New Castle News

Local News

April 29, 2013

Making a Difference: Local woman constantly giving back to the community

NEW CASTLE — When her two young daughters asked to put a lemonade stand in the yard of their home, Jan Grigsby readily agreed.

“Sure,” Jan told them. “You can keep half of the money for yourself and donate the other half to a charity of your choice.”

Although the girls were only 6 and 10 years old at the time, the mandate came as no surprise to them.

Grigsby is a giver — of herself, her time, her money, her talents — and those nearby just seem to fall in line behind her.

“Jan is the best person I’ve ever known in my life,” said her best friend, Lauren Cotton. “She makes everyone around her want to be a better person.”

That certainly seems to be the case.

Grigsby’s daughters, Rachel and Carly Edman, made a pretty penny that summer over a decade ago, and they picked the Lawrence County Humane Society as their charity. Not surprisingly, once Jan walked into the humane society with her daughters’ donation, she never left.

She has become not only a volunteer patron, but a member of the board of directors at the humane society.

Her love of animals, though, is just the tip of the iceberg for this pretty lady from the North Hill who was nominated by Cotton as Lawrence County’s latest Person who Makes a Difference in the Community.

A FAST FRIENDSHIP

Grigsby and Cotton met some 20 years ago when Cotton visited the home of Grigsby and her husband, Neal Edman, who were looking for a caregiver for newborn Rachel.   “We interviewed her, looked at each other and nodded,” Grigsby said. “We were so worried about finding someone we could trust with our daughter, but after a short time with her, we just knew.”

Cotton says she knew, as well.

“I won the lottery that day,” she said. “Little did I know that it was a day that was going to change my life forever.”

Cotton says she has watched in wonder and amazement as Grigsby has woven her magic throughout the community.

In the case of the lemonade stand at the corner of North Mercer Street and Fairfield Avenue, Grigsby turned every kid’s summertime fun and moneymaking activity into a life lesson.

“They had quite a little business,” Grigsby said. “All the neighbors patronized it, policeman driving by in their patrol cars would stop. Once everyone on a city bus got off and bought lemonade.”

The girls were featured in the humane society newsletter in an article titled, “Turning lemons into love.”

“I wanted them to understand,” Grigsby said, “that when some good fortune comes your way, you should always think about giving back.”

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