Pharos-Tribune

Local News

October 1, 2012

The drive to do better

Gordon Southern has helped the Walton community, bringing public Wi-Fi, tutoring and a reinvented library.

WALTON — For the town of Walton, Gordon Southern acts as much more than a librarian.  

Jane and John Wilson, the couple who nominated Southern for a 2012 Good Neighbor Award, said he is the go-to source of information on housing, town events or history. And with a track record of bringing Wi-Fi to the community, tutoring college students and modernizing the library, Southern, a retired Lewis-Cass school teacher and the Walton-Tipton Township Public Library Director, puts that information into action.

After 35 years of teaching and even a run for the Democratic nod for State Representative, Southern said he took on the librarian position for a change and a challenge. That change came as Southern boosted marketing, increased circulation numbers and hosted events.

“Instead of being a quiet little library in the corner, we were out in the world,” Southern said.

Acknowledging that some people have called him “bull-headed and stubborn,” Southern said he was inspired to reinvent the library because of his drive to do better.

“Everything I touch, I’ve just got this drive,” Southern said. “I’ve got to make it better.”

He soon led the changing library to host adult programs including a painting club, author talks and lessons on computers and e-readers. For youth, Southern hosts programs like the summer reading club and offers tutoring for kindergartners through college.

Southern has a special connection with college students, as the college-tutoring program started after he promised factory workers during his 2004 state representative speech that he would help them return to school. He said he enjoys teaching the college students math and using real-world examples to help them understand the problems.

“It’s fun, especially the math because there is a challenge to it,” Southern said.

He was also an integral part of bringing free Wi-Fi to the community of Walton. After the library received a public Wi-Fi grant, Southern told local residents that he would expand access to the entire community if they raised the funds for the tower and transceivers.  

Beyond the grants, Jane Wilson said Southern stands out for his willingness to tackle problems and get involved.

“He’s not afraid to physically get out there and paint and clean up things,” Jane said.

After initially meeting Southern at the library five years ago, Jane and her husband John refer to Southern as the “Angie’s List” of information and the “Welcome Wagon.” Jane said he has information about everything going on in town and uses that to help people, citing a time when he helped find a home for a resident who was about to be evicted.

As Southern tries to recall the number of organizations he’s involved in — he named at least seven, including the American Legion, Main Street and the Lion’s Club — he said he feels that Walton promotes the volunteer spirit.

“This community has a sense of voluntarism too, and I think that’s how I got into so many things,” Southern said.

Southern said he keeps the spirit of getting involved and carries that with him.

“It was expected you were going to do well and you were going to do for others,” Southern said.

John Wilson said Southern’s involvement has helped make Walton into a great community.

“Without him at Walton, Walton wouldn’t be half of where it is,” John said.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Police Blotter: July 31, 2014 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    July 31, 2014

  • NWS-PT073114 Hopper2.jpg The right track: Logansport boy advocates railroad crossing safety

    It's not uncommon to see 12-year-old Ethan Hopper sitting in a lawn chair near his father's business on 18th Street in Logansport, his cell phone pointed at a locomotive heading down the nearby tracks. The engines make up a fascination modern technol

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos 1 Link

  • Cass Co. Community Foundation eligible for grant

    The Cass County Community Foundation is eligible to receive half a million dollars from Lilly Endowment Inc. as a matching grant at some point over the course of the next couple of years.Lilly Endowment announced the sixth phase of its Giving Indiana

    July 31, 2014

  • Locals: EPA delay request too late Logansport officials say while they appreciate a state executive’s request to delay new rules on coal power plants, its timing still requires pursuing a new power plant for the city.The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published last month its Cl

    July 31, 2014

  • Supreme Court observers predict ‘wide open’ process of picking of next chief INDIANAPOLIS — State Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Dickson surprised observers in June when he decided to step down after a brief tenure in the leadership post.Another surprise may be in store when his replacement is named.A seven-member panel of

    July 31, 2014

  • Police Blotter: July 30, 2014 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    July 30, 2014

  • Pence pushing Medicaid alternative during DC trip INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is heading to Washington to seek federal approval of his proposed state-run alternative to traditional Medicaid in order to expand health care coverage for low-income residents. The governor's office says P

    July 30, 2014

  • Area could see higher healthcare premiums Individual premiums for healthcare under the Patents Protection and Affordable Care Act could go up in counties with poorer health, according to a Ball State University study.The study said counties with poor health, specifically high diabetes incide

    July 30, 2014

  • NWS-PT072914 Voting2.jpg Round 2: Deadlines approach to file for November election Openings are filling up as deadlines to file approach to run for local town councils and school boards.Up for election this fall are town council seats in Royal Center’s districts No. 2, 3 and at large and at large in Walton as well. The filing deadl

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • NWS-PT073014 Hickman.jpg Two arrested in purse-, wallet-snatching spree

    MONTICELLO — Two were arrested late last week in relation to a string of purse and wallet thefts from shopping carts in local department stores. Lindsey R. Hogg, 22, Monticello, and Rachel D. Hickman, 23, Burnettsville, were arrested by the Lafayette

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

Featured Ads
More pharostribune.com
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

Should the U.S. impose a travel ban on three West African nations in response to a growing Ebola virus outbreak?

Yes
No
Not sure
     View Results
eEdition