Skip to main content
Friends of the Park

Since its founding in 1995, the county parks foundation, “Friends of the Park of Putnam County,” has funded dozens of outdoor recreation projects through generous contributions from members, donors and grantors. Recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation, there is considerable depth of experience on the board and in the organization’s more than 100 members. 

Friends became, and has remained, a major funding source for People Pathways, now a nearly 18-mile trail system also founded in 1995. To help accomplish the 40-plus goals of the county’s five-year outdoor recreation master plan, Friends received a generous $25,000 grant in 2022 from the Putnam County Community Foundation, matched $1-for-$1 by the Putnam County Convention & Visitors Bureau for a total endowment gain of $50,000.

Endowment funds are invested, with Friends applying annual investment income to countywide outdoor recreation and nature-related projects. The vision of the five-year master plan is to develop outdoor venues, programs and events. The mission is to enhance the quality-of-life in Putnam County through community connections, citizen interaction and the growth, use and appreciation of natural areas.


Support for community events like Celebrate 4, ParkFest, the Putnam County Mural Fest, and more is a vital function of Friends of the Park, increasing local quality of life with organizations like Putnam Parks & Pathways, Greencastle Civic League, the Putnam County Mural Project, Big Walnut Bird Club, Pedal Putnam, and others – organizations spending funds in the community, leveraging outdoor recreation for local economic development.

Friends of the Park of Putnam County


Since 1995, Friends of the Park of Putnam County has been committed to recreation, parks and trails, serving as an open-door resource for community interest groups to pursue outdoor recreation goals. Formed by a group dedicated to improving recreational options for all, Friends reaches its funding goals through grants and gifts from generous individuals, families, corporations, foundations, and organizations that understand the importance of consistently improving parks and future parks and recreation projects.

Now operating from the Putnam County Visitors Center, with the county’s three primary outdoor recreation-focused organizations, Friends is focused on dreaming big, supporting programs, developing assets, and maintaining and growing infrastructure by focusing on fund-raising, grant writing and partnerships – ways to bring ideas to life. The partnership allows the organizations to share resources, collaborate and align direction and goals for a team approach to pursuing the goals of Putnam County’s five-year outdoor recreation master plan.


Residents dreamed big in creating the county’s outdoor recreation master plan, and one goal is for Friends of the Park to create, then end 2026 with, a $500,000 endowment. Impactful outcomes in Putnam County need a strong financial foundation, and Friends’ goal is to end each year, 2022 through 2026, with an additional $100,000 invested in endowment – a fund to finance, in perpetuity, ongoing outdoor recreation development.

Friends of the Park of Putnam County


Friends of the Park

In a county of nearly 40,000 residents, 115 were Friends of the Park members in 2022. Regardless of where you live, individuals can join in 2023 for $25. Families can join for $50. Gifts over and above membership go to endowment. Become a 2023 member and support the development of more outdoor recreation venues, events and programs in Putnam County, and then experience what your generosity creates by enjoying all this county has to offer. This website includes an events section, and a volunteer section, making it easy to regularly get outdoors AND get involved. Thank you for being part of the team. We look forward to seeing you!


Outdoor recreation is key to quality of life at every age and physical condition, and Friends of the Park is a primary funder of the county’s five-year outdoor recreation plan goals. Partnering with Putnam Parks & Pathways, the Putnam County Parks Board and both the Putnam County Community Foundation and Visitors Bureau, Friends helps fund parks, trails and educational, entertainment and fitness programs in outdoor recreation venues.

Friends of the Park of Putnam County


Jessica Hartman - Friends of the Park

Jessica and her husband, Manuel, met at Purdue, where she earned a civil engineering degree.  Out of college, she worked a year as a hydraulic engineer for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources before joining the engineering consulting world.  The couple established a home in Greencastle in 1995, close to Manuel’s work on a farm in rural Putnam County.  Their children are Greencastle natives and, like their parents, both will hold Purdue degrees.  Son, Justin, already earned his, and daughter, Faith, is in her first year on the Lafayette campus.

Kathy Deer

Kathy and her husband, Rick, married in 1975 and have lived in Putnam County since 1977, raising their five children on a farm that has participated in various conservation practices and is today home to a 70-cow herd.  Kathy served on the board of Big Walnut Sports Park and helped with a Lilly Endowment grant through the Putnam County Community Foundation for equipment and lighting.  In her spare time, she plays bass in the local gospel/bluegrass group “Upward Journey.”

Gary Lemon FOTP Board Member

Gary is the author of Savvy Investing: Strategy for Successful Investing. He is former chair and a current member the Investments Committee at Lincoln Variable Insurance Product Trust, a Fortune 250 company that is a subsidiary of Lincoln Life and oversees a more-than-$90 billion portfolio and more than 100 mutual funds.

Amy Howard

After graduating from Greencastle High School, Amy earned both B.S. and M.S. degrees in education from Purdue University and lived in Lafayette for a decade, where she taught special education at Lafayette Tecumseh Junior High School. In 2007, she moved back to Greencastle and began working at Greencastle Middle School as a special education teacher. She has taught in Greencastle Schools ever since.  


Now in his second term, Greencastle Mayor Bill Dory started his career in 1983 as the executive director of Main Street Greencastle, a downtown revitalization organization, and the western regional director of Indiana Landmarks. In 1990, he was named director of the Indiana Main Street Program, and in 1995 he became executive director of the Greencastle/Putnam County Development Center, the local economic development organization, where he supported several industrial attraction projects, numerous industrial expansion projects, the expansion of the Putnam County Regional Airport, and a wide range of community development projects.   

Stacie Langdon

Stacie and her husband, Rick, are 18-year residents of Putnam County.  She is an active member of the First Baptist Church of Greencastle and Kiwanis International.  Stacie has been employed with Putnam County Comprehensive Services, Inc. for the last four years, recently retiring as the Community Relations Manager.  PCCS is a non-profit organization serving adults with disabilities in 26 Indiana counties.  In that role, she planned, promoted and fundraised for many events.  Prior to serving at PCCS, Stacie worked for Old National Bank for 14 years in the Greencastle branch. 

Linda Patrick FOTP Board Member


A lifelong educator, Linda is a mother of two, coach, golfer, and educational leader. A Vigo County native, she holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Indiana State University.

In her more-than-40-year career with the North Putnam School Corporation, Linda taught sciences, social studies and computers, was a high school department head, middle school team leader and coordinator of the gifted and talented program. She also coached high school girls’ basketball, high school swimming, the high school and middle school girls’ and boys’ golf teams, and middle school volleyball.

Kristen Fuhs Wells

Kristen is the executive director of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, which is based at The Prindle Institute for Ethics at DePauw University. Previously, she worked for Indiana Humanities, where she led communications and development strategies for 12 years and served most recently as vice president. There she helped develop award-winning programs and communications strategies to make the humanities more accessible and engaging and helped secure a transformative $5 million gift to start an endowment. Kristen earned an undergraduate journalism degree in integrated communications and an MBA in marketing, both from Butler University.