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2023 Honorees are announced


As Huntington celebrates its 175th anniversary this year, Huntington County Honors is recognizing some of the area’s pioneers among its 2023 class of honorees.

Created in 2014, Huntington County Honors brings to light the stories of achievement, work and service of those with ties to the community who have made a lasting impact on Huntington County. They are recognized in one of five categories — athletics and recreation, business and professional, community and public service, humanities and cultural, and historical. The inaugural class of Huntington County Honors was inducted in 2016.

“We continue to be humbled by the stories of these tremendous individuals and what they have added to Huntington’s rich history and the contributions they have made to the betterment of life for the community,” said Paul Siegfried, a member of the Huntington County Honors board of directors. “Their achievements serve as a source of inspiration and reflection for all of us.”

This year’s public recognition ceremony will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, October 21, at the Huntington North High School Auditorium. Those attending should enter at Door 28.

In addition to Huntington’s founders, the newest class to be inducted into Huntington County Honors will include Indiana Supreme Court Justice Christopher M. Goff and Huntington basketball and business icon Mike Weaver. Two community leaders, Barbara Hancher and Dr. John Regan, are in this year’s class, as is Elmer Rahn, who directed the Erie Band for 50 years. The family of Dr. Paul and Barbara Fetters is being recognized for service to Huntington University and to the community.

In the athletics category, the honorees are basketball standout Art Musselman, football legend Rex Grossman, along with John Harrell, a sports journalist and creator of a groundbreaking sports website.

Huntington County Honors will also present a new award this year with the announcement of the Dr. John David Carnes Humanitarian Service Award to honor the legacy of one of the organization’s founding members, who died in March 2023.

The first recipient of the new award is Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters, who, for more than a century, have been providing service to marginalized populations and those living in poverty.

“Dr. Carnes was compassionate in his profession and in his life, and he had a great love for his native Huntington, its people and its history. He had a heart for service, and as an organization we wanted to honor what he meant to this community,” said Siegfried.

A display featuring the 2023 class of Huntington County Honors will be on view in Huntington City-Township Public Library beginning in January. The Huntington County Historical Museum houses a permanent exhibit featuring all previous honorees. Information on all the inductees is also available on the Huntington County Honors website at www.huntingtoncountyhonors.org.

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A brief look at the 2023 Class of Huntington County Honors:


HUNTINGTON’S FOUNDERS

Captain Elias Murray, John Tipton, Joel & Champion Helvey

Historical Category

The city of Huntington celebrates its 175th anniversary in 2023. Many pioneers settled in this area as early Americans moved westward, but a very few can be labeled as the founders of the town. John Tipton and Captain Elias Murray provided the land and its initial layout, while Joel and Champion Helvey are remembered as town’s first residents.

Murray was a captain of an Ohio cavalry unit. Tipton was a powerful force in the Indiana Territory who fought in the Battle of Tippecanoe during the War of 1812. After Indiana became a state in 1816, Tipton and Murray teamed in 1830 to purchase land along the route of the planned Wabash & Erie Canal. Murray named the new county after his great uncle, Samuel Huntington, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

In 1830, the Helveys settled at the site of the future town of Huntington. Their first building on the banks of the Little River was used by travelers and became known as the Flint Springs Hotel.

Huntington County was officially authorized in 1832, and the city of Huntington was incorporated in 1848.


DR. PAUL & BARBARA FETTERS FAMILY

Humanities & Cultural Category

If there ever was a “First Family of Huntington (College) University,” it is the family of Dr. Paul and Barbara Fetters. The Fetters family has been part of the fabric of the school for more than half its existence. The expansion and growth of the university has paralleled the involvement and the family’s growth.

Among his roles at HU, Paul served as the Dean of Huntington University Graduate School of Christian Ministries from 1972-1997 and authored numerous books and scholarly publications. Barbara Fetters influenced countless students as a language arts teacher for many years at Huntington North High School. They raised three sons — Brooks, Todd and Luke — and have eight grandchildren. All of them have attended Huntington University.

Paul Fetters died in 2022, and Barbara began cutting back on her various activities. But the successive generations of the Fetters family have continued to have a positive effect on the university, the church and the community.


HON. CHRISTOPHER M. GOFF

Business & Professional Category

Christopher Michael Goff was born in Wabash County, Indiana, and attended schools in both Wabash and Huntington. He graduated from Southwood High School, and is a summa cum laude graduate of Ball State University. After graduation, he enrolled at the Indiana University Mauer School of Law, where he received his J.D. degree in 1996.

