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Odell Deserves All in Putnam to Thank Her for Exemplary Service

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Many of us think about making a community a better place, but it’s the rare person who comes up with a plan, puts in the hard work, motivates those around her and actually builds an organization that improves the life of a community and its residents. 

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell is that rare person. She has worked hard to make life better for our children, our town and our county for nearly 30 years. 

Now that she is wrapping up her public service as county executive at the end of this year, it is time for Carmel to say thank you.

In 1995, MaryEllen Odell had not yet entered politics, but she saw that children in town needed more opportunity. So, she stepped up and co-founded the Carmel Sports Association. Its mission was to develop programs that “teach sports fundamentals, good sportsmanship, self-confidence, self-discipline, competitiveness, and teamwork in a positive and safe environment.”

Anyone who attended Carmel High School’s homecoming games and celebrations saw that mission accomplished.

At every home football game, the Rams run onto the field waving American flags. We have MaryEllen to thank for that. She has arranged for the team to use the flags, which are displayed in salute to veterans along the shore of Lake Gleneida from Memorial Day to Veterans Day each year. Waving those flags not only builds school spirit and excitement for the game, it teaches our students respect for country and for the veterans and active service members who sacrifice to keep the U.S. safe. 

Last spring, when the Rams won the state football championship, MaryEllen was their biggest cheerleader. But she wasn’t only celebrating the Rams, she was cheering for the small town and the small county that was able to produce a team that could win against bigger and better-funded school rivals. She helped organize a parade through the hamlet of Carmel, the county seat, that brought the whole community out to share in the victory.

In the five years she served on the Putnam County Legislature and the 11 years she served as county executive, MaryEllen always made sure to share the victories and give credit to the county employees, her administrative team and the many residents who volunteer to make Putnam County great.   

Now it’s time for us to cheer for MaryEllen, a proud Carmel High School graduate who worked hard to make our community stronger for generations to come.    

Debra Heitman-Cayea
Longtime Carmel School Community Volunteer


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