Letter to the Editor

Chalk Art Bash organizer says 'thanks'

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

To the Editor:

On Sept. 20, the Putnam County Convention & Visitor Bureau held its second annual Sidewalk Chalk Art Bash on the downtown square.

Pre-planning, diligent volunteers and generous donations are what made this event a huge success, and it would not have been possible without the financial and volunteer support from within the county.

This was a huge undertaking by the Putnam County Convention & Visitor Bureau, but we are pleased with how it turned out. Over $3,500 was raised this year for families in need. Thank-you to the Putnam County Convention & Visitor Bureau board members for their belief in this event, and for the many hours that they all spent volunteering in anticipation of the chalk art bash.

We started out early in the year planning this event, and again, a big congratulations to Sharon Eiteljorge for the prizes she secured in making this bash a huge success. Participants were from Greencastle, Coatesville, Bloomington, Roachdale, Cloverdale, Poland, Bainbridge, Stilesville, Fillmore and Danville.

All monies raised were donated to a local charity called Return-A-Gift. The Return-A-Gift organization was founded in 1990 by restaurant owner Julie Burns to help families in Putnam County at Christmastime. Along with Jack Dalton, Frank Hutcheson and Harry Moore, the idea spread rapidly through the community and resulted in contributions of food, toys and clothing. As a result, the first Return-A-Gift Christmas party was scheduled at a local restaurant.

By 1993, the Christmas party has outgrown the restaurant and was relocated to the Putnam County 4-H Fairgrounds. In 1994, 500 guests were seated and fed by more than 100 volunteers. The organization works through local counselors from the high schools in order to find families who might need help during holiday times.

All canned goods were donated to the local Senior Center Food Bank in order to carry out their mission and help out local families in times of need. Over five boxes of canned goods were donated on behalf of the Sidewalk Chalk Art Bash.

Thank-you to the Putnam County CVB board members David Jackman, Barbara Lane, Dick Wells, Judy Wilson, Rick Patel, Eric Hayman, David Collier, Don Gedert, Mike Murphy, Donna Houser, Larry Pickens and Sharon Eiteljorge, assistant director.

A heartfelt thank-you to our corporate sponsors Bright Futures, Donna Byrd from McDonald's, Nucor Steel, International Automotive Components, Marvin Peters of Duke Energy, JKL Concrete, First National Bank, Jim Guilliam and Thomas Miller of Autumn Glen, Rod Lasley of North Salem State Bank and Old National Bank and the Walden Inn & Conference Center of the delicious treats they provided, as well as gift certificates.

A huge thank-you to our volunteers Kay Gedert, Phyllis Evans, Jack Dalton, Shirley Dalton, Frank Hutcheson, Kaye Huber, Gaylene Layton, David Jackman, Judy Wilson, Katarina King, GPD Officer Albert Epple, Nora Stark, Linda Freeman, Darcy Hendershot, Wanda Bitzer and Bill Eiteljorge.

A special thank-you to the local businesses around the square, anonymous donors and all prize donors, the Greencastle City Council, Mr. Phillips from the Greencastle Street Department, Greencastle City Police, GPD Chief of Police Tom Sutherlin, Greencastle Fire Department, Darcy Hendershot from GPD, Karen Ambler of Ambler Hill Florist, Tim Trigg of Obsidian Graphics, Kim Brattain from Wal-Mart Super Store and Sparky.

Thank-you to all participants, young and young at heart. Without you, this would not have been a success.

Looking back, I realize not everything will be perfect with such a large event. However, I hope everyone had fun, and I look forward to 2009 and would like to say thank-you to everyone involved.

If I have missed anyone, I apologize. Thanks again. See you next year.

Karla Lawless

Executive Director

Putnam County Convention & Visitor Bureau