Gamma Phi chapter hears from grant applicants


By Katherine Stahl

For The Tribune

The Seymour Gamma Phi chapter of Tri Kappa met at the home of Marla Sciarra on Tuesday.

The evening began with presentations from speakers sharing information on behalf of the Seymour Museum Center and Special Olympics Indiana Jackson County.

Members of the board of the Seymour Museum Center, Bob Kamman and Ruth Ann Rebber, shared information about the work at the museum, including an effort to refurbish the portraits of Seymour founder Meedy Shields and his wife, Eliza.

The group has been working hard to raise money to renovate its downtown museum building while keeping it true to its history so the community can experience the carefully preserved history of Seymour that grew from its birth as the Shields’ Mule Crossing in 1852.

The need for continued funding for renovations is significant, but the museum will feature exhibits about the railroad, as Meedy and Eliza Shields knew the intersection of the north-south and east-west railways would be crucial to the growth and success of the community. A telephone exhibit and other rotating exhibits also are planned for the facility.

Zach Spicer of Special Olympics Indiana Jackson County also gave a presentation about the group’s work, which includes training and competitions in Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. In addition to providing opportunities to participate in athletics, the participants also benefit from the social aspect of the programs, which are free for the participants.

Later this month, 24 track and field athletes will compete in a local meet at Salem High School in order to qualify for the Summer Games in Terre Haute. Summer Games costs the group about $4,000 to pay for transportation, food, lodging and other expenses, and similar events take place for other sports throughout the year.

Needless to say, year-round fundraising is essential to keep the programs going, and the athletes enjoy giving back to the community through volunteering in programs like United Way’s Day of Caring, he said.

A short business meeting followed the speakers’ presentations, including discussion of recipients for this year’s Tri Kappa grants, the winner of this year’s scholarship (to be announced at the June meeting), filling the openings for committee chairs and the initiation of new members to take place in June.

The birth of Jerilyn Mellencamp’s daughter, Merritt Grace, born April 23, was announced, and the sisters look forward to meeting the group’s next legacy. Several sisters shared plans to drop off snacks, meals and other gifts to support the new mom.

After the meeting adjourned, the women enjoyed learning how to make the perfect cocktails for all of their upcoming summer gatherings led by trained bartender Lisa Vincent.

The final meeting of the Tri Kappa year will be a pitch-in dinner in June, and the members will be celebrating yet another year of supporting charity, culture and education in the community.

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