Chamber director stepping down

NEW PALESTINE — Standing in front of a crowd gathered during the most recent New Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce meeting, Caralee Griffith tired to maintain her composure but couldn’t stop the tears.

After more than six years of working for the Chamber, Griffith, the executive director of the business organization, is stepping down at the end of the month.

Griffith has resigned to take a job at Woodland Terrace, the new senior living center, where she has been hired to be activity director. Griffith starts her new job Sept. 6.

Griffith will continue to work for the Chamber through Thursday. She plans to spend the next few weeks helping with the annual golf tournament and training her replacement.

During her time at the chamber, Griffith has been the face of the local business organization responsible for putting together many, if not all of the group’s events, including the most recent Independence Day Celebration, Chamber Fest.

“We closed (U.S.) 52 when everyone said we couldn’t do that,” Griffith said with a laugh.

It’s one of the many accomplishments she said she’s proud to have worked on at the Chamber, she said.

She’s very proud of what she and Chamber officials have been able to accomplish through the years.

In addition to her work at the Chamber, Griffith often worked with New Palestine Main Street and officials from the New Palestine History Museum to help pull off events around town.

“I loved it when all the organizations worked together,” Griffith said. “That’s not just here in New Palestine but across the county.”

Becky Gaines, president of the organization, announced Griffith’s resignation during the Aug. 9 breakfast meeting.

Gary Haliburton, former chamber president, said it was a blessing having Griffith work for the organization. They will move quickly to hire her replacement and plan on interviewing prospective replacements as soon as possible, he said.

Cole Stites, executive director of Woodland Terrace, told the crowd Griffith would still have an active role in the community working at the senior center.

The Chamber’s loss is Woodland Terrace’s gain, Stites said.

“I think you all would agree it probably doesn’t get any better than Caralee,” Stites said.

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Kristy Deer is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3262 or kdeer@greenfieldreporter.com.