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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Mental Health America to honor people helping people

Monday, April 30, 2012

Five Greencastle football senior leaders for 2012, T.J. Bollman, Hunter Smith, Carter Lewis, Caleb Robinson and Nick Gilliam, will be among the 13 GHS players discussing their trip to help tornado victims at Tuesday's Mental Health America annual meeting at the Putnam County Museum.
Approaching its 2012 annual meeting, the board of Mental Health America of Putnam County wanted to highlight something positive in the community.

MHAPC Executive Director Eileen Johnson noted that the organization's programming is often centered on mental illness and substance abuse, and they wanted to take a different turn for the Tuesday, May 1 meeting.

"We thought, wouldn't it be nice to have something uplifting -- 'people helping people'?" Johnson said.

On that note, Tuesday's program will be given by some of the most helpful young people in Putnam County, as 13 Greencastle High School football players present a slide show and discussion about their experiences helping tornado survivors in southern Indiana.

Head coach Josh Buis, assistant coach Brad Wood and parent Doug Gilliam took the players to Clark County in early March to help with the relief efforts following the tornado outbreak that devastated the area.

The "Greencastle 13" consists of Nick Gilliam, Carter Lewis, Hunter Smith, Mac Shuee, Caleb Robinson, T.J. Bollman, Dustin Williams, Jordan Froderman, Tyler Scott, Tanner Wood, Evan Coble, Grant Mundy and Johnny Newgent.

"Coach Buis tells us he doesn't just want us to be good football players -- we wants us to be good fathers and good men," Smith said.

There was no hesitation from Buis. When he heard about the devastation in the Henryville area, he wanted his players to help.

"Coach is a guy who puts everyone else first," Gilliam said. "He told us if we wanted to put a group of guys together, he'd be more than willing to take us."

"The first thing Coach Buis thought of was this was an event where we could become young men," Robinson added.

The players have said what a jarring event it was to be driving along on a nice day and then suddenly enter what looked to be a war zone.

"We were talking about what little damage we saw -- until we got there," Bollman said. "The bus just went silent."

What the players found was the change was almost as sudden for those who experienced the tornado. They spent the day helping a woman who lost her family farm in a matter of minutes.

"The craziest thing is just coming out of the cellar and finding that everything was gone," Lewis said.

In the spirit of helping others, MHAPC will also be presenting its annual awards on Tuesday. Both the Person of the Year and Educator of the Year prizes will be bestowed, carrying on the idea of people helping people.

Tuesday's event, slated for 6:30 p.m. at the Putnam County Museum, serves as the kickoff for MHAPC's observation of May as Mental Health Month.

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