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Thursday, June 30, 2022

“You’ve Gotta Be Kidding”

The year was 2009, and it was my first visit to Lloyd Pool. My sons, who had been competitive swimmers since age 4, each were starting the enormous commitment of year-round swimming. As we walked into “The Lloyd,” my first impression of the facility was, “You’ve gotta be kidding.” Less than five minutes into their first practice, then-Coach Mike Chapman blew the whistle and got everyone out while they fished a dead bird out of the pool that had come in through the open window.

No need to exaggerate stories about The Lloyd. I soon was to find out a friend of mine, Dr. Andy Tharp, was equally passionate; in no way was this facility acceptable to him, either. Andy wouldn’t let it go, and whether it be at a swim meet or band practice (he and I played with a few other friends in a band), he would bring it up to me, constantly sharing ideas and updates.

Our tiny group decided to form a grassroots task force from a wide range of people who were equally passionate about swimming, kids, and the community. We encouraged people to ask the mayor about the pool, and we wore him down about it, he later admitted. We worked diligently to move the needle before the creation of the Mayor’s Aquatic Task Force. I am not ashamed to admit I used the pages of this magazine to advocate for change, something I had not done before or since.

To all involved in any capacity of seeing this through all the way, a very heartfelt “thank you!” It was worth it.

Sometimes, all it might take is a few sentences to undo years of hard work.  I could only come up with a few positive sentences to say — and boy, I tried — about 2022 Junior Achievement Laureate Randy Miller, founder of South Western Communications. (See page 38)

Here goes my carefully crafted reputation in one sweep: When you hear about the quality people who are the backbone of a community, think of Randy. He is the first person to volunteer, give, or “do the extra work.” I know I join everyone in wishing Randy well as he is inducted in the Junior Achievement Hall of Fame, being celebrated at breakfast on May 12.

A completely self-made and selfless man, Randy has exceled in business and volunteerism as well as being a consummate family man. He always is quick with an occasionally witty quip and what I would call a “wry grin.” He even has managed to overcome having a Purdue University graduate as a son-in-law.

I know how pleased I am with Junior Achievement for selecting Randy as a laureate. Man, writing this has not been easy! Still wondering if there is hair under the hat in the above photo? I couldn’t seem to obtain a more recent picture … (cough).

Just prior to his State of the City address, I sat down with third-term Mayor Lloyd Winnecke in our offices on March 24. After exchanging “pleasantries,” we enjoyed (or was it just me?) a long conversation in my office. It pleases me that I don’t find the mayor to be any different now than when he consistently gave me wise counsel and saved me from myself in the earliest years of the magazine more than 20 years ago.

In our Back Talk story on page 64, we go through his years of being a mayor. One thing stands out to me: Lloyd Winnecke loves Evansville and throws himself into making our city a better place to live at every opportunity.

Please indulge a moment of fatherly pride going out to my eldest son Maxwell, graduating with his MBA from the Lacy School of Business at Butler University. After four years as an undergrad and two years as a graduate student, I know Maxwell and I both are ready for him to be done.  It’s strange, though, and a bit telling that while I had been suggesting graduate school when he was an undergrad, there was not much interest. Now that he is done, he is “glad he did it,” as if he knew this was his pre-ordained path all along. Congratulations, son, life just gets “easier” as you join the business world. And … Go Dawgs!

As always, I look forward to hearing from most of you.

 

Todd A. Tucker
Publisher

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