Tag Archives: Joe Micon

LUM Camp is Life-Giving, Life-Changing & a Blast!

Dear Friend,

Consider for a moment these amazing realities of almost all camp experiences. 

Camp is LIFE-GIVING.  The benefits of camp to those children who attend are well-documented and rather staggering: 

  • positive identity
  • social skills
  • physical and thinking skills
  • positive values and spirituality

Camp is LIFE-CHANGING.  Not only is there immediate, measurable growth in each of those four developmental areas for nearly every camper, that growth persists and expands for months and years afterwards.

Camp is A BLAST!  All these positive changes are happening while children are having the time of their lives.  Many children describe camp as “the best week of my summer,” sometimes even “the best week of my life!”

LUM has always known that camp is extraordinarily beneficial.  That’s why LUM has hosted a camp every summer since the 1960’s.  And in spite of all the uncertainties caused by Covid-19, LUM is committed to hosting camp once again this summer at Hanging Rock Camp, where staff continues to work with local, state and CDC guidelines.  Camp might have to look a little different due to Coronavirus, but the fun and friendship and life-enhancing benefits will remain the same.

LUM Camp is a weeklong overnight camp for boys and girls, ages 8, 9, and 10.  The children come from families served by Lafayette Urban Ministry.  A typical week of LUM Camp involves nature hikes, arts and crafts, boating, swimming, morning chapel, climbing, zip-lining, delicious meals, and a top-of-the-line array of staff and counselors.  

LUM Camp 2020’s theme is “Join the Green Side” (“May the forest be with you…”) and will take place the last week of July.  LUM will focus on teaching children to care for their neighbors by caring for the environment (the planet) in which their neighbors must live.  

LUM Camp is a scholarship-based camp, meaning we only invite children whose parents are not able to pay for the $150/child cost of camp.  We ask the campers parents to pay $5/child, and ask our generous donors to cover the rest.    

I would like to ask you to consider a gift of $150 or more to send a child to LUM Camp.  Your “campership” (camp scholarship) will pay for a child’s transportation, room and board, camp activities, educational programs and supplies – literally everything she or he will need to attend LUM Camp 2020.  

  • Sending $300 will allow 2 children to attend LUM Camp
  • Sending $450 will provide 3 camperships
  • $75 will provide ½ of a campership

Only God knows exactly what LUM Camp 2020 will look like.  But I feel quite confident that every child who attends LUM Camp 2020 and “Joins the Green Side” will enjoy the life-giving benefits and lively fun of camp.  

LUM Camp is one the finest overnight summer camp programs available to children anywhere.  There are so many children who are eagerly awaiting their chance to attend.  Would you please invest in both their long-term life skills and their short-term fun by offering them the gift of LUM Camp? 

With gratitude,

Wes Tillett
Executive Director

P.S.  It costs $150 to send a child to LUM Camp.  Contribute online (click button below) or place your campership in the mail (420 N 4th Street, Lafayette, IN 47901).  

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LUM Camp

Please note: LUM is working closely with the professional staff at Hanging Rock Assembly Camp, the long-time host site of LUM CampLUM Camp is being planned in compliance with and exceeding the guidelines developed by the American Camp Association and the YMCA of the USA. All donations to LUM Camp will be used entirely on the campers’ experience, hopefully this year, but if not, next.

Row-A-Thon 2020 Raises $27,693 for LUM

Annual Row-A-Thon Benefits LUM Families

Each February, the Purdue Crew Team hosts the Row-a-Thon fundraising event and donates half of the proceeds to the LUM Good Samaritan Fund. After Row-A-Thon this year, their competition year was cut short due to COVID-19, and the team decided to donate ALL of the proceeds to LUM, totaling $27,693 — $10,850 more than last year.

The check was presented in a video conference by Purdue Crew President Henri Laliberte & Head Coach David Kucik to Wes Tillett, LUM executive director, and Linda Hicks, LUM Good Samaritan Program director — who were surprised and genuinely overwhelmed by their generosity. Please take a minute to watch the presentation video.

