After 115 years in Huntington County, Huntington University can take credit for many graduates who are impacting the surrounding community. But four in particular share a commitment to the county which goes beyond an expected professional attitude.
Looking at these individuals who express a deep concern for this community, it is easy see where that love comes from and why they have it. It is years of nurturing from family, friends, professors, classmates and coworkers. It’s a commitment to serving that is evident in everything that they do.
Loving through public service
Brooks Fetters, a 1981 and 1987 graduate, took office as mayor of Huntington in January 2012. Fetters, the son of Professor Emeritus Paul Fetters, grew up in Huntington, and his desire to improve the city is evident whenever he speaks.
“I like seeing the community as a whole having vital and quality neighborhoods,” he said. “So anything we can do to enhance the quality of life and the neighborhoods around town (is necessary).”
Fetters said all his experiences over the years have shaped him to serve in his new role as mayor, but he credits HU with giving him that beginning foundation.
|(above Joey Spiegel)|
"I’ve had opportunities to be in administrative and organizational leadership, and I think that platform was established with the undergraduate training,” he said of his bachelor’s degree in business administration.
It’s an establishment that has been shared with many alumni.
Loving through social service
Jenna (Rodgers) Strick and Joey Spiegel joined the service industry of Huntington County after graduation in 2006.
Strick graduated with a bachelor’s degree in educational ministries and a minor in missions, and soon after, started work at the United Way. She credits the small campus environment and its variety of classes with equipping her with the skills necessary to be the executive director.
Strick’s job focuses on community issues and needs and getting the right players around the table. Similar to Fetters, Strick has hopes for the needy in Huntington County.
“I often hear people (say), Huntington’s never going to change,’’ she said. “If you’re not willing to be a part of the change, you’re not going to see it change.”
Spiegel took his degree in educational ministries, and in June 2011, joined Love in the Name of Christ (Love INC) as its executive director. Love INC orchestrates church service through its food pantry, financial assistance, mentoring and counseling and budgeting guidance.
He gained a passion to serve people in need while in college, he said. Challenging classes and off-campus experiences prepared him for his position where he is in charge of fundraising, public relations and managing a small staff. “… And every once-in-a-while, I have to clean the toilets,” he added with a smirk and a nod when asked if he was serious.
Loving through business
Fifteen miles from the university on the edge of Huntington County, Nate Reusser, a 2005 graduate with a degree in computer science and business management, has found a new way to give back — to the community and his fellow alums.
Reusser started Reusser Design LLC when he was in high school and ran it through college. Ten years later, he employs several web designers in the upper floor of a large brick building in the quaint town of Roanoke, Ind. The company works with organizations, marketing and branding them through the web. This includes designing websites, e-mail and domain management and website consulting and training, among other services.
Beyond simply running a business, Reusser said his goal is to bring businesses into the community and aid non-profit organizations. One effort is a micro site which lists commercial property available in Roanoke.
“A lot of people come to us because they’re start-ups looking to plug in,” he said, sitting in his modern-looking office. “They want to know office spaces. So we’re trying to bring businesses to set up shop here in Roanoke.”
A community of givers
These four are just some of the many giving back to Huntington County. Whether far or near, they all share the same passion.
“We all care about Huntington deeply,” Fetters said. “All three of those individuals, and myself included, in our own little niches are doing everything we can to influence our little world for good and for God.”
Their dedication to the area is a sign of the impact a university and community working together can have in training individuals. Whether through business, social service or public service, these HU grads have given back to Huntington County in a big way.