OUR TOWN

Rish Naran: From Zimbabwe To Bloomington

At 18, Rishel “Rish” Naran traveled from his home country of Zimbabwe to Texas, his heart set on a career as a professional golfer. Unfortunately, he suffered a back injury during a soccer game, making a golf career unattainable. Changing paths is what eventually landed him in Bloomington where, at 29, he works as the general manager of Andy Mohr Honda.

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Kathleen McLean: Bassoonist Professor

When she joined the school band in her hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, 11-year-old Kathleen McLean wasn’t really interested in playing the bassoon. Her first choice was the trumpet. But she was assigned the tall, thin woodwind and, she says, “Then I fell in love with the sound, so akin to the human voice.”

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Sammy L. Davis: War Hero

Sammy Lee Davis enlisted in the Army during the Vietnam era while a senior at Mooresville High School, south of Indianapolis. He was sent into battle and had been in Vietnam just eight months when, on the night of November 18, 1967, his artillery regiment of 42 was overrun by about 1,500 North Vietnamese soldiers.

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Don Griffin Jr.: Realtor and Civic Activist

Fifteen years ago, Don Griffin Jr. had a thriving real estate brokerage but was disillusioned with the business. He stopped advertising, closed his office, and planned to become a chaplain. Then he made a resolution that would change everything. “I decided I would just work with people I like, and it’s not going to be about money but about helping people get to the next chapter in their lives,” Griffin says. “And it was funny. People started coming to me more.”

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Lillian Casillas: Latino Community Advocate

When Lillian Casillas moved to Bloomington from northwestern Indiana in 1985, she joined thousands of other young adults who left home to attend Indiana University. It was a common experience, but Casillas, a native of Mexico, says her Latino heritage and its emphasis on family made the move more significant for her, both geographically and culturally.

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OUR TOWN

Rish Naran: From Zimbabwe To Bloomington

At 18, Rishel “Rish” Naran traveled from his home country of Zimbabwe to Texas, his heart set on a career as a professional golfer. Unfortunately, he suffered a back injury during a soccer game, making a golf career unattainable. Changing paths is what eventually landed him in Bloomington where, at 29, he works as the general manager of Andy Mohr Honda.

Read More

Kathleen McLean: Bassoonist Professor

When she joined the school band in her hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, 11-year-old Kathleen McLean wasn’t really interested in playing the bassoon. Her first choice was the trumpet. But she was assigned the tall, thin woodwind and, she says, “Then I fell in love with the sound, so akin to the human voice.”

Read More

Sammy L. Davis: War Hero

Sammy Lee Davis enlisted in the Army during the Vietnam era while a senior at Mooresville High School, south of Indianapolis. He was sent into battle and had been in Vietnam just eight months when, on the night of November 18, 1967, his artillery regiment of 42 was overrun by about 1,500 North Vietnamese soldiers.

Read More

Don Griffin Jr.: Realtor and Civic Activist

Fifteen years ago, Don Griffin Jr. had a thriving real estate brokerage but was disillusioned with the business. He stopped advertising, closed his office, and planned to become a chaplain. Then he made a resolution that would change everything. “I decided I would just work with people I like, and it’s not going to be about money but about helping people get to the next chapter in their lives,” Griffin says. “And it was funny. People started coming to me more.”

Read More

Lillian Casillas: Latino Community Advocate

When Lillian Casillas moved to Bloomington from northwestern Indiana in 1985, she joined thousands of other young adults who left home to attend Indiana University. It was a common experience, but Casillas, a native of Mexico, says her Latino heritage and its emphasis on family made the move more significant for her, both geographically and culturally.

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William Ramos: Water-Safety Expert

William Ramos has devoted his career to reducing the incidence of drowning. The director of the Indiana University Aquatic Institute and an assistant professor in the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies in the IU School of Public Health, Ramos received IU’s 2019 Latino Faculty and Staff Distinguished Faculty Award for his work educating the public on water safety.

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John Thiel: Disabled Veteran Activist

Disabled by a leg injury he received in Vietnam, John Thiel retired from the U.S. Army and enrolled at Indiana University in 1971, almost 20 years before the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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Barbara Salisbury: Advocate for Blind

Barbara Salisbury probably thinks about getting from point A to point B more often than most people. “For people with disabilities, it doesn’t really matter how accessible the housing, the businesses, and educational settings in the community are if you don’t have a way to get to them,” she says. “Transportation is the glue that holds it all together.”

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Tyron Cooper: Musical Polymath

When Tyron Cooper was named director of the Indiana University Archives of African American Music and Culture last year, he set a goal: “To bring our collection alive.”

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Steve Dawson: Engineer & Artist

A pivotal moment in Steve Dawson’s creative journey came in a workshop taught by Indianapolis painter C.W. Mundy. “I had told C.W. I was there because I wanted to be an artist,” Dawson explains. “I painted all that week, and at the end, C.W. pulled me aside and said, ‘Stop saying you want to be an artist; you are an artist. You don’t need any more classes. You just need to get out there and do it.’”

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Dov-Ber Kerler: 
Yiddish Scholar

Dov-Ber Kerler relishes Yiddish. “It’s a very different language,” says the Indiana University professor of Jewish studies and Germanic studies. “It’s the only other Jewish language that rose to such prominence to be able to rival Hebrew.”

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Michael Adams: Lexicographer

Most people think of dictionaries as thick volumes that lay out the definitions of words with resolute authority. But Michael Adams, provost professor of English at Indiana University, sees dictionaries as living documents, very human attempts to capture the complexity of language as it changes over time.

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Belinda Johnson-Hurtado: Attorney

The 2018 Women in the Law Recognition Award sits on Belinda Johnson-Hurtado’s desk at the Bloomington law firm Clendening, Johnson & Bohrer (CJB). The award, from the Indiana State Bar Association’s Women in Law Committee, celebrates her commitment to helping people overcome adversity, and serves as a reminder that her own path to success hasn’t been easy.

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Jacky Comforty: Documentarian

Jacky Comforty is a documentary filmmaker and oral historian with two seemingly disparate subjects: Holocaust studies and inclusive education.

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