The LUM Good Samaritan Program provides our community’s neediest families and children with a strong & reliable safety net. Emergency financial assistance is available for utility bills, rent, prescription medications, work clothes, and food. No operating expenses are taken out of the Good Samaritan Fund — 100% of all donations go to help those in need. In 2019, assistance was provided through the LUM Good Samaritan Program 1,783 times, totaling $103,616.73.

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Good Samaritan Fund

Room Dedicated to LUM Executive Directors

LUM Conference Room Dedication Ceremony

At a special reception last Thursday evening, the conference room in the LUM Office was dedicated to the Executive Directors of Lafayette Urban Ministry. The emcee for the event was the Rev. Don Nead.

Those honored at this event were as follows:

  • Executive Directors: Joe Micon, the Rev. Jud Dolphin & the Rev. Ron Elly
  • Acting Executive Director: Mary Anderson
  • Interim Executive Directors: the Rev. Kurt Kremlich & Jo Johannsen

Joan Low, LUM Board president, also bestowed the title of Executive Director Emeritus to Joe Micon, Rev. Jud Dolphin & Rev. Ron Elly; and Acting Executive Director Emerita to Mary Anderson. Accepting for the Rev. Ron Elly was his wife, Ellen. After the “ribbon cutting,” the guests attended a reception in the newly dedicated conference room, which now displays plaques in tribute to the above mentioned honorees.

It was a wonderful program and the beginning of a new LUM tradition.

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Salute to Joe Micon

{Pictured above L to R are the Rev. Don Nead, the Rev. Jud Dolphin, Ellen Elly, Joan Low, Mary Anderson, Cheryl Fowler & Joe Micon.}
To view more PHOTOS, click HERE.

Joe Micon Receives Distinguished Alumnus Award

At an alumni awards luncheon last Friday at the Indiana University campus in Indianapolis, Joe Micon received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the IU School of Social Work Alumni Association. Joe was nominated by Mark Thomas, former LUM Board president and Eileen Weiss, LUM business manager. Mark and Joe’s family were able to attend the luncheon as well.

The IU School of Social Work Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumnus Award is given annually to alumni who demonstrate outstanding service and leadership to the profession, state and school.

Congratulations Joe for this special IU School of Social Work alumni award.

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Salute to Joe Micon

{Pictured above with Joe Micon is Mark Thomas, former LUM Board President.}
To view more PHOTOS from the event, click HERE.
To view Joe Micon’s Remarks, click HERE.

Joe Micon Receives the Sagamore of the Wabash

One of the surprises for Joe Micon at the LUM Retirement Follies was receiving the Sagamore of the Wabash award from Governor Eric Holcomb, presented by State Senator Ron Alting.

The highest distinction in Indiana is the designation of “Sagamore of the Wabash” by the state governor. It is a personal tribute usually given to those who have rendered a distinguished service to the state or to the governor. Among those who have received Sagamores have been astronauts, presidents, politicians, ambassadors, artists, musicians, and ordinary citizens who have contributed greatly to our Hoosier heritage.

Congratulation to Joe Micon for becoming one of the select few to received this honorary award.

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Salute to Joe Micon

The Sagamore of the Wabash award reads:
WHEREAS, the greatness of the Sons of Indiana derives, in part, from qualities possessed by the noble Chieftains of the Indiana Tribes which once roamed its domain; and
WHEREAS, it has been the immemorial custom of the State of Indiana to attract to its support those who have exhibited such qualities; and
WHEREAS, there has endeared himself to the Citizens of Indiana one Joe Micon distinguished by his Humanity in Living, his Loyalty in Friendship, his Wisdom in Council, and his Inspiration in Leadership:
NOW, THEREFORE, recognizing his greatness and desiring to avail myself of his counsel, I do hereby appoint him a chieftain upon my staff with the rank and title of SAGAMORE of the WABASH
WITNESS my hand and the Seal of the Council of the Sagamores at Indianapolis, Indiana this 6th day of March in the year of Our Lord, Two Thousand and Twenty.
Signed: Eric J. Holcomb, Governor of the State of Indiana.

Farewell Event for Joe Micon – NEXT Friday

A Message from LUM Board President

As you know, Joe Micon, LUM’s Executive Director, will be retiring on March 31, after 41 years of dedicated service. I can think of no one else who has been such a major change agent for good in our community and state.

