What’s something good that happened to you in 2022?
Posing that question to local residents resulted in a variety of answers, including becoming a U.S. citizen, retiring, getting engaged, becoming a grandparent, adopting a dog, landing a new job, winning an award, witnessing a child be baptized and seeing growth in their church.
Adrianne Hernandez of Seymour said her husband, Elvis Hernandez, passed a test in July and became a U.S. citizen in September.
A native of the Dominican Republic, Elvis came to the United States in 2006 and played baseball in Johnson City, Tennessee. The following year, he played in Davenport, Iowa, and then Palm Beach, Florida, and Springfield, Missouri.
In the spring of 2010, he moved to Indiana.
“He had planned on doing all the immigration stuff in 2020, but COVID delayed his plans,” Adrianne said of her husband.
Elvis spent the last couple of years studying U.S. history.
“He says he wanted to live in the U.S. the right way. He said if he was going to live here, he wanted to do it the right way,” Adrianne said. “My whole family is so proud of him. It was a lengthy process and required commitment. He has always done well when setting a goal.”
Beth White of Seymour recently retired as director of the Jackson County Drug and Alcohol Court Services Program after 28 years.
“I supervised clients that were referred to the program from the courts, completed drug/alcohol assessments and referred them to appropriate services,” she said. “I loved giving people the info and tools to help them better their lives. It was challenging but very rewarding. Of course, the credit for their changes belongs all to them and God.”
In making the decision to retire, White said she felt it was just time.
“I plan to spend more time with family and friends, deep clean and clean out my house, travel a little more and have fun with Kayla (her daughter),” she said.
For Vickie Persinger of Brownstown, her daughter, Madison Criminger, becoming a mother and her son, Jonah Persinger, becoming a doctor were highlights of 2022.
Madison having her first child made Vickie and her husband, Matt Persinger, grandparents, and Jonah finishing medical school gave him the M.D. initials after his name.
“Proud parents,” Vickie said.
Jasmine Mills of Brownstown became engaged to Duncan Sluder in 2022, so that was among her good news.
“My soulmate, my twin flame, my other half proposed to me,” she said. “It was at a special place that is very dear to us and our journey as a couple, Lost River Hostel in West Baden Springs. The walkway up to the lagoon was lined with candles. The leaves had already started falling. Originally, this was supposed to be a Halloween-themed party that I planned for him for his birthday, but he switched it up on me and got down on a knee.”
Mills said she met, fell in love with and got engaged to the most wonderful human all in the span of a year.
“Truly, I think I’m the luckiest girl in the world to call him mine,” she said. “Mr. and Mrs. Sluder coming 2023.”
Barbara Henderson said she’s thankful for family and friends and also for finding a job working with people with disabilities.
“They have been a blessing to me, and they have made me a better person. I’m also blessed to work for the Shepherd family and getting such great coworkers,” she said. “What more could a person ask for? Many blessings to come in 2023.”
Ruth Ann Rebber of Seymour said the Seymour Museum Center was blessed with American Rescue Plan funding from the city in 2022. That will be used to complete renovations on the first and second floors.
“Watch us grow,” she said.
Seymour resident Shawna Arthur said one good thing to come out of 2022 was adopting a dog from Community Animal Rescue Effort Inc. in Columbus. She adopted Flash in April, and he’s now 11 months old.
“He has been the best gift that came from a shelter,” she said. “I never saw myself as a black Lab kinda girl, but then I got one and he’s the best boy and the best dog I could wish for. … He’s a little bit crazy and a little bit sweet.”
Meg Mullins of Seymour said one of her most precious highlights for 2022 was her daughter, Emme, choosing to be baptized on Easter by Emmanuel Church’s campus pastor, Andy Schroeder.
“Family and friends were there to witness it and celebrate, as well,” she said.
In other church-related news, Rachel Roll of Seymour said the church she attends, Lighthouse Tabernacle in Crothersville, finally started to rebuild in 2022 after a fire destroyed the building in the summer of 2018.
“The foundation and concrete is now poured. Hoping to get the steel up very soon,” she said. “We are all so excited about what God is doing and is going to do in 2023.”
Angel Armstrong, pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church in Seymour, said her church was “blessed beyond measure” in 2022.
“Not only keeping the doors open but also reassuring us that God still has plans for the church. God is so good,” she said, adding a thank-you to the Seymour City Council for awarding the church with ARP funding.
Richard Prather, pastor of Christ Covenant Church in Seymour, said a lot of good things happened to his church in 2022, too.
“We at Christ Covenant Church saw multitudes being born from above, many delivered from demonic possession/torments, many healed,” he said. “We had Pastor Greg Locke come to town and ministered and will be back in April.”
Melanie O’Neal, who attends Seymour Christian Church, said her church hosting a special needs prom, Night to Shine, in a drive-thru format was one of her highlights of 2022. She noted this year’s prom, set for Feb. 10, will be an in-person event.
2022 was an award-winning year for several Jackson County residents.
Forrest Willey of Cortland was among the winners in the Indiana Agriculture photo contest. His photo, “Lover’s Quarrel,” was chosen one of the two winners in the Conservation category. It features a male summer tanager squawking at a female in a tree.
Natasha Miller said being named the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professional of the Year was a highlight. The award’s winner must show outstanding citizenship and involvement in the community, be a high-performing individual in their field of work, a member of Jackson County Young Professionals and be 40 years of age or younger.
Missy Casner of Seymour received the Ambassador Award from Protech in 2022. The award is presented to individuals who have demonstrated a strong commitment to Fonteva or Protech’s technology and services. She started with the American Camp Association in 2008, the same year it implemented Protech software.
Also last year, Casner became a full-time clinical assistant professor of computer and information technology at the Purdue Polytechnic Institute Columbus campus after serving as a part-time adjunct professor since the beginning of 2000.
“I had a great year transforming my career,” she said.
In other career news, Nichole Pelts of Brownstown said one of her 2022 highlights was graduating from massage school.
Other good news coming from 2022 was shared by Kathy Douglass, who helped bring Wreaths Across America to Seymour for the first time, and Maryellen Steward, who got to meet Billy the Cumberland Lake goat during lots of great camping with very good friends.