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Michael B. & Beth A. Lett

“Philanthropy can be as simple as smiling at someone.” The wise words of a Loogootee farm girl, Beth Lett, should be inspirational to us all. Beth is a great example of what it means to be a philanthropist. Beth is a retired school teacher who has spent a majority of her life within Martin County. She grew up on a farm with five brothers and sisters who all attended college and who she still stays in touch with to this day. Beth studied education at Indiana State University located in Terre Haute, Indiana. She later married attorney Michael Lett. She has one son and one grandson whom she enjoys spending free time with when she is not exploring the world. Beth travels internationally and loves to experience the variety of cultures around the world. Presently she is active in her church in choir, as co-chairman of funeral dinners, and visitation.  She also serves in the local Youth First program.   Her past support includes the Martin County 4-H Council, CAPE, and the Martin County Community Foundation.

When Beth was asked why she decided to establish a fund with our community foundation, many things came to mind. First and foremost, Beth wanted to honor her husband, Michael Lett, who served Martin County as an attorney for years before his passing. He was a kind-hearted, respected man who is missed dearly. Mike served as the county attorney and offered many pro-bono legal services. He was very instrumental in the construction of the Martin County Security Center, the first legal advisor for Martin County Habitat for Humanity, and a past president of the Chamber of Commerce.  

Both Michael and Beth had giving attitudes, even when it was easier to be pessimistic as Michael became ill. This attitude was not a trait that simply appeared one day. Beth grew up in a family that was always giving. She observed philanthropy at a young age. Her parent’s active volunteerism inspired her to continue her philanthropic duties. This is where she learned the many ways to be a philanthropist. “Philanthropy is giving donations to a community foundation, but it is also giving a smile to the person you walk by on the street.” This is such a true and respectable quote that Beth lives by. Her smile and kind personality lights up a room, and can inspire anyone she speaks with to become more active within Martin County. Her parents instilled in her early that one must work to be successful, and this is exactly what both Michael and Beth did. As stated earlier, Michael served as an attorney for many years as Beth shaped the minds of young individuals in the classroom. Mrs. Lett taught for 34 years, with the early years in Bedford and in Kentucky, and later serving most of her teaching years in her hometown of Loogootee where she now resides. As a teacher, Beth touched hundreds of young lives. She met them at the door with a smile that encouraged them to live and learn. Her students have spread near and far, but the feeling of worth and value Beth supplied is still near and dear to their hearts.

 With all this being said, it is easy to see why such great things are said about the Lett family. They have given three very important things- time, talent, and treasure. Beth established an unrestricted fund called the Michael B. & Beth A. Lett Fund for Martin County. This fund addresses the changing and emerging needs within our county. Beth mentions how “Philanthropy is within the Community Foundation. I am proud of our community because the needs are being helped by philanthropic organizations like this one that understand our county.” Martin County is something to be proud of, as is the Community Foundation. Thank you, Beth, for the years of service on our Board, for establishing a fund that focuses on Martin County’s future, and for sharing your giving attitude with everyone around you.

 

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