In true Joe Micon fashion, he has asked that LUM not provide him with any gift of value upon his departure. He shares that having had the opportunity to serve so long at LUM is gift enough.

Joe has agreed to allow me to ask you to share a monetary gift to LUM’s programs in his honor. I am hoping you will consider such a gift in the amount of $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000, or more. Your gift will be used to support LUM’s important programs for at-risk children and working families.

I know Joe would also be truly honored if you could join us on Friday, March 6, at 7:00 p.m. at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Center at Purdue for his special LUM Retirement Follies tribute. Details below.

Finally, I encourage you to read Joe Micon’s recent farewell address to the LUM board of directors. It is affirmation of all the good that all of us working together have achieved during Joe’s years at LUM. I believe your spirits will be lifted as you read his heartfelt message. {To READ – Joe Micon’s Farewell Address – click HERE.}

Thank you for your kind consideration. Place your gift in the mail or give online at lumserve.org/donate.

Joan Foord Low
President, LUM Board of Directors

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Salute to Joe Micon

Join us for the ninth annual  LUM Follies  and help us celebrate Joe Micon, LUM Executive Director , who is retiring on March 31. The event is on Friday,  March 6  at 7 p.m. and includes a program to honor Joe Micon for his  41 years of service  to our community through his work at  Lafayette Urban Ministry . The celebration will include performances by the Purdue  Black Voices of Inspiration , Purdue  Glee Club , and  Michael Kelsey  as well as a large  Ecumenical Choir  representing the many churches that make up the membership of the LUM Board of Directors. There will be tributes, presentations, videos and much lighthearted fun. After the program, there will be a reception with refreshments, sponsored by Lafayette Brewing Co.  LUM Follies is FREE & open to all. To learn more, click HERE.

In lieu of gifts the Micon Family requests that you  make a donation to Lafayette Urban Ministry  in honor of Joe Micon. 

For more details, click HERE.

Joe Micon


Joe Micon is the Executive Director of the Lafayette Urban Ministry.  LUM is an organization of 47 Greater Lafayette area churches that serves as a social safety net for at-risk children and low-income families.  He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Sociology from Purdue University (1980) and a Master of Social Work Degree from Indiana University (1983).

Joe is our retired Indiana State Representative from West Lafayette – serving two terms from 2004 to 2008.  While at the Statehouse, Joe served as Vice Chair of the Indiana House Education Committee. He is also a past President of the Warren County Council, serving from 1998 to 2002.

He currently serves as Commissioner of the Indiana Lobbyist Registration Commission, is a member of the Purdue University Public Health Program Advisory Board, the Association of Retired Members of the Indiana General Assembly, the St. Vincent Williamsport Hospital Board of Directors and the Creasy Springs Retirement Community Board.

Micon has been a member of St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church Parish Council, the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce’s Third House, the West Lafayette Rotary Club, the National Association of Social Workers, the Board of Directors of the Purdue University Warren County Cooperative Extension Agency, the Indiana University School of Medicine Lafayette Advisory Board and the Advisory Board for St. Vincent’s Hospital in Williamsport.  He was a Junior Achievement volunteer in his children’s school, and a youth baseball coach. Micon served on the Benton Community School Corporation’s Textbook Adoption Committee, the Vision 2020 Education Round-table, and the Warren County Child Protection Team. He has served on the Editorial Board of the Lafayette Journal and Courier, the Indiana Native American Commission and on the Indiana Family and Social Service Administration’s Select Welfare Reform Advisory Council.  

His spouse, Jo Micon, is the Dean of the School of Public Affairs, Social Services and Education  at IVY Tech’s Lafayette Campus. They have two adult children; Katie, a Physician Assistant at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, Washington and Jonathan, a Ph.D candidate in Archaeology at the University of Georgia in Athens GA.

Hoosier Social Change Agent

Joseph “Joe” Micon

From 1980 to 1989, Joe Micon directed the LUM Advocate, Jubilee Christmas, Repairs on Wheels and Social Justice Programs. In 1990, the LUM Board of Directors appointed Joe Micon as the third Executive Director, where he quickly established LUM as a 21st century model for church engagement.  

