morris would be included. Linda has never been accused of “letting grass grow under her feet.”
Linda lives in a small farming community in Randolph County, where she taught school for 33 years before retiring in 2006. On their rural farm, she can be found working alongside her husband, Fred, helping with planting and harvesting corn and soybeans. She is in charge of feeding the herd of cats and the rooster, Hotrod, that someone dropped off. In her spare time, she can be found making a significant difference in her community. She seldom says, “no.”
One cause close to her heart is the Historic Farmland USA Community Center. Linda has been a member of the board since 2018 and is now the president. She oversees the daily operations of the center, as well as the recent remodeling of the historic building’s storage area. Dedicated to enhancing the center for the community, and always up for a challenge, Linda took on grant writing to help the center continue providing activities and entertainment to the citizens of Randolph County.
In 2015, Linda and five of her friends established a senior center with programs for senior citizens including a meal site and organized exercise classes. Unfortunately, the original founding group faded away, but with renewed passion, Linda got another group of like-minded ladies together in the fall of 2019 to re-establish the only senior center in Randolph County. Main Street Senior Center was established with a formal name, by-laws, board of directors, and even a post office box. The Senior Center is allowed full usage of the Community Center during the day hours when it would otherwise not be in use. Linda has been instrumental in making the contacts necessary to apply for 501c(3) status, establish bank accounts, and provide programs and activities. Due to COVID-19, all activities at the Community Center were put on hold, which includes the senior center activities. However, Linda never stopped thinking of the Senior Center. For that period of time, she continued to plan activities and programs to begin just as soon as it is deemed safe. Bingo, card parties, exercise, and needle crafts are just a few of the events she has orchestrated to begin again in the spring of 2021.
Since her official retirement from teaching in 2006, she has continued educating students with free tutoring for county students in need. Linda has a set schedule for when she assists with math tutoring with the State IRTA Call and Learn program during the pandemic. In addition, she has been writing math questions for state academic teams for years. Her passion for education continues as she volunteers for;
Randolph County Retired Teachers Association- 2011 to current
- organization is credited for assisting charitable endeavors in the county. Food drives, school supplies, nursing home assistance, and book assistance (take one, leave one)
Indiana Retired Teachers Foundation
- Active member 2013
- Board Vice President 2014
- Board President 2015-2020
- Organization responsible for awarding scholarships to college education majors, grants to active classroom teachers and grants to struggling retired teachers. Linda was on the three-person committee which created the state’s “A Hand UP” program for retired teachers facing short-term financial problems. She also helped begin the IRTF Endowment Fund to support these programs.
Indiana Retired Teachers Association
- 2019 to current the Area 6 Director (oversees the Retired Teachers Associations in nine counties) and IRTA board member.
- Serves on the committee and a Co-Chairperson for the IRTA Members Concerns/Necrology Committee
Besides education, Linda says her passion is helping seniors in Randolph County. Her volunteering includes:
LifeStream Services Advisory Council – 2016- current
*The council meets quarterly to discuss issues affecting seniors in East Central Indiana, and how we can work together to develop resources to meet those needs.
- AngelWish Volunteer since 2016 delivering holiday gifts to isolated and alone seniors all over Randolph County. Linda also assist with bagging of holiday packages prior to delivery. Linda reaches out to individuals in her community to make sure no one that is isolated/alone is forgotten during the holidays.
- Volunteering with the Aging Well Conference and with many programs LifeStream Services provides. With her involvement at LifeStream Linda has brought nutrition, wellness, education, and activities to the seniors of Randolph County. During the pandemic, Linda and a group of her friends has coordinated curbside and commodity food distribution in her community, which continues today.
Previous Awards include:
- Indiana Academy’s John E Worthen Outstanding contribution to Education Award, 2011.
- Indiana Academic Competitions “Above and Beyond Award”, 2018.
The LifeStream Golden Hoosier Award is Sponsored By: