Love Where You Live: Kim Clarke keeps Middlebury on the move

By Marshall V. King

Kim Clarke has a knack for putting ideas into action.

Take the pumpkin race she brought to Middlebury last fall, helped along by winning one of the first Little Big Idea Grants. Decorated orange orbs going down a hill raised money to help an organization serving those with autism. The second annual race will also aid those with autism or other developmental delays.

This summer, folks are putting their faces in the 20 Faces of Middlebury after she approached former town manager Lowell Miller to make them with other woodworkers at Greencroft Middlebury and local artist Linda Pieri painted them. People can put their own face on top of a historic costume.

Clarke helped plan a literary festival at Middlebury Public Library and is now working on a “reading invasion” for this fall. She has plans for more faces next year, a set of birdhouses, and ways to involve more people in the town she loves.

“This is my home. I love it here,” said the retired accountant who now works hard as a volunteer.

She’s so excited about Middlebury and what’s happening in Elkhart County. As she sat in the Krider World’s Fair Garden, originally designed for the 1933-34 World’s Fair, she said she wants people who live here to know and share the stories. “We need to get younger people involved so they can continue the story,” she said.

She’s been active for many years and in late 2014, Clarke got involved with the state’s Bicentennial celebration. That led to helping plan Middlebury’s 180th birthday celebration in 2016. That’s led to ongoing work with others in the community, including on the self-guided town tour that is now in its third edition.

Kim Clarke helped bring to life the Faces of Middlebury display in 2018. “This is my home. I love it here,” she says. (Photo by Grant Beachy)

“If you want to be part of the community, you need to get engaged,” she said. “I’ve just made a lot of new friends.”

Her love for this place is infectious. And she has a lot more ideas.

Marshall V. King is a Goshen-based free-lance writer. He wrote this on behalf of Vibrant Communities.

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