During his tenure at Lafayette Urban Ministry:

  • LUM Camp grew, and After School and 5th Quarter Summer Learning Programs were created for at-risk youth. 
  • LUM Tax Assistance Program, Immigration Clinic, ID Clinic, Winter Warming Station and Protein Food Pantry were established.  
  • Four “Isaiah 32” houses were purchased. 
  • Three major capital campaigns were successfully completed, buildings were built and solar energy was brought to LUM.  

Joe Micon significantly expanded LUM’s fundraising, established LUM’s social media presence and grew LUM’s membership to 47 churches. LUM was recognized by MSW Online Magazine as One of the 99 Most Effective Non-profit Organizations in America. 

The first social worker ever elected to the Indiana General Assembly, Joe served two terms, from 2004 to 2008.  His legislative accomplishments include increasing Indiana’s minimum wage, authoring full day kindergarten, making state taxes more progressive, greater funding for K-12 remediation and expanding Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars Program. Consumer protections were strengthened, death rates for teen drivers decreased and our community found in Joe Micon a tireless advocate for Purdue University.  

Joe Micon – Farewell Address

Final Remarks to the LUM Board

I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.  He is ever giving liberally and lending, and his children become a blessing to the future.   

Psalms 37:25-26

To the LUM board and members of the LUM staff, good friends and to my dear wife Jo: Scripture speaks to us of the future – which is why the Lafayette Urban Ministry has always been a place with its eyes set so firmly upon the future. Our motto is to touch the future by helping children and families today.  At LUM we even have a Dream Team. I have been so deeply moved by the well wishes that I have received from so many of you over the past few weeks.  But tonight, it’s my turn to thank you. Now I have actually done the math and tonight marks my 495th LUM board meeting – in a row.  I have been here consecutively, without a miss, on every third Wednesday night, for more than four decades.  Somehow Jo and I have been able to juggle all the major events of our lives, even the birth of our two children Katie and Jonathan, around the constant of LUM’s monthly board meeting.  Whether you and I have always agreed upon everything, or at times not seen eye to eye, my relationship with you and each of hundreds of former LUM board and staff members, has inspired and energized me.  Everyday I have learned from you. You have made me a better executive director, and you have made me a better person.

It was in October of 1978, more than 41 years ago, that I first came to the Lafayette Urban Ministry as a Purdue University Applied Sociology Intern. I was instantly captivated by the mission of this place.  It was here that I came to believe in the power of faith and the quiet dignity of working people as they cope with struggle and loss. It was at LUM that I came to believe that real change only happens when ordinary people get involved, make sacrifices of time and money and work together to improve the lives of others.

After 41 years, I still believe these things. And they are not just my beliefs.  They are the foundation of our life together as followers of Jesus. You see, our faith, doesn’t merely suggest, or urge, or recommend — no, our faith mandates that we love one another.  And we know that God will judge us based upon whether or not we have loved.  So together we have cared for the Lafayette Urban Ministry — as a way to love and serve, yes — but also as a way to help us to remain faithful.

What a radical idea LUM is — a great gift that those who came decades before have entrusted to us. People like Ron Elly and Jud Dolphin, Jim Davidson, Louise Jewell, Tom Hull and Don Nead.  Through their gift of LUM they have enabled all of us to build community, to achieve a common, greater good, to work for and to achieve justice. At LUM, ours has been a history of progress fueled by what Dr. King referred to as a fierce urgency of now, an abiding belief that we need one another and that we are stronger when we march forward together with a righteous impatience.

  • When Linda Hicks and her Good Samaritan volunteers share compassion and cash each morning at LUM, they know with quiet certainty that because of their efforts, families and their children will be kept from becoming homeless.
  • When we discovered the wadded up blankets of a homeless man under the front porch of our office, the LUM shelter was born.  At first we crammed 7 beds into an attic space.  Later, we expanded our shelter into the old St. Boniface convent.  Then we built our own shelter building.  Now, LUM provides more than 10,000 overnight stays to the chronically homeless each year.
  • In 2019 when Nina Morgan said “yes” to coordinating the new LUM Protein Food Pantry, little did we know that those in need of this source of healthy meats, vegetables and infant formula would so quickly surpass 70 families per week. 
  • Each year, we provide a Thanksgiving feast for 900 people.  Everyone is invited to join us at God’s welcome table, no matter their state, as a valued member of LUM’s family.

At LUM, we have never bought into the argument that charity is somehow toxic.  We know that charity toward another is the first fruit of the Holy Spirit and that where charity and love prevail, there God is ever found.

  • When LUM came face to face with increasing numbers of immigrants and asylum seekers in need of legal advocacy, we hired Susan Brouillette to start and to grow the LUM Immigration Clinic.  Following scripture’s call to welcome the stranger, LUM helps individuals navigate the always complex US Immigration bureaucracy.
  • When the working poor were leaving significant tax refunds and credits in the hands of Uncle Sam because they couldn’t afford to have their taxes professionally prepared, Patti O’Callaghan convinced us to prepare their taxes for free.  Through the years, LUM has returned more than $20 million dollars to working families in our community.
  • After the tragedy of 9/11 when the rules for obtaining photo IDs became much more complicated, we started the LUM ID Clinic so our clients could access employment, housing and public benefits.

Our programs help those who exist on the margins to build a brighter, more productive, stable and successful future for themselves.

  • When LUM realized Indiana was one of only a handful of states not offering free breakfast to low-income public school children, we raised $175,000, hired Purdue Economist Dr. Chuck Sargent and commissioned the CCHIP childhood hunger study.  After publishing the results, we convinced our state legislators to implement the federal free school breakfast program in every public school in Indiana.  We just felt that children learn better in school when their tummies aren’t grumbling.
  • When LUM witnessed first hand the abuse of applicants in our state’s township poor relief system, LUM organized, marched, lobbied and won improvements in the way the poor were treated by township trustees.
  • When LUM learned that some children in our schools were being publicly shamed because their parents could not afford to pay for their textbooks, LUM fought for and won state funding to provide those books for free.
  • When I asked you if I could run for state office, you gave a resounding “yes.”  “What better way,” you said, “to help move Indiana forward on behalf of the children and families LUM serves.”   As a result, Indiana’s minimum wage increased, full day kindergarten was implemented, tax laws for working families became more progressive, funding for school children in need of summer remediation grew and Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars Program was expanded. Consumer protections were strengthened, death rates for teen drivers decreased and our community found a tireless advocate for Purdue University. 

Thank you for allowing me the honor and privilege of serving as the first social worker elected to the Indiana General Assembly. Thank you for choosing to touch the future, with your fierce urgency of now.

And oh how LUM has cared for children.  We have lovingly sent them on their journeys to more hopeful futures…

  • When working parents told us that they needed safe, affordable after school care, LUM sprang into action.  Now, under the direction of Kristi Hogue, more than 100 children each year are provided educational enrichment in a fun-learning environment each day.  It happened because Nanette & Arthur Avery chose to entrust their generous legacy gift to LUM.
  • When we learned that the academic achievement gap separating low-income children from their more affluent peers widens further during summer recess, LUM started 5th Quarter. Our students are academically better prepared to return to school in August.
  • When Jud Dolphin organized LUM’s first Seeds of Vision Conference in 1980, keynote speaker Rev. Don Blakely asked why well-meaning church people need to play hero with poor children at Christmas time — and LUM’s Jubilee came into being.  No longer does LUM arrange for volunteers bearing toys to walk through a family’s front door during the holidays. Instead, we empower mom and dad to be the heroes. Over the span of four decades, Jubilee Christmas has served more than 60,000 families! Thousands of church members have gotten to know those parents and children by name. Relationships have been built and stereotypes about the poor have fallen.

And then there is LUM Camp —  LUM’s very first program with roots going all the way back to the 1960’s and the Neighborhood Development Project at Hope Chapel Presbyterian Church. At camp, LUM provides the tools children need to navigate the challenges of growing up. Our campers make new friends, experience new activities and are exposed to a world of possibility. As the week progresses, you can literally see each child grow. Our time spent together with children at LUM Camp might just be the most important thing we do to change the world for the better. The author Neil Postman says that

Our Children are living messages we send to a future that you and I will never know.” 

