Jami Pratt was awarded the 2023 Township Trustee of the Year award by the Indiana Township Association for her work with numerous organizations in Clinton County.
Pratt, Center Township Trustee, attended the 2023 Indiana Township Association Education Conference on Tuesday with board member Jessica Eason and Home for the Night Emergency Shelter coordinator Nikki Campbell where she learned of her nomination for the award. Pratt expressed that she was unaware of the upcoming announcement that she would receive the award, and she was debating returning to her room to end the night when she was surprised by the announcer calling her name as the winner of this year’s award.
“There are 1,002 townships in the state of Indiana, and to be chosen for Trustee of the Year is a huge honor,” Pratt said. “I absolutely was not expecting it. I cried a little bit because my family was there, and apparently they knew, but I did not know, so they kept secrets from me.”
Nominations for the award were received by the association from leaders in the Frankfort community, including Chief Scott Shoemaker with the Frankfort Police Department and more. During the presentation of the award, Pratt’s work within the Clinton County community was highlighted as the driving force behind the association’s decision.
Pratt and the staff at Center Township have been immense supporters of Home for the Night, which is located within the basement of the Center Township building on Alhambra Avenue, where Center Township supports the staff and those in need at the shelter by providing information on food stamps, disability and much more while also paying for the utilities. Center Township also works closely with the Frankfort Police Department, and the staff provided virtual reality training equipment for the officers to experience different scenarios within the safety of the station. Center Township also worked closely with the United Way for Clinton County during the summer food program where the organization funded the payroll until the United Way’s grant was able to reimburse Center Township. Pratt recalled that another program highlighted was Center Township’s funding of after school programs at CORE Community Center for Center Township residents.
Pratt stated that the letter that was read to introduce her for the award contained numerous other programs that Center Township helps organize and fund, and she stated that many projects may continue to develop in the future.
“There’s a few things that I would love to do, but I’m trying to figure out how I can accomplish them first,” Pratt said. “Any time that I have an idea, I go to an organization in the community that I think could help me through it, and they always step up.”
Pratt continued to express that she believes the award was a representation of the community and the staff at Center Township in partnership with the work that has been completed under her administration.
“All the organizations in Frankfort really help us, and it’s good to be community partners with them,” Pratt said. “If I didn’t have them, I wouldn’t be able to do anything I do. It’s because of them that I got that award honestly, and my office staff is amazing.”
Pratt stated that the role of Center Township Trustee has embedded in her a vast array of problem-solving skills and knowledge that she has utilized to continue the work of previous trustees and projects that she has started since securing her position in 2020.
“I learn stuff every day,” Pratt said. “I worked in the office under Kevin Evans when he was trustee, so he taught me a lot. I think that’s why I have the initiative that I do to do so many programs because he was always involved in the community, and I kind of learned that from him. Every day is a learning experience because I always run into different questions and stuff in the office that I’m not for sure of, so I’m always calling somebody and asking what I should do about different things.”
Center Township helps community members with cremations, utilities, housing, whether the housing involves rental or mortgage payments, food, clothing, prescriptions and more. Pratt commented that if Center Township is unable to help with a specific request, the staff will refer the individual to the organization best equipped to solve any problem. Residents outside of Center Township may contact the organization for help and advice on how to contact their trustee.
“Center Township’s always available even if our office isn’t open,” Pratt said. “They can still call the number, and I can come in and work with them after hours. They don’t have to come in 9 to 3. My schedule’s pretty much 24/7. I work around the needs of the community.”
Center Township may be contacted by calling 765-357-9100 or visiting 250 Alhambra Avenue in Frankfort. All assistance requests require a scheduled appointment with an initial interview that may take up to 45 minutes to an hour to best address a resident’s needs.