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ARIES surprise leaves Olene Veach speechless

State Rep. Tom Saunders (l) joins State Sen. Jean Leising (r) in presented Olene Veach with the “Circle of Corydon” award during an ARIES Board meeting Tuesday at the New Castle-Henry County Public Library.

By DARREL RADFORD - dradford@thecouriertimes.com

For the better part of an hour, Olene Veach was front and center on agenda items at Tuesday’s ARIES Board meeting, talking in detail on each item. Then, a surprise item not on that agenda took her off guard.

So off guard, in fact, she said “I don’t know what to say. That’s a miracle, isn’t it?”

Laughter filled the room at the New Castle-Henry County Public Library, quickly replaced by applause as Veach was presented with the Circle of Corydon Award by State Sen. Jean Leising and State Rep. Tom Saunders.

Former Henry County Sheriff and Commissioner Butch Baker had told Leising at last year’s Mooreland Free Fair he’d love to see Veach honored in some way for all the years of service she had given to the community as a volunteer.

Leising said she went to work on it, and received not only Gov. Eric Holcomb’s blessing, but his signature as well on a new award now being presented. The Circle of Corydon Award is for Hoosiers who have made remarkable contributions to the betterment of Indiana and its people, demonstrating through life-and-service qualities exemplified by the state’s greatest citizens, according to the governor’s office.

The award reads:

“Whereas the early leaders of our state gathered in Corydon in 1816 to adopt the first Indiana Constitution and to create the State of Indiana; whereas Corydon was Indiana’s first capital and center of leadership in the early formative years of our state; whereas like the founders of our great state many others have made remarkable contributions to the betterment of Indiana and its people and therefore are deserving of consideration of membership in the Indiana General Assembly Circle of Corydon; and whereas the illustrious benefactions of one Olene Veach, who has demonstrated in life and in service to the people of Indiana the qualities of our state’s greatest citizens.”

Leising also presented Veach with a Courier-Times article published April 17 headlined “Olene Veach celebrates her hundreds of ‘kids.’”

Veach was also presented a bouquet of flowers by the ARIES board.

ARIES – an acronym for Abuse Reduction Intervention Education and Support – is just one of many youth organizations Veach played a vital role in during her many years of work here.

In addition to being a key organizer of a successful child fair for more than two decades, her many contributions to Henry County include 15 years of service to the National Junior Horticultural Association, chair of the New Castle Area Chamber of Commerce Women’s Division and coordinator of a local Positive Parenting program.

She has been associated with the Henry County Health Department, the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program as a nutritionist and once led the Community Action Program. Veach taught home economics for 15 years. She has also worked with local inmates at the Henry County Jail on literacy among many other contributions to the betterment of communities here.

Not surprisingly, Veach deflected the praise back to those she works with.

“Henry County’s lucky because we have a good board,” Veach said. “We have an involved board. I’m lucky to be a part of Henry County.”