But perhaps, just perhaps, LUM Camp has allowed us to glimpse that future first hand…

  • LUM Camper Marlena Edmondson grew up to become a social worker. After her graduate school internship at LUM she went on to help troubled youth in the Tippecanoe School Corporation.  During her summers, she now organizes and helps to direct LUM Camp.
  • LUM Camper Eddie Opperman received his accounting degree from Purdue and is now CEO of his own CPA firm here in Lafayette.  For the past 10 years he has so ably conducted the Lafayette Urban Ministry’s annual audit.
  • LUM Camper Glen Patton was exposed to percussion instruments at camp.  Throughout his school years Glen honed his skills on the snare drum as a member of the 42nd Royal Highlanders. Then he entered the US Army and was chosen to become a member of the President’s elite Old Guard Fife and Drum Corp.  I will never forget watching Glen on national TV marching in President Clinton’s Inaugural Parade in Washington.
  • And anyone could see that LUM Camper Dustin Keller was destined for greatness.  This scrappy, tireless, fast-as-lightning 9 year old camper went on to play wide receiver for Lafayette Jeff, then the Purdue Boilermakers, then the New York Jets, then the Miami Dolphins.  Today Dustin owns more than 70 McAlister’s Deli restaurants located throughout the southeast United States.

The great abolitionist Frederick Douglas reminds us that it is far better to build a child than to have to repair a broken adult.

And you and I have served together on the front lines in the fight for racial justice and equality.

  • In January of 1991 LUM became the very first not-profit, church or business in our community to offer its employees a paid Martin Luther King Jr holiday.
  • We passed a Racial Equality Action Plan that guarantees minority applicants equal access to employment at LUM and minority owned companies equal access to LUM’s business.
  • You enthusiastically voted to permanently house, here at the LUM Ray Ewry Youth Center, this consequential library of 500 children’s books written by minority authors. There was a time, in parts of our nation that it was illegal to teach a person of color to read. But now here at LUM, children of all racial and ethnic backgrounds are taught to read and to love books, to glimpse a future of racial diversity. Thank you Cindy Eberts for your vision, hard work and generous gift of the LUM Eberts Diversity Library.
  • LUM staff chaperoned a group of racially diverse high school students who traveled to our nation’s Capital to march during the 50th Anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.  
  • And it was the honor of my life to personally visit Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. On your behalf, I extended words of friendship to a congregation that struggles every day to cope with the mass gun violence and unspeakable hatred that was inflicted upon its members.

In 1995, LUM geared up for our Touching the Future Campaign. Together we planned, worked, financially sacrificed, and raised $1.4 million dollars to build this program center and homeless shelter.  In 2008, when LUM needed to grow again, we raised $3.3 million dollars more to build this youth center and to purchase and renovate our new program offices. In 2017, LUM was looking for creative ways to invest our resources, so we purchased four beautiful houses enabling four beautiful low-income families to know the pride and stability of living in a safe home, in a stable neighborhood community, with a fair and attentive landlord as their partner.  In 2018, we raised $110,000 and flipped the solar switch so future generations would know of our fidelity to God’s creation.

And how about LUM’s social media presence?  When it became clear that the way the world communicated was rapidly changing, LUM hired Pablo Malavenda to help us navigate social and electronic media.  As a result, our volunteer base has expanded, online fundraising has ballooned and our reputation as a trustworthy, innovative and forward-looking ministry now reaches well beyond our own community.  MSW Online Magazine named the Lafayette Urban Ministry one of the 99 most effective non-profit organizations in America!

Yesterday, LUM’s Executive Council received the good news that we once again finished the year in the black. It marks 30 years in a row that you and I have guided LUM to a year-end budget surplus — 30 years in a row. Let that sink in for a moment. LUM’s record of fiscal health is the envy of our non-profit neighbors. It has allowed us to focus on fulfilling our mission rather than navigating crisis.  LUM has zero debt.  We have no operating loans.  We have no mortgages. We have no liabilities.  Let that sink in for a moment as well. Together we raised LUM’s starting wage for hourly employees to $15 per hour. Together, over the years, we have fully benefited LUM’s professional staff.

We need to recognize Eileen Weiss, Gayle Koning, Susie Riley, Tricia Sembroski, Marilyn Zerbes, Jo Johannsen and Ron Smith.  They have conducted their fiduciary duties with transparency, integrity and an abiding sense of accountability to LUM’s donors.  Due to their hard work and dedication, LUM is fiscally sound and poised for a new future of faithful service. 

