We sat down with Charlestown Township Trustee Tom Kendrick to ask him a few questions about the work that goes on in his office, and what he loves about Charlestown. Thanks Tom, for taking the time to thoughtfully answer these questions. What are some of the changes you’ve put in place since taking office in 2015?
The biggest change is that we are serving the community 24/7, our office hours are Monday – Saturday. Our emergency numbers (mine and Ruthie’s cell phone numbers) are posted on our window, or we can be sent a Facebook message. We have focused on getting our contact info and services out to the community, we want everyone to know how to reach us. Our focus is on being accessible to the public and to better accomplish this we have added a great website, that has community resource links such as food banks, schools, Community Action or legal services. The website has all the information needed for a person to be ready to come to our office, an application can be printed online, and what documents are needed to apply for assistance. We have a list of landlords in the area, both government and private, to better serve the community. Our Charlestown Township Trustee Facebook page has taken off to be a great community resource, for jobs and community happenings, we have had jobs reach 1000’s of views.
Another big change is our office building, the previous location was very old and had numerous structural problems. It was not a conducive place to have the community come in, the lighting was poor, it leaked and had leaked so long that we had a mold issue. Upstairs was an apartment that needed major renovation and couldn’t be used for anything other than an apartment. We looked at using that space as part of what we do in the trustees office, but it just wasn’t practical. The upstairs had previously had a water leak and caused some of the downstairs ceiling to collapse. After we looked all the factors, i.e. repair and building suitability, I started looking for a place to move the office to. The present location is perfect for serving the community, the office area is small but suitable for clients and enough room for our board meetings. I’m proud of our Trustee’s office and anyone that comes in, I invite them for a tour. If you were to design a perfect Trustee’s office – this building is it! We have a secure fireproof records room for our confidential client files, a second office allows for 2 work spaces or confidential meetings. The building has an old storage closet that we were able to convert to a records room, all the old trustee records are sorted and stored here. I like to tell people that the best feature of our new building is the garage in the back – its able to serve the community in ways that I envisioned a Trustee office should. We have ample work space, right now for example we are handing out the banners to the 2018 graduates here. We allow community groups to use that space for temporary storage and a work space, some examples of that are the Lions Club Fruit sales, the NCOC/Kiwanis coat giveaway and pallets of food for the food banks. We also try to keep some furniture etc. for people that need some in an emergency. I’m proud of this community asset!
We have produced and distributed Community resource magnets, that with community support can be picked up at many locations around town. These magnets have listed all the trustee office info and community resources such as the food banks, diaper project and a clothes closet – All in 1 place for easy reference. Our office is a member of the ITA (Indiana Trustee Association) and we attend the annual training conferences – our office is now certified in all levels by the ITA. We are involved with the community not just with your normal assistance areas but by providing wheelchair ramps when needed. We maintain a small foodbank in the trustee office for emergencies. Offer Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover” Books to anyone in the community and donated “Ultimate Scholarship Book” to High School and the Charlestown public Library.
What are some of your favorite things about Charlestown?
I like the small town feel of our community, and contrary to everything going on, this community still rallies around our community needs.
I sometimes tell people I’m like the John Mellencamp song, “I was born in small town, probably die in a small town.”
Just going to a Friday night football game and taking a quarter to get to your seat for talking to people. When the call goes out for food, diapers, the elf tree or the backpacks we have great community response. I enjoy being involved in community events!
You are a busy guy and juggling a number of things at once takes a lot of time and energy. What motivates you both personally and professionally?
I’ve always been motivated to go in a number of directions. I was a teacher, coach, live on a farm and run a small business. Now I have replaced teaching and coaching with being the trustee. I have a busy mind that’s always turning on some idea. Fortunately, I have been able to surround myself with good people to help me with following through on those ideas. I feel that I’m very good at time management and prioritizing. In whatever I’m doing I have a great deal of pride and competitiveness, I want to be the best Trustee just like I wanted to be the best coach. Personally, being the best family man, I can be, has always been my top priority. Sometimes you get up early or work late to make that ball game or competition! I was raised to work hard and provide for your family.
Ruthie is amazing, you are lucky to have her! Tell us a little about how she helps keep the wheels turning in your office.
Yes, she is, and the community is lucky to have her! When I decided to run for trustee I looked at how best to accomplish my goal of making the office serve the community. I knew that Ruthie was doing an amazing amount of community service. I knew that she had been honored as Clark County Women of the year previously, for her community service so I ask her if I get elected will you help me. She is so good with people and finding the services that each person or family needs. Our office sees people at their greatest time of need, somethings with multiple areas of need, she is very good at getting them the services that can best help them. When people come up to the office and need, food, work shoes or a bed she makes that happen. She has helped people with food stamps, housing, social security, resumes, job applications! She is very willing to help someone on a weekend if need be, with her number on our window she gets calls at all hours and is always willing to help!
Where are things headed? Any goals for the next term?
My first goal when I took office was to make the office more accessible and getting our information out to the community. The website, magnets and Facebook page have all helped accomplish this. My future goals are helping to coordinate community service projects, I give a scholarship now recognizing a senior for doing Community service. When I took office, I saw a tremendous need to help people find jobs our Facebook page has accomplished that, now the next step is to work on a transportation issue that many people in the community have.
Visit the Charlestown Township Trustee Website here and be sure to follow their Facebook page for great local information on a daily basis.
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