Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

August 22, 2012

Smith: Protectors exhibit an eye-opener

Pat Smith
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — When opening the door to our Historical Society Museum last week, I nearly dropped my teeth.

The door opened and there was a man in an orange outfit just like those that jailed persons wear. Of course, on second look it was obviously only a mannequin, but it got my blood circulating!

The exhibit on display now through Sept. 24 is one that everyone that has ever lived in Decatur County should find more than a little interesting. It'll appeal to all ages, too.

Older citizens can see how far our protectors have come and youngsters will be fascinated with all of the old and new equipment used by the various departments. Everyone else will be as interested in those elements of the display but will also be grateful for what these protectors do. Yes, the name of the exhibit is ÒProtectors of the Decatur County Community.Ó

It's really quite fabulous and it's free to everyone. I must report that when attempting to list the various agencies that protect us I left out a couple Ñ important ones, too.

Think for a minute about just who does protect us. First there is the Greensburg Police Department, then there's the Greensburg/Decatur County Fire Departments. Next is the Decatur County Sheriff's Department.

The next two are the ones I left out but they are as vital as any. There's the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) and Decatur County Animal Control. We'd hate to have to do without any of the five.

Marilyn Beaver and Dallas Whipple were working hard on the display the day I was there. Charity Mitchell showed me around and Lois Carol McCormack and Dustin White were taking care of everything else. It must have taken them weeks to put this exhibit together.

Don Minning would have loved this exhibition. His widow Viola has loaned many of Don's collections to the museum for this special display. Don was a Greensburg fireman for many years and collected wonderful things like the trumpets used at one time, some outfits and equipment. There are posters of news stories from the Greensburg Daily News.

There are too many items to mention all of them but that's true for the police, Emergency Medical Service, Animal Control, Sheriff and other departments too. Many protectors of the communities here have loaned memorabilia. You'll love it!

Lester Gay has loaned his badges from his Korean War service and from the years he was a patrolman and on through the ranks until he was named Chief of Police. There are photographs of every Decatur County Sheriff from the time photographs were available and the names of those not pictured are posted. I looked to see if the sheriff I mentioned in last week's column was pictured, and there he was: Otis Maddux, great, great, great-grandfather of Katherine Rene, daughter of Ryan and Jenny Maddux.

Unfortunately photographs were not available to anyone when Decatur County appointed the first Sheriff and elected the first Sheriff. William Ross was appointed as the first Sheriff so he could take charge of the first election.

He served about four months until Doddridge Alley was elected. Many of Alley's descendants still live here. Next, John Parks was elected and re-elected. After collecting taxes in 1828, he bought a large drove of horses and was taking them to Virginia. He was never heard from again.

After 184 years I suppose it's too late to find out what really happened to him. Did he run off with the money or did he run into some bad men somewhere between here and his destination?

On Aug. 25, that's this coming Saturday, there will be speakers in the museum starting at 1:30 p.m. when a representative from the Greensburg Police Department will be on hand to discuss their work and current civic problems and to answer questions. At 2 p.m., the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) representative will do the same for those attending.

At 2:30, we'll get to ask questions of the Decatur County Sheriff Department and at 3 p.m. Decatur County Animal Control will answer questions and tell us more about the work that department does.

At 3:30 representatives from the Greensburg/Decatur County Fire Departments will be there to talk with us and answer questions. This will be a great time to hear about some of the issues that affect our county.

Please remember the times and date of this special program. The place is the museum at 222 N. Franklin St. in Greensburg and the time start at 1:30 p.m. Call 663-2764 for more information.

I'm seldom at the Daily News office but love hearing from readers. Please feel free to email me at patjsmith@etczone.com.