Jo Greathouse Micon.  We met on the very first day of graduate school in 1983 at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland Ohio.  I misread the class schedule, arrived a half-hour late and was summarily chastised by Dr. Chatterjee in front of everybody.  From your desk across the room I saw you trying to hide your bemusement.  So during class break I went over to see what was so funny – and the rest is history.  A dedicated professional with a demanding career of your own, you have worn the mantle placed upon you by my public life so very graciously.  You have not only been my wife and the mother of our children, but my best friend.  I broke my ring finger at LUM Camp 10 days before our wedding.  We got the swelling to go down, the ring went on – and it hasn’t been off for a second since. How many times throughout the years have you reminded me of that wonderful quote from Jackie Kennedy:

If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much.

Katie Micon Stewart has grown into such an amazing woman and Jonathan Joseph Micon, into such an  amazing man.  They are both thoughtful, kind, smart, humorous and filled with passion.  They are making their own mark upon the world and changing it for the better.  Of all that Jo and I have done, we are most proud of the two of them.

To Mark Thomas and Joan Low: thank you for doing such an unbelievable job of leading and presiding over LUM during this time of transition.  For the past two years you have listened, not only to the thoughtful vocal voices on the board, but also to thoughtful reserved voices.  And you reached out to the wider LUM family, so that volunteers, donors, staff and community leaders could share their visions for LUM’s future as well.  When the next successful chapters of LUM’s story are written, we will all have you to be thankful for.

To the amazing, dedicated, tireless members of LUM’s staff:  I feel so very lucky to have been able to spend my days together with you.  Without exception, you have been enthusiastic, intelligent, collaborative, creative, and fiercely committed to LUM’s important work.  I cannot begin to thank you for your years of service.  How lucky we all are that you have chosen to share your considerable talents on behalf of those LUM serves.

LUM’s work has always been embraced by the faithful arms of volunteers – thousands of them each year.  They have fed the hungry, sheltered the homeless, nurtured children, prepared tax returns and even argued cases in Federal Immigration Court.  They have hosted Jubilee families and helped those with addiction to find the strength and courage to change.  LUM’s volunteers have been a powerful force for good.  They have been love in motion.  My heartfelt thanks to each of you.

And nothing at LUM would be possible without the generosity and sacrifice of those who share their dollars.  Stewardship is an honorable practice among people of faith.  And through the years we have gathered such a faithful community of donors to LUM – donors who believe fervently in LUM’s mission, who are passionate about our programs and who believe that there is nowhere else that their dollars will have a greater impact for good.  To each of LUM’s 4,000 generous donors – thank you.

I would like to share one last story.  My friend Jeanie Williams has lived on the north end of Lafayette pretty much her entire life.  Along with caring for Larry, her disabled husband, Jeanie raised 15 children, virtually on her own. 

Or maybe I should say Jeanie and the Lafayette Urban Ministry.  Over the course of 40 years, every one of those 15 children has attended LUM Camp.  Every one of them was regularly enrolled in Jubilee Christmas.  Every one of those beautiful 15 children was nourished by food from the St. John’s/LUM Food Pantry.  Every one of them lived in a home that was supported by rent and utility assistance shared from the Good Samaritan Fund.  But that’s all just the “helping children and families today” part.  Here’s the “touching the future” part…..  Against all odds, each one of the 15 Williams children enrolled in college.  To date, 6 of them have graduated and one daughter is enrolled in Ball State University’s graduate school. So far, Jeanie Williams has given us a registered nurse, two elementary school teachers, a son who owns his own successful landscaping business and another son who is CEO of his own marketing company.  Grandson Jahsiah Kirk Williams is a 6’3”, 176 lb basketball standout at Lafayette Jeff.  Keep an eye on Jahsiah – just sayin’.  When Jeanie and I visited last week, she asked if I would extend her deepest gratitude to you, members of the LUM staff and board.  She shared that it really does take a village and that LUM, in her mind, has always been the very best part of this village we call Greater Lafayette.  And now that virtually all of those 15 children have left home, Jeanie Williams has herself entered the workforce.  She helps older workers to update their job skills and build work experience so they might live with greater economic security.  Glory hallelujah.

