Brownstown/Ewing Main Street eyes the future after closing out ’19



Any review of the events and activities this past year in Brownstown would have to include the high school volleyball team’s march to the school’s first state title in a team sport in the fall.

The Class 3A trophy the team brought home from Muncie in November was the result of a lot of things, including talented players and their hard work.

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There’s a whole lot more that goes into a state title quest, including coaches and all of the other support staff down to the bus driver, coach Jennifer Shade said while addressing the annual meeting of Brownstown/Ewing Main Street on Thursday night at W.R. Ewing.

“I just feel like when you surround yourself with good people, good things happen,” she said

Shade said there were many other factors behind the team’s state title run, including the athletes having pride in the school and family involvement.

“It makes them work hard and earn the right to wear a Brownstown Central jersey,” she said.

The support of the community also was key to the team’s success, Shade said.

She said Brownstown fans support their athletes in ways no other community does.

“We all accomplish this together,” Shade said.

Brownstown/Ewing Main Street also accomplished a lot this past year/ which is something President Luke Nolting addressed.

“This past year was full of exciting events, opportunities, fundraisers, and we would like to thank each of you here tonight for those accomplishments,” he said. “There are many exciting things happening in our community/ and most of you out there are responsible for that.

“Everyone in this room has done something within this past year or has gone out of their way to make Brownstown a better place to live, raise a family and work, and for that, we are truly grateful.”

Nolting talked briefly about Main Street’s activities in 2019, including the annual golf outing, the legislative breakfast, a series of five concerts, the annual Halloween costume parade, Hometown Christmas and a new soup social fundraiser.

The organization recently received a grant from the Community Foundation of Jackson County. The money will be used expand the program that has banners hanging from streetlight poles throughout downtown, Nolting said.

A second grant that came from the Jackson County Visitor Center is still in the works, he said.

“Obviously, we have big goals and big dreams in the future,” he said.

But the small events, such as the Easter egg hunt and storefront decorating contests, get families involved in a community, Nolting said.

He thanked the other nine members of the board for their efforts this past year.

“I know everyone’s schedule is full, yet they continue to make time for Brownstown to make it a better community and a better place,” Nolting said.

For the first time in the organization’s history, special awards were presented.

“This year, we picked three people we really feel made a difference in our community,” Nolting said.

The award winners were Dr. Eric Parker, Mason and Tawnya Fleetwood and Deb Schwartz.

Parker, who runs Parker Dental LLC, was named Professional of the Year, while the Fleetwoods, who own Blonde’s Pizzeria and Pub, received the Business of the Year award, and Schwartz was named Outstanding Educator of the Year.

Nolting said it’s eye-opening to watch Parker lead his team of employees, serve his patients and give back to his community all centered around one thing — Christ.

“Eric continues to strive to find new technology, techniques and treatments to bring back to Brownstown to better serve his clients and community,” Nolting said.

For the past few years, he also has been raising money for Team World Vision by sponsoring children and running a marathon, Nolting said.

Parker said more than anything, he feels blessed to have the opportunities he has had.

Nolting said the Fleetwoods represent everything you could want in a local business.

“Although they could win the award based upon their barbecue chicken pizza alone, it is their generosity and compassion that truly make them such special people,” he said. “Our community has been stricken with tragedy numerous times over the past year, and Mason and Tawnya have held fundraisers at their restaurant, donating 100% of the proceeds to the families.

“Small businesses like Blondie’s stand for everything our community is about, and we hope this award gives you a glimpse of how much we appreciate you as a member and as friends.”

Mason Fleetwood said he and his wife consider themselves fortunate to be able to own a business in Brownstown.

“We are truly blessed to have a business right here on the corner of Main Street,” Mason said.

He said the couple have been offered opportunities to go other towns while maintaining their business in Brownstown.

“We’re just going to stay right here and take care of the ones right here in town,” he said. “We love helping people. I’m glad people do think we have big hearts because we do work hard to try to help people.”

Schwartz has been a life skills teacher at Brownstown Central High School for nearly two decades.

“She has been quoted that it is her goal every day to make her students feel special, and there is no questioning the impact over the years that she has had on lives,” Nolting said.

He said this past year, Schwartz and her husband, Dan, made a decision to adopt a teen, Dylan Bridges, who was going through a rough patch and contemplating running away from home.

“Now, he is not only thriving at home but in the classroom, as well, and there is absolutely no doubt the impact that Mrs. Schwartz has had on this young man’s life,” Nolting said.

He said the community is blessed to have leaders like her in the community.

Schwartz said she was very humbled by the recognition.

“I know most of you here in this room, and my husband and I have lived in this community for 33 years, and we love it and call it home,” she said.

Schwartz said she plans to retire in a few years, and she intends to give back to the community that supported her kids, her husband and herself.

“I have all sorts of ideas and things planned,” she said.

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Members of the 2020 Brownstown Ewing Main Street board are Luke Nolting (president); Conner Barnette (vice chairman), Fayeann Hurley (secretary), Chad VanLiew (treasurer), Heather VonDielingen, Ashley MacTavish, Jake Brown, Kyle McCrary, Mitchell McIntyre and Arann Banks. Those board members were reelected during the organization’s annual meeting Thursday night at W.R. Ewing.

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