Justice Goff was an associate attorney with the Huntington law firm of Mills & Northrop, where he became a partner in 1999. He also served as a Public Defender in Huntington County. In 2005, Justice Goff was appointed to serve as Judge of the Wabash Superior Court. While serving in that capacity, he implemented the Wabash County Drug Court and the Family Drug Treatment Court to help address the devastating effects of drug abuse in the community.

In 2017, Judge Goff was appointed by Governor Eric Holcomb to serve as the 110th Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court. At age 45, he was, at the time of his appointment, the youngest member of the Supreme Court by almost a decade.


REX GROSSMAN

Athletics & Recreation Category

With a combination of size and speed, paired with an intense competitive nature, Rex Grossman was a force on the football field.

At Huntington High School, he was a multisport athlete and a two-time All-State performer in football. The 6-foot, 200-pound fullback teamed with speedy halfback Ray Overmire as the “Touchdown Twins.” The duo finished first and second in the state in scoring in 1941.

Grossman joined the Army in 1943, serving in Europe in World War II and earning a Purple Heart. He returned home and played football at Indiana University, where he stood out at multiple positions. He passed up his final college season to join the professional ranks, signing with the Baltimore Colts.

Following a three-year professional career, Grossman returned to Indiana with his family. His three children were all top athletes. He started a contracting business in Bloomington and was involved in the community and with Indiana University. Grossman was inducted into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame in 1976. Grossman’s grandson, Rex III, was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy at the University of Florida and quarterbacked the Chicago Bears to the Super Bowl.


BARBARA HANCHER

Community & Public Service Category

Barbara Hancher was born and reared in Huntington. She graduated from Huntington High School and earned an education degree at Butler University. Her first job was teaching school in Rockford, Ill., but she moved back to Huntington, and in 1981, was hired as executive secretary of the Huntington County Chamber of Commerce, where she helped shape strategies and policies to raise the county’s profile in the business world for nearly two decades.

The Chamber, with Hancher as a guiding force and spokesperson, played an important role in bringing businesses into Riverfork Industrial Park. The Chamber sponsored the first Huntington County EXPO business showcase and launched the Huntington County Leadership initiative. Hancher and the Chamber also backed the 1997 establishment of Huntington County United Economic Development.

Hancher left her position as Chamber president in late 1999 to become executive director of the Chamber’s new economic development division. The successes during her Chamber tenure would not have been possible had she not earned and maintained the confidence and respect of local business leaders and government officials.


JOHN HARRELL

Athletics & Recreation Category

Quiet and unassuming in person, John Harrell’s work speaks loudly across Indiana. The innovative website he created in 2000 to provide scores and schedules for every high school football and basketball contest in the state has become the definitive resource for sportswriters, fans, coaches, players and countless others.

Harrell’s love of basketball dates to his days as a youngster growing up in Huntington. While still in high school, he began his newspaper career at the Huntington Herald-Press covering county high school games.

A graduate of Huntington College, Harrell went from the Herald-Press to the Bloomington newspaper, first as a sportswriter and later as an award-winning page designer. Always a numbers guy, he started compiling a database of high school scores in 1980. The internet allowed him to make that information available online beginning in 2000. He has not missed one day since updating scores and schedules, inputting 1,700 football and 10,000 boys and girls basketball scores every season. Harrell has been honored by many organizations, including receiving the Indiana Fever Silver Medal Award from the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.


ART MUSSELMAN

Athletics & Recreation Category

From playing pickup games in Huntington County barns with his buddies as a teenager to the day he was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014, good friends and basketball have served Art Musselman well.

Musselman played two years at Clear Creek High School, but the family’s move into town put him on the Huntington High School squad for his junior season. As a senior in 1956, Musselman put together one of the best seasons in Viking history, scoring a record 436 points. In the sectional finals at Community Gym, Huntington fell 78-76 to Musselman’s former Clear Creek team and its own star, Lowell Stouder, who scored 36 points to Musselman’s 30.

Musselman’s lone college offer came from The Citadel and coach Norm Sloan. He had a stellar career there, setting a school scoring record that would stand for 25 years. His number 33 jersey was retired in 2009.

Musselman was head coach at Presbyterian College from 1963-68. He was an assistant at Clemson and then joined Sloan’s staff at North Carolina State when the Wolfpack won the NCAA Championship in 1974.


