After 33 years as a teacher, many would choose to relax and take it easy, not Parker City’s Linda Morris. Since retiring from teaching in 2006, Morris has kept busy by volunteering her time and talents to help improve her community for fellow residents. In recognition of all of her efforts, she has been named as a recipient of the Golden Hoosier Award.
The Golden Hoosier Award was established to recognize outstanding older Hoosiers for service to their communities. The award often acknowledges unsung heroes who have represented a lifetime of dedication, ingenuity, perseverance, and compassion to positively impact the lives of others while building up their communities. This award is sponsored by the Office of Indiana Lieutenant Governor in collaboration with the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s Division of Aging, in partnership with AARP Indiana to acknowledge seniors that serve other Hoosiers and dedicate their lives to bettering the community in which they live.
Since 2008, more than 260 Hoosiers have been recognized for their community service with this prestigious award. It is not just awarded for a single act, but rather a devotion to improving their communities all over the state in a variety of ways.
In a virtual ceremony on September 15, Morris, and 19 other Hoosiers were named 2021 Golden Hoosier Award Winners by the 52nd Lt. Governor of Indiana Suzanne Crouch. “So many of our strong nonprofits rely on the generosity of volunteers, and we are fortunate to have great senior citizens who answer the call to give their time, lend a hand and make considerable contributions to their communities. These humble leaders make positive impacts on the lives of others and improve the overall well-being of our state. Thank you for your service and answering the call to give back,” said Crouch. Each Golden Hoosier Award winner received a certificate, a lapel pin, a program, and complimentary tickets to the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center in Indianapolis, home to the Indiana Historical Society.
The actual award is handmade from Zimmerman Art Glass, the second oldest family run studio glass factory in the United States, in Indiana’s original capital city of Corydon. The awards will be mailed to the recipients in the next few weeks.
This is not the first award Morris has received for her volunteer work. She received the “Above and Beyond” award from Indiana Academic Competitions in 2018, and also received the Indiana Academy’s John E. Worthen Outstanding Contribution to Education Award in 2011.
Morris is the current secretary of the Randolph County Retired Teachers Association. She has also been very involved with the Indiana Retired Teachers Foundation serving as the Board Vice President in 2014, and as the Board President from 2015 through 2020. This organization is responsible for awarding scholarships to college students majoring in education, as well as grants for active classroom teachers and struggling retired teachers. Morris was on a three person committee that created the state’s “A Hand Up” program to assist retired teachers facing short-term financial difficulties. She also helped to create the IRTF Endowment Fund to support these programs.
Morris is also a Board Member of the Indiana Retired Teachers Association, and the Area 6 Director for the organization. As such, she oversees Retired Teachers Associations in nine counties. She is also the 2021- 2022 Co-Chairperson for the IRTA Member Concerns/ Necrology Committee.
Education is not her only passion. Perhaps the cause closest to her heart is the Historic Farmland USA Community Center. She has been a Board Member since 2018, and is currently the Board President. A past chairperson for the Farmland Christmas Walk, Morris is now overseeing the activities and remodeling for the Center. She has also taken charge of writing Grants to help fund the activities at the center.
In 2015, Morris and five of her friends established a senior center at the site, the only senior center in Randolph County. This center offers programs for seniors including organized exercise classes, meal sites, card parties, live music, craft afternoons, bingo, seminars, and all sorts of other activities. Morris has also been known to offer free math tutoring for local junior high and high school students.
Morris has been an active member of Lifestream Services Advisory Council since 2016. Through her involvement with Lifestream, she has been involved with the Angel Wish, and the Aging Well Conferences. Through Lifestream, she has helped to bring nutrition, wellness, education and activities to the seniors of Randolph County. In fact, her involvement with Lifestream may have led to the Golden Hoosier Award, as she was nominated for the honor by Jenny Hamilton, President and CEO of Lifestream.
“I’m thrilled to be receiving this honor,” said Hamilton. “Farmland is a great community, and Randolph County is a wonderful place,” she added. “I just want to get the word out to people about what we have to offer here,” she said of the Historic Farmland USA Community Center. On Tuesday, September 28, at 1:30 PM the Main Street Senior Center will host an hour long “Heart Healthy” Seminar with Pauletta Hummel, a board-certified family nurse practitioner with several years of extensive cardiac experience. Hummel leads the cardiology outreach clinic at Ascension St. Vincent Randolph Hospital. Hummel will speak on heart issues for seniors and refreshments will be served.
Then on October 2, Historic Farmland USA will present its 20th Annual Chili Cook-Off and Pie Auction on Henry Street in Farmland next to the Community Building in Farmland. Registration begins at 8:00 AM. Judging will begin at 11:00 AM and the event will open to the public at 11:30 AM. Awards will be announced at 1:00 PM, and the Pie Auction will begin at 1:15 PM.
Although she may officially be “retired” Linda Morris is working as hard as ever. She is doing her best to improve her community for those around her, and anyone who stops by the Historic Farmland USA Community Center across the street from the Chocolate Moose in downtown Farmland.