So what better way to conclude our time together, to celebrate our accomplishments together, than with the words of a country song?  In his 2008 ballad commemorating the election of Barack Obama, Brad Paisley asks us to…

Look around – it is all so clear.
Wherever we were going, now we are here.
So many things I never thought that I would see,
Are now happening right here in front of me.
Every day is a revolution; Welcome to the future!
Go wake up Martin Luther; Welcome to the future!
Glory, glory, hallelujah; Welcome to the future!
Glory, glory, hallelujah; Welcome to the future.

Joe Micon
Executive Director

Purdue Crew’s Row-A-Thon — A Rowing Spectacle

You Still May Donate – Benefits LUM Fund

This past Saturday, the Purdue Rowing Team held their annual “Row-A-Thon” event at the Mall. Each member of the co-ed team rowed a marathon of 26 miles in three hours on indoor rowing machines while raising funds for the LUM Good Samaritan Fund.

If you missed Row-A-Thon, you may still make a donation by mail or online (click HERE). Please make checks payable and mail your checks to: Purdue Crew Row-A-Thon, 355 N. Martin Jischke Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907. Thanks to Purdue Crew president, Henri Laliberte (pictured above with Joe Micon, LUM executive director), Head Coach David Kucik, and the entire rowing team and coaching staff for their continued support of Lafayette Urban MinistryPlease note: the funds raised from Row-a-thon will be split 50/50 between LUM and Purdue Crew Team. To view more PHOTOS, click HERE.

The LUM Good Samaritan Fund is an emergency financial assistance program which provides our community’s neediest families and children with a strong and reliable safety net. Help is offered for utility bills, rent, and prescription medications. In 2019, the Good Samaritan Fund provided assistance 1,783 times and $103,614 was shared.

Purdue Crew’s Row-A-Thon — Benefits LUM

Join Us – THIS Saturday – A Rowing Spectacle

Purdue Rowing Team presents their annual “Row-A-Thon 2020” in support of the LUM  Good Samaritan Fund

Purdue Row-A-Thon 2020 is scheduled for:

  • Saturday, February 15
  • 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Tippecanoe Mall, 2415 Sagamore Pkwy S, Lafayette, IN

Row-A-Thon is one of the largest donations each year. Row-A-Thon is a rowing spectacle that takes place all day in the center of Tippecanoe Mall, Lafayette. The co-ed team members row a marathon of 26 miles in three hours on indoor rowing machines while raising funds for LUM. 

Stop by the Mall on this Saturday and check it out. You may make a donation in person at Row-A-Thon or by mail. Please make checks payable to  Purdue Crew Club  and mail your checks to: Purdue Crew—Row-A-Thon, 500 Brown Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907. Thanks to Purdue Crew president, Henri Laliberte, Head Coach David Kucik, and the entire rowing team and coaching staff for their continued support of  Lafayette Urban Ministry.  Please note: the funds raised from Row-a-thon will be split 50/50 between LUM and Purdue Crew Team.
The LUM Good Samaritan Fund is an emergency financial assistance program which provides our community’s neediest families and children with a strong and reliable safety net. Help is offered for utility bills, rent, and prescription medications. In 2019, the Good Samaritan Fund provided assistance  1,783 times  and  $103,614  was shared.

Thanks to Purdue Crew president, Henri Laliberte, Head Coach David Kucik, and the entire rowing team and coaching staff for their continued support of Lafayette Urban MinistryPlease note: the funds raised from Row-a-thon will be split 50/50 between LUM and Purdue Crew Team.

PHOTOS — Check out the photos from last year’s Row-A-Thon, click HERE.

Joe Micon, Executive Director, Lafayette Urban Ministry
765.423.2691 | jmicon@lumserve.org

David Kucik, Head Coach, Purdue Crew

More information:
The LUM Good Samaritan Fund is an emergency financial assistance program which provides our community’s neediest families and children with a strong and reliable safety net. Help is offered for utility bills, rent, and prescription medications. In 2019, the Good Samaritan Fund provided assistance 1,783 times and $103,614 was shared.