When I was young

Jack Russell
Westfield Chamber of Commerce President

All good stories start out by saying, “When I was young” right? Well when I was young 37 was cornfield, 32 was a corn field… Well how about most if not all of Hamilton County was a cornfield.

I am a young guy who stayed in Hamilton County and plan on raising my family here. For people my age that is simply not the case. Young adults tend to go live outside of their hometown. Eventually making it back to good old Hamilton County down the road.

I grew up in Arcadia and Cicero and eventually my family moved to Noblesville. State Representative Tony Cook likes to tell people that I am the first male Russell not to graduate from Hamilton Heights. I graduate from Noblesville High School and after college moved back and lived and worked in Fishers. I eventually made my way to Westfield becoming a part of many different groups and organizations.

So why at my age stay here? Why not go explore the world!

I can tell you that my passion for Hamilton County started at a young age. I grew up around two amazing men who instilled in me passion to serve other, and to make the world a better place. Those two men are my grandfather, Dick Russell, who recently passed away, and my dad, Rick Russell who is a fireman in Noblesville. I can remember riding in the front seat of the police car at local parades or helping out at the fire station around Christmas delivering food and toys to local citizens. That was the culture that I was around my whole life. Serve. Serve. Serve.

So you’re probably asking what does my story have to do with anything?

In my role at the Westfield Chamber of Commerce I have local leaders around Hamilton County ask how do we get young people like you to get more involved? The answer is simple… include them. Start when they are young and get them involved. I can tell you all around this county there are ways to get involved! I was fortunate to have a family that served Hamilton County, but it can still be done. I encourage young people to volunteer, to walk in parades, take time at local charities, and even look up who represents you and grab coffee.

One of the best things our elected officials do in Hamilton County is have time for those they represent. Apply for internships in your community, and even yes, go to public meetings.

So again, “How do we get young people like you to stay?”

The number one thing I recommend is include them at the table and connect them. If you meet a great young person who shows promise and the potential to be a leader we should be finding ways in all the different organizations around the county to bring them to the table. I think you would be surprised about the knowledge they bring. Especially when it comes to social media.

Again, I was blessed to have two amazing men in my life serve others each and every day. Their mentorship and passion is what made me want to stay and serve Hamilton County. It is amazing what one conversation, one meeting; one invite can spark in a young person today.

We are so fortunate to live in Hamilton County with great leaders, schools, organizations, and businesses. Let us strike passion in the young people of Hamilton County because one spark can create a goal to be a future Mayor of a city, Councilor of a district, or employee or business owner of Hamilton County.

Gotta love good ole’ Hamilton County!