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Rusty Newton was raised tending to cows and crops on his family's dairy and tobacco farm in Shelby County, but he has spent the last 22 years tending to many other needs of Shelby Countians.
And today, Newton, the executive director for the Multi-Purpose Community Action Agency, is retiring after spending the last seven of those years in the agency's top position.
MPCAA works on behalf of elderly, low-income and at-risk individuals and families to help them improve and stabilize their daily living situations, and Newton has been dedicated to that mission.
"Just serving the community, being a part of it and helping people -- seniors and low-income families -- it's been great," Newton, 54, said.
"Rusty is just an all around good person," Shelbyville Mayor Tom Hardesty said. "He's done an excellent job, and he's going to have [leave] some big shoes to fill."
To fill those shoes, MPCAA's Board of Directors has hired Kim Embrey, directory of of the Perry County Community Foundation in Tell City, Ind.
Embrey will start Monday, and Newton said he would be working off-and-on with her for a transition period before stepping out of the picture.
But today will be a celebration of Newton's career, with a retirement party schedule from 5 to 7 p.m. today at the Stratton Community Center.
Hardesty said Newton has helped a lot of citizens over the years and commended him for being instrumental in asking the city to use the old swimming pool site as a food distribution center.
"That's provided a lot of meals for a lot of people," Hardesty said.
Newton also helped establish the Adult Day Care Program, and he said he is pleased with the growth of the agency's impact in the community.
Newton said his retirement plans include relaxing and traveling for about a year and maybe trying something new after that.
"It's been a pleasure," he said. "I want to thank the community for the support they give the agency, and I hope they continue to do that."