If you have ever resided in Morgan County, especially in Martinsville, it is very likely that your life has been touched by Ruth Rusie in some way. This remarkable woman will turn 100 years old this October. Although that is a wonderful achievement, the list of what Rusie has contributed to the community and county since she came to Martinsville in the 1940s is extensive, wide-ranging, and amazing.
Her involvement and contributions are too many to list comprehensively. Some include service to the Morgan County Coalition for Literacy, the Morgan County Public Library Foundation Board, the Martinsville Education Foundation Board, the Martinsville Literacy Club, Rotary and Kiwanis clubs, Greater Martinsville Chamber of Commerce, Community Foundation, City of Martinsville, United Way and the First Presbyterian Church in Martinsville.
Rusie has been honored and recognized for her service. In 2008, she was named grand marshal of the 49th annual festival parade at her alma mater, DePauw University. In 2014, she was named Senior Volunteer of the Year by CICOA Aging and In-Home Solutions, and in 2015 she received the Legacy Award from the Community Foundation of Morgan County.
It was a proud moment for Bill Fite when he went to his grandmother to seek her approval to resurrect the business name of Fite Plumbing. She was excited about the revival, telling him to “absolutely bring Fite Plumbing back out!” With her blessing, the second iteration of Fite Plumbing opened on January 1, 1989. It is another proud moment for Bill Fite to host the grand opening of the new Fite Plumbing location this month.
Fite’s grandfather had operated a plumbing business for many years on the west side of Indianapolis. Several other Fite family members worked in the business. As a boy, Bill would be in and out of the plumbing supply barn next door. “We would build forts and there were always plumbing pipes in them, as grab bars or weapons, not for running water. I would ride the back hoe with him, too.” When Fite was in junior high school, his grandfather died, and the business was dissolved.
Over summer breaks in high school, Fite worked in a local plumbing business and after graduating, he worked there to pay for college. He says that he really enjoyed construction plumbing and always figured he would eventually be a builder in some way.
When Martinsville native Jeff Main left for college, economics was his major. He was interested in economics, but his primary objective in selecting DePauw University was both more focused, and broader. “My intention in college was to learn to learn,” Main said. “I tried to develop a broad-based knowledge and understanding of business, but then learn how to apply a variety of skills.”
His first job was as a bank examiner for the Indiana Department of Financial Institutions. After three years, it was a personal connection with fellow church member, Charlie Horrell, that changed his course. Horrell asked Main to join him in opening an office of Hilliard Lyons in Martinsville. “Charlie was in business in the Bloomington office and saw a need and opportunity in Martinsville,” Main said. “He became my mentor and senior partner in the business.”
Main says that for the first part of his career it wasn’t his position to think organizationally. “But it informed my beliefs,” Main said. “I learned from other talented people and I learned to trust the things they emphasized. Because of them I developed the confidence to put my own thoughts into practice.”
The heart of the services the Hilliard Lyons teams in Bloomington and Martinsville provide is helping families and businesses save, plan, invest, and manage their money and assets.
For individuals and families, Main and his team work toward goals such as securing lasting assets for retirement, savings for college educations, and transitioning wealth from one generation to another.
While the home he shares with wife, Terra, and their two children is elsewhere, Clay Hamilton says he spends about an equal amount of time in Mooresville, making it home, too. When you are a hands-on owner/operator of a business that is successful and growing, that’s how it is. Hamilton has no qualms about the time he devotes to Whites Electrical.
Hamilton was one of those lucky few who came out of high school with a direction. Beginning at 14-years-old, he became a staple on construction sites. During his junior and senior years of school, he participated in construction programs at Central Nine Career Center in Greenwood. The instructors were business professionals, contractors in the area, who led the construction of a home each year by students from Johnson, Morgan, and a portion of Marion Counties.
The experience helped Hamilton narrow his path. “I liked being around equipment and building things,” Hamilton said. “There’s nothing quite like standing back and saying, ‘Hey, we did that.’” When school ended each year, Hamilton continued to work for his instructors in their personal businesses.
The trades appealed to him, as Hamilton expressed, “because I like working hard and to have dirt on my hands. And the trades aren’t going anywhere. There aren’t enough tradesmen, and even fewer craftsmen out there.”Read the Full July 2018 Edition Here
For any business, being named one of the Top 100 in the Nation for their industry would be reason to celebrate. When Cornerstone Home Healthcare was named one of the Top 100 Home Health Agencies in the nation late last year by HomeCare Elite ™, owner Stacy Fitzpatrick was proud. But the reason why her agency received that award is what makes her proudest. Cornerstone Home Healthcare made the Top 100 Homecare Elite list because of a high level of patient care and patient satisfaction.
Fitzpatrick says that her business had been named in the Top 500 for the last several years because of the quality of her staff. She attributes the new award to on-going training and commitment of the staff to providing quality of care and positive outcomes for patients.
Growing up halfway between Martinsville and Monrovia in the Wilbur area has caused Autumn Hodge to have a slightly different perspective on life today. Her backyard was several acres just down the road from her grandparent’s house. She spent a great deal of her time out of doors, engaged in sports like softball or basketball, or helping in Grandma Wilma Hodge’s garden. With little, if any, cell or internet service at home, she is less tethered to her cell phone or computer than most peo-ple, and she likes it that way. In fact, she says she often has to calm visiting friends telling them they will survive not having cell service for a while.
Her fondest memories of home and family are in the garden and kitchen with Grandma, making jelly, chicken pot pie, and baking up pies, cakes and other goodies. They would start in the garden picking produce that, depending on the season, could range from strawberries, blue- or blackberries, cucumbers, tomatoes or green beans to apples from the trees. She learned to sort, snap, chop, strain, mash, cook, and can the foods into good old Mason jars. They’d cool and be stored in the cellar ready to feed the family all year long. But before that happened, the “extras” would be fashioned into pies and other pastries to eat right away.