By Colette Bonavita—
Muncie, IN—In August, the family of Pat Botts, along with representatives of Northwest Bank and Muncie By5, dedicated the Pat Botts Free Children’s Library.
We invite families in the Muncie community to visit the library, located in Northwest’s 110 E. Charles St. office, and “take a book, leave a book”.
Pat, former MutualBank president and COO, passed away unexpectedly in October 2019, leaving a legacy of servant leadership and concern for the youth in the Muncie area.
He was a founding member of Muncie BY5, an organization dedicated to early child development and education, so it made sense to honor Pat with a library in his home away from home. Though Pat didn’t work for Northwest, the bank recognized the incredible impact he made at MutualBank and throughout his community.
On behalf of Pat’s family, his wife, Jane, said: “My family and I would like to thank the MutualBank Charitable Foundation and Northwest for honoring Pat with the Free Children’s Library. Pat cared deeply about fostering literacy and providing a better future for the youth in our community. This library will serve as a safe place for kids to access books which will develop and expand their love of reading.”
The free library models the BY5 initiative created to promote literacy and the love of reading with our youth. Anyone can ‘Take a book or leave a book” at no cost and no expectation for return.
Dave Heeter, region president of Northwest, said, “Opportunity through education was such an important part of Pat’s purpose. Providing a free library, dedicated to creating the opportunity for any and all to build a foundation through reading seemed to be a great way to honor Pat’s passion and legacy.”
Taking a page from the leadership example set by Pat, Northwest employees worked together to create the library. Pat’s friend and colleague, Chris Caldwell, and his father, Carl Caldwell, handcrafted and donated the library bookshelves. Current and former bank employees, Pat’s family and members of the community throughout the bank’s Indiana region sent in books and monetary donations to help fill the shelves.
“Pat Botts was an ideal servant to our community. Among so many other philanthropic activities, his love for Muncie Habitat for Humanity and By5 of Muncie and Delaware County was evident in his dedicated board service over the course of many years,” said Jim Williams, BY5 Board President. “Pat’s passion to serve our families and children through home ownership and early childhood education has benefitted literally thousands of people in our community. He always served with grace, intelligence and compassionate wisdom.”
“While Pat’s untimely death has been a source of profound grief for all who knew him, we are left with the indelible memory of the example set by him throughout his life about how we can and should serve our neighbors–with love and dedication,” he said. “Following that example, the Pat Botts Free Children’s Library is a perfect means to remember Pat and to continue his mission.”