ELMER RAHN

Humanities & Cultural Category

Since its founding in 1915, Huntington’s Erie Community Band has provided the musical backdrop for many of the town’s most important gatherings. For 54 of those years, Elmer Rahn not only conducted the band, but was the leader who kept it together through its toughest times.

Born to a family of musicians and railroad workers, Rahn picked up the cornet at a young age. When he was old enough, Rahn went to work for the Erie Railroad in Huntington. In 1915, railroad president F.D. Underwood sparked the creation of local bands along the rail line. When the Huntington band was formed, Rahn was ready with his horn.

Rail strikes caused railroad bands to disband, but Huntington’s Erie Band continued. Rahn took over as band director in 1922 and kept the group going, even when new railroad union rules threatened its existence in the 1960s. Rahn died in 1976, but because of his leadership and his dedicated musicians, the Erie Band not only survived, but continues to thrive.


DR. JOHN REGAN

Community & Public Service Category

Important as Dr. John Regan has been to the many thousands of his patients, that will not be the only way he is remembered in our community. For more than a half-century, John Regan, DDS, has promoted excellence in dentistry at the state, national, and international levels, while working tirelessly to improve the quality of life for all people in Huntington County.

Dr. Regan is a Wisconsin native who, while at Indiana University Dental School in Indianapolis, met and married Delene Anne Smith, a student from Huntington. In 1961, the Regans moved to Huntington, where he established his family dentistry practice. Throughout nearly six decades in that practice, John Regan was extremely active in both community and professional affairs.

Throughout his career, John Regan has advocated for change and improvement in the science and practice of family dentistry. In Huntington, he was among the organizers of what is now Pathfinder, and his other civic leadership duties included United Way, the city library board of trustees, the Medical Memorial Foundation of Huntington County, the Huntington County Chapter of the American Cancer Society, and the Optimist Club.


MIKE WEAVER

Business & Professional Category

As a basketball player, Mike Weaver left a legacy that the Huntington community will never forget. In the more than 50 years since the end of his athletic career, the 6-foot-5 Weaver has stood equally tall in his life as a businessman and benefactor.

Weaver starred on Coach Bob Straight’s Huntington’s 1964 state runner-up team, earning the prestigious Arthur L. Trester Mental Attitude Award, along with All-State and Indiana All-Star honors. He went on to be a three-year starter at Northwestern University.

After two years in the Army, he earned his MBA in 1972 and entered the family business, the Weaver Popcorn Company. He became president of the company in 1980 and built Weaver Popcorn into the largest bulk-producing popcorn company in the world.

Weaver’s philanthropic life includes the establishment of National Scouting Fundraising, which has provided more than three billion dollars for scouting organizations. He created the Bob Straight Scholarship in Huntington, and with his wife, Becky, provided a lead financial gift to Marian University in 2016.


DR. JOHN DAVID CARNES HUMANITARIAN SERVICE AWARD

Presented to: Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters

Dr. David Carnes was one of the founding members of Huntington County Honors. A local physician for nearly 40 years, Dr. Carnes was compassionate in his profession and in his life. The Huntington native was a man of faith who had a heart for service and a love for the Huntington community, its people and its history.

Dr. Carnes passed away in March of 2023. To honor his legacy and leadership, Huntington County Honors has created the Dr. John David Carnes Humanitarian Service Award. This special honor recognizes individuals or groups for selfless humanitarian efforts and achievements that exemplify the compassionate and caring life of Dr. Carnes.


Over the past century, OLVM Sisters have served in solidarity with God’s people, especially those marginalized by society. Founded in 1922 by Father John Joseph Sigstein, the Sisters have called Huntington home since the building of their Victory Noll motherhouse in 1924.

The Victory Noll Sisters, as they are also known, have as their mission to proclaim the Word of God, foster justice, stand in solidarity with those living in poverty and oppression, and promote the development of leaders.

As missionary Sisters, they have been missioned to places where the poorest people have been ignored or left behind by society. They went into rural areas of Appalachia, into the inner cities, and especially into the Southwest United States to serve a growing immigrant population. They continued to provide religious education, but also advocated for human rights, social justice and empowerment for minority groups and for women. Victory Noll Sisters developed leadership initiatives and spoke out on the need to care for the Earth.

They have been missioned in 37 states and in Bolivia, delivering the Good News of Jesus Christ, providing social services, and advocating for justice and peace.

OLVM also has a past connection with Dr. Carnes, who served as personal physician for many of the Sisters over the years.


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