Carrying a torch for Indiana

The Jackson County Visitor Center is looking for local residents to play an important role in Indiana’s 200th birthday next year.

Besides celebrating the state’s bicentennial, it’s also Brownstown and Jackson County’s 200th birthday.

One event being planned is the Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay which will be conducted similar to Olympic-style torch relays, going from one area to another.

For three hours, from 9 a.m. to noon, Sept. 15, 2016, the torch will come through Jackson County on its journey through all 92 Hoosier counties.

“It’s coming from Lawrence County and will start out in Brownstown at the courthouse where we will have a celebration event, and then it will come to Seymour,” said Arann Banks, director of the visitor center. “We are planning on bringing it to Seymour High School’s front lawn and having an event there too so we can get the kids involved.”

The torch then will travel through Freeman Field, back to Brownstown and through the Medora Covered Bridge on it’s way to Washington County, Banks said.

“It’s a big deal, and we want to make it something people will remember,” she said.

In all, the torch will travel more than 2,300 miles in a period of five and a half weeks. The relay will begin Sept. 9 in Corydon and end at the statehouse in Indianapolis on Oct. 15.

The state is in need of people from each county to help carry the torch, with the idea being to honor Hoosiers who demonstrate exceptional public service to the community; achievement and excellence in their profession; acts of heroism or exceptional volunteer service and leadership to their neighborhood, community, region or state.

More than 1,800 torchbearers will be selected to carry the torch in their counties, either by running or walking, by bicycle, automobile or any other method that is safe, secure and representative of Indiana culture and heritage, including by train, tractor, boat or racecar.

Banks estimates Jackson County will need about 25 local people to help carry the torch here.

In order to be considered for the honor, people must be nominated by someone else.

Nominees must be a current or former resident of Jackson County and can be of any age, youth to senior citizens. They must be physically able to carry the torch a minimum of a quarter mile on their own or with the assistance of another person or mounting bracket.

People may be nominated posthumously, and a substitute torchbearer can be submitted to carry the torch on behalf of the nominee.

The state is coordinating with Hoosier celebrities to get them to “come home” to their counties to be torchbearers, Banks said.

In Jackson County, that would include musician John Mellencamp, Miss America 2009 Katie Stam and former Indiana governor Edgar Whitcomb, she added.

Torchbearers will be selected from the nominations by a local committee in February and approved by the state in April. Those selected will be announced in June.

At a glance

To nominate a current or former Jackson County resident to carry the torch in the Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay in 2016, visit www.indiana2016.org/torchrelay/nomination-forms/ to download a copy of the form.

Completed forms may be emailed to Arann Banks at arann@jacksoncountyin.com or mailed to the Jackson County Visitor Center at 100 N. Broadway St., Seymour IN 47274.

The deadline for nominations is Dec. 31.

If you go

What: Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay

Where: Jackson County, starting in Brownstown, coming to Seymour and going back through Brownstown and to Medora on its way to Washington County.

When: 9 a.m. to noon, Sept. 15, 2016.

Why: To inspire and unify Hoosiers as one of the major commemorative events of the 2016 Bicentennial celebration. Hoosiers will pass the torch connecting generations to ignite our future.

For more information: Visit www.indiana2016.org or email INTorchRelay@gmail.com.

Author photo
January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.