Submitted photo. Ken and Sandra Lofland-Brown.
Submitted photo.

Ken and Sandra Lofland-Brown.
Determination; yes, indeed, complete determination is what this week's featured gal possesses. From a young child through her 75th birthday coming up, this gal has spent her life outbesting the best. As a teenager, she so wanted to go to college, but there was no money, and no student loans available at the time. However, her "firmness of purpose and resolve" led her to complete that education several years later (St. Mary-of-the-Woods in Social Work). Please read on to hear the rest of the story of this wow gal, Sandra Wheeler Lofland-Brown.

Sandy was born the 19th of September 1939 and is so looking forward to being ¾ of a century old. However, if you know Sandy, you'll assuredly agree that there is nothing about her demeanor that would suggest that age. A graduate of Linden High School, she married Luther Lofland shy of being 19 years old. They had almost five decades together, along with four fabulous children (Luther Jr.; Louanne; Linda and Lisa) then Luther was struck not once, but twice with cancer. He suffered greatly, but this determined lady was by his side all the way.

Her notation when grieving was that, "I'll never get married again or sell my house!" Within two years, she did both. It was Boy Scouts that brought Ken Brown into her life. He had recently lost his wife, Joyce, as well. Sandy was helping with an Eagle Scout project and needed some advice. Since Sandy knew Ken's impressive work in scouts, she e-mailed him for suggestions. That began a short e-mail relationship that ended-up in a date and marriage a few months later. Together, they have seven children (including Ken's two sons, Daniel and Philip, and daughter, Teresa); 15 grandchildren and two great grandchildren and they both love 'em all. Truly, Ken and Sandy are amazing with each other. They pray together; they work together; they laugh together and sooth each other in times of sorrow.

Breast cancer was one of the sorrowful times. Sandy wrote her fantabulous book (that I laughed and cried over, reading it in one setting), Cancer is Tough: Be Tougher during the time she was going through cancer treatments. Every step of the way, Ken was there, such as cutting a pattern so she could sew breast cancer pillows or getting her a lap top to work when she couldn't get out of bed. Researching together what Sandy needed to eat during the time, Ken would make her special meals. He's quite the chef, having been the cook for Scout Troop #326 for 40 years. Driving her in terrible Indianapolis traffic, often on yucky days, Ken stayed with her night and day, through surgeries (five in one year), treatments and appointments. He made her a chart to keep track of medicines and other pertinent information. Other family members were there, sending cards, meals, flowers and she really couldn't have done without her church families. A horrible ordeal, for sure, but Sandy is one tough and determined gal, and she did indeed outbest that big C! Sandy has many passions and her breast pillows (she received one and has made them since) are high on her list. She's made hundreds but would love some help on this project. (765-918-6045).

Another passion began 18 years ago and is ongoing. Dr. Marion Kirtley and Sandy began the Courthouse Tower Reconstruction project in 1996. With a large committee of 21 original members, having lost 17 to death, Sandy said, she, Jean Chadwick and Hubert Danzebrink are it. However, some good energetic ones have joined and now 12 are working on the project. Dr. Kirtley loved that tower and remembered it well. His mother was the first woman in the courthouse to have a political job (clerk); he would walk from home to Wabash College and back and forth and would hear the bells toll. So, it is not surprising that one of Dr. Kirtley's last requests was, "Sandy, promise me, you will finish the clock tower!" Dr. Kirtley's autobiography, Christmas ornaments, lighted miniatures, cups and many items have been money-makers for the project. $200, $300 and other small donations (compared to the $270,000 needed) here and there have rolled in for years. Several grants have been written. Sandy noted, "We are very optimistic the tower will be raised again in time for the Bi-Centennial celebrations in Indiana." Personally, I can't wait for that to happen as the old pictures of the courthouse with the tower are astounding!

Sandy has always been full of ideas and carries them out. One idea that is still quite essential in the Montgomery County schools is the Teacher-Friend Program (currently overseen by Joni Menard). It was over 40 years ago that Sandy began this great school agenda where volunteers are matched with students to give extra help with remedial work. Along with this program, Sandy has worked extensively keeping children safe. She spent over 30 years as the President of the Committee Against Sexual Abuse of Children and Child Abuse Prevention. Her work of teaching children about abuse is carried on through her wonderful song, "Yell and Tell," the use of puppets and many articles.

I first met Sandy in DAR. A non-stop worker for the group, she loves history and her country. Many other organizations have been blessed with Sandy's knowledge and virtual non-stop work, as well. Ken, retired from RR Donnelley's after 44 years in the Engineer Department joins in with her passions and she, his. They share everything, including the love of Christ as the center of their lives. Ken spent 50 plus years at United Methodist Church and Sandy the same at First Christian, so they switch every other week. Thus, here is just a touch of what Sandy Lofland-Brown is like, but you can believe me when I say she is one determined, tough, sweet gal!

Karen Zach is the editor of Montgomery Memories, a monthly magazine published by Sagamore New Media. Her columns are published Thursdays in The Paper of Montgomery County.