The good citizen award is given to one student each from Cloverdale, Greencastle, North Putnam and South Putnam high schools. One student from that group is then chosen as the overall Putnam County DAR Good Citizen. There was also an award given to a man born in Putnam County who has worked to preserve local history.
The 2010 Good Citizens are Cassandra Lyons from Cloverdale, Tess Handy from Greencastle, Megan Robinson from North Putnam and Jacob Gould from South Putnam. Jacob Gould was the overall Putnam County Good Citizen. Malcolm Romine was given an award for his books on Indiana history.
"This is really an honor, because it shows that my school respects and appreciates what I and all four of these candidates do," Gould said. "We were all equally as good and I don't know how I won but I'm thankful for it. It's a really big honor, coming from both the community and the school."
Romine, who retired in 1988, has since focused on horticulture and writing historical books. Bingham said that Romine is related to both the Clodfelter and Carrington families. He has written books focusing on the descendents of Solomon Clodfelter, a history of Portland Mills and other historical Indiana subjects.
"A couple of years ago we decided that while we are always pleased to honor young people who are writing wonderful essays about our history and our responsibility to preserve it, we decided that we should honor some people from another generation who have done things to preserve our local history," Bingham said.
Romine served in the Air Force for four years, including in the Korean War. He then worked at Eli Lilly for 30 years. He currently resides in Brownsburg.
The students were selected for making positive contributions to their homes, churches and communities and having a variety of interests. Qualities such as dependability, honesty, cooperation, self control, initiative and being a leader were also factors.
"So, kids, you have obviously done something right if your faculty has selected you," said Jinsie Bingham, the DAR state media relations chairman.
The candidates also had to demonstrate patriotism and write an essay about "Our American heritage and our responsibility to preserve it."
"I don't think that my generation truly values what it means to be a good citizen and I think it's great that we still acknowledge these traits that everyone should have and appreciate," said Handy. "It's very nice that people recognize that you do put work into things and respect you for that."
Handy's essay touched on people not giving proper respect to veterans during a Fourth of July parade. Each winner read his or her essays aloud during the award ceremony.
Gould, the overall good citizen, will go on to Indianapolis to compete with county winners from all over the state of Indiana.
Bingham said that the recommendations the DAR received for this group of teenagers was noteworthy.
"The Washburn Chapter has been in the good citizen business for many years," Bingham said. " This year, I think I have never seen so many absolutely glow in the dark recommendations from outside sources."
Bingham said that she was glad she didn't have to be a part of the body that named the county good citizen, meaning that it was a difficult choice between the four. She said that an outside group with a set of criteria to follow makes the decision for who takes the county award. She said that the essay is one of the focal points of that decision.