NORTH WEBSTER — Kosciusko County Bicentennial Relay Torchbearer Mike Kissinger does not necessarily seek the limelight; in fact, he quickly draws the focus away from himself and places it on the 21 others with whom he shares the honor.
“When you’re reading these [bios] you’re like, man, I don’t know if I belong to this group or not,” Kissinger said.
However, the fact that he was chosen shows there are many who feel he does, indeed, belong with the group, from the person who nominated him to members of the Kosciusko County Bicentennial Committee, which selected him.
Kissinger has been an active volunteer at the North Webster Community Center since it opened in 2004. He learned of his nomination three weeks ago when he received an official letter from Governor Mike Pence’s office in Indianapolis.
“It certainly was pretty humbling,” he said. “And it kind of caught me off guard, but I was really excited about it.”
At the community center, Kissinger has launched a number of “pet projects,” including the annual garage sale and the kids’ Business Fair. He is also lends a major hand with the annual charity auction fundraiser.
Despite being instrumental in these projects, Kissinger admitted has little interest in serving in a more up-front capacity, like being on the board of directors. Rather, he prefers to put his time into making sure the garage sale and business fair are successful each year.
Not one to hog the limelight, Kissinger noted things like the torch relay normally are not his thing. However, because of its connection to the state’s bicentennial, he is looking forward eagerly to the event. As Kosciusko County Surveyor, he has a certain appreciation for history, so the bicentennial, he said, is right up his alley.
Kissinger is familiar with and respects many of the other local torchbearers, some who are also from North Webster. a few he named include Barb Martz, who he says does “incredible, inspiring work with some very special students in Warsaw;” Mary Louise Miller, whom he referred to as an, “absolute Kosciusko County treasure with her generosity;” Gladys Culver, whom he says, “maybe has influenced and educated more people than anyone alive today…” and Scott Bibler, his wife’s former classmate of whom he said, “it certainly appears that he influenced kids by coaching and teaching them the right way.”
At this point, Kissinger is not sure how he will carry the torch in September. As the Kosciusko County Bicentennial Committee irons out the logistics, however, Kissinger has his hopes:
“My fingers are crossed that I can run with it a little bit,” he said. “The time frame is pretty tight for it being here in the county, but I’d love to at at least run with it a little bit.”
Still, Kissinger said, he is just glad to be a part of the relay in the first place.
“Regardless, whatever they want me to do [carrying the torch], I’m just tickled to be a part of it,” he said.
Note: This is the second in a series of stories highlighting each of Kosciusko County’s 22 Bicentennial torchbearers.