Indiana in need of torch bearers

GREENFIELD — Of the estimated 6.5 million Hoosiers, only about 1,900 will have the unique opportunity to be a torch bearer in a relay celebrating Indiana’s 200th birthday next year.

In Hancock County, 20 will be selected to help pass the torch around the community when it makes its stop in Hancock County next year for the state’s bicentennial celebration.

Organizers of the county’s celebration say they’ve received a few nominations for torch bearers but are looking for more, and the Dec. 31 deadline to nominate someone in Hancock County is quickly approaching.

Bicentennial celebrations will begin early next year, but the torch relay designed to unify the state’s 92 counties won’t start until September. During a five-week time period, a torch will travel 2,300 miles through every county. It’s second-to-last stop is Hancock County on Oct. 14.

Local bicentennial organizers say past or present Hancock County residents of all walks of life may be nominated. If more than 20 people are nominated, the local bicentennial will select the torch bearers.

Residents who have shown exceptional public service to their community, have excelled in their profession, performed an act of heroism or are an exceptional volunteer or leader are the type of people who should be honored by carrying the torch, according to organizers.

It could be a sheriff’s deputy, a teacher, the server at your favorite restaurant or a local farmer, said Brigette Jones, one of the local coordinators.

“If you think of someone you admire, maybe someone who has contributed a lot to Hancock County, they would be someone I would suggest be a torch bearer,” she said.

People of all ages can be torch bearers; the only requirements are they must be able to carry the torch a quarter of a mile.

The nomination form can be downloaded at in.gov/ibc/torchrelay.

Being a torch bearer will be quite the honor, Jones said, because the relay will be the first of its kind in Indiana.

“Every hundred years we have a big celebration,” she said. “This is something that will be unique. It will not come again in our lifetime.”

The torch’s exact route through Hancock County has not yet been decided, but it will travel through all parts of the county, likely stopping in Fortville, New Palestine, Cumberland and Greenfield. The relay in Hancock County will end at the 4-H fairgrounds, where a birthday party is planned.

Coordinator Shelley Swift encouraged residents to nominate anyone they believe deserves to be recognized for their commitment to Hancock County.

“It can be anybody,” she said. “Think of someone who has impacted you, and nominate them.”

How do I nominate someone?

To nominate a county resident — past or present — to be a torch bearer for the bicentennial torch relay, download the nomination form at in.gov/ibc/torchrelay.

Once complete, nominations should be emailed to info@hcvb.org or mailed to the Hancock County Visitors Bureau, 122 W Main St., Greenfield, IN 46140.

They can also be dropped of at the visitors bureau.

The deadline is Dec. 31.

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.