Our latest community profile is Treva Hodges of Charlestown, Indiana.
Tell us a little about your professional, educational background?
After exploring career options in veterinary medicine and banking as a young adult I returned to school and received my Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from the University of Alabama where I competed on the nationally recognized speech and debate team. I stayed on at the University of Alabama to earn my Master of Arts in Communication Studies with a focus on public address and transitioned into a coaching role for the speech team. I have taught at a variety of colleges and universities and I am currently working to complete my PhD in Humanities with a concentration in Public History and Women and Gender Studies from the University of Louisville. My dissertation explores the traumatic narrative of Cynthia Ann Parker, an Anglo woman who was kidnapped and raised among the Comanche for 24 years before being brought back into Anglo society.
Where are you from, what brings you here?
I was born in Alabama but lived in several states as a child due to my dad’s position as a nuclear power plant start-up-engineer. I came to Charlestown in 2013 with my partner, Ed Byers. Our move, for both of us, was a sort of homecoming. Initially we were motivated to make the move so that we could help care for Ed’s mom, Dorothy, who left us last year at the age of 99 in the full grace and dignity with which she lived her life. Ed (CHS class of 1974) has enjoyed reconnecting with friends and I finally feel as though I know what the word “home” means. Charlestown is a special place, unlike anywhere I’ve lived before. I guess you can say that it was love that brought me here, but it’s love that keeps me here, too.
What are your hobbies and interests?
I am definitely a lover of outdoor adventure. When I’m not locked behind a cave of books in my office working on my dissertation, planning lessons for my students at the University of Louisville, or pounding the keyboard in the interest of civic engagement, I’m outside. Whether sitting on the porch waving at passing traffic, tossing a ball for my pups in the backyard, running a trail at nearby Charlestown State Park, or hunting in whatever season happens to be legal, I am happiest when I’m in green spaces. I am a lover of all things historical, but especially those that have wheels, horsepower, and the purr of dual turbo exhaust. I get my fix for those things riding motorcycles with Ed or strolling through the local car shows.
Share a few photos with us that tell us who Treva is.
Charlestown’s online community is growing. You are a big part of that, with your TalkingPoli.com blog, and participation in local online groups. You regularly post meeting minutes and audio from the City of Charlestown, and a lot of people consider you a local political “watchdog.” This takes a considerable amount of time and effort – why is this important to you, and to the residents of Charlestown?
I believe that Charlestown suffers from the effects of political disunity and a lack of transparency. I became involved and started my blog a little over a year ago when I began regularly attending city meetings. I think it is important for our citizens to have easy access to information that affects their daily lives, and I see a void of that in our existing system. In today’s digital age, it’s incredibly easy to share information on social media and that’s my goal. Although I often express my opinion in my blog, I try to fill in gaps that help people develop their own. Folks are busy. Most people are caught up at work or invested in helping their kids with practice or homework, and attending to the daily needs of managing their households. Getting to the city meetings in person is tough. Sharing meeting summaries and recordings with the community is an act of service for me.
What do you love about Charlestown? Where are we headed, as a community?
I love the small-town feel of Charlestown. When I go over to Louisville for school or visit some of the other local communities that are more congested, I feel stifled, almost claustrophobic. When I come home, that feeling goes away. I love that going to the grocery store often feels like a family reunion, the smile on the faces that greet me at the local gas station, and the laughter at dinner in one of our locally owned restaurants. There’s a lot of conversation these days about how new development will affect us. We have some major challenges to overcome. I am optimistic, however, that it’s our local charm that will be the thing that makes us thrive.
Who do you look up to, admire?
I admire most the people in my life who demonstrate a servant’s heart and who embrace empathy to help others thrive. First and foremost is my husband, Ed, who, after a 31 year federal law enforcement career, uses retirement to help contribute his research, time, and experience to helping others. It might be cliche, but he truly is my hero.
Behind Ed and a host of amazing mentors I’ve had in my personal and academic life, I admire the daily unsung heroes; folks around town who I catch performing quiet acts of service. I can’t possibly begin to name them all, but I see them. I see them collecting food, hosting benefit concerts, and gathering coats so folks will be warm this winter. I see them and I admire them because I think that’s the heart of our community. They are the oxygen for our town.
Say you’re not from here, and had two hours to spend in Charlestown – what would you do with that time?
I recommend that visitors feed their brains, feed their bodies, and feed their spirits while they’re in Charlestown. First, they can visit the Charlestown-Clark County Library at 51 Clark Road. Charlestown has an intriguing history associated with the Indiana Army Ammunition Plant and the librarians have a wonderful collection of artifacts and historical documents that can help get a visitor caught up on exactly what makes us a unique place. Second, they can feed their bodies at one of our locally owned restaurants. Whether it’s pizza and beer, down home cooking, or authentic Mexican fare they desire, Charlestown has some great places to grab some grub. Finally, they can feed their spirits by driving a couple of miles up Highway 62 to the Charlestown State Park. The trails and picnic areas offer refreshing vistas for rejuvenation and exercise and the park office is staffed with folks who are happy to share their knowledge. Who knows, after a short visit, they might want to bring a camper back to the park to stay a little longer!
Do you have a great idea for our next Community Profile? Email CharlestownCourier.com or call / text: 812-670-6785