Meet the RCCF Board: Karen Brashaber

Did you know it’s more common to be born on February 29th than on December 25th? Maybe that’s what makes RCCF Board Member, Karen Brashaber so special. We think there’s more to it than that, though.


“I was born on a snowy Christmas day in West Lafayette, Indiana to Kenneth and Sharlene Sue Masters,” began Karen as she relayed her story. In fact, she did such an excellent job that there’s really no sense in trying to rewrite it. We’ll let Karen’s words do all the talking.


“After my dad finished at Purdue, we moved to Knightstown where my parents farmed alongside my grandparents. When I was 8, my parents bought a farm in northern Rush County, and I have lived in Rush County ever since. I met and married Phil Brashaber in 1984, and we raised our three children, Keith, Julie, and James, in Rush County. Although our children have moved away, Rush County is our home, and we are blessed to live in this community.”


“Phil and I are active members of Center Christian Church. I help lead worship and teach a Women’s Bible study there. Besides serving on the RCCF Board, I am also the secretary of the Rushville Public Library Board. I am a member of Tri Kappa Associates, P.E.O, and the Rush County Chorale. I also spent several years volunteering with Briar Patch Players, Rush County Youth Soccer and Optimist Soccer.”


“I graduated from Hanover College in 1983 with a B.A. in Mathematics. My first job was as a micro design specialist at the corporate offices of Hooks Drug Store Company (Now CVS). After two years, I could no longer deny my heart for teaching, and I returned to Hanover to finish my student teaching and Ball State to obtain my Masters’ Degree. I taught mathematics at New Castle Chrysler High School for 11 years and then was finally able to return to my alma mater, Rushville Consolidated High School where I have taught mathematics for the past 24 years. I coached the academic team for 23 years and coached girls’ soccer for seven years. If anyone needs to find me on a Friday or Saturday night, I can generally be found at high school football or basketball games selling tickets.”


I love the farmland in Rush County as well as the small-town life in Rushville. My life has revolved around church, school, sports, and music, and all of these can be found right here. Where else can you learn how to sing while attending a workshop in a barn in Homer? Where else does the whole town close up to follow a basketball team on their way to a championship game? When I tell people who are not from here that I buy great wedding gifts and stylish clothing at the Rushville Pharmacy, they think I’m crazy. Our kids come home and always want us to order out from Pizza King or El Reparo. But the best part of Rush County is the people who live here and who support each other through good times and bad. I love my hometown!


“I first remember getting involved with RCCF as I helped set up a scholarship in memory of Jeff Hufford, a teacher, speech coach, and long-time director of Briar Patch Players. My children applied for and received several RCCF scholarships, including our son James as a Lilly Scholar. I was so excited when Dr. Suellen Reed called me and asked me to become a RCCF Board member in 2017. I have tried to use my time on the Board to ‘pay it forward’.”


I have come to realize that RCCF does so much more for our community. There are very few organizations in this community that have not been impacted or supported by RCCF in some way. I want people to know that RCCF is a grant-making organization that is making this community an even better place to live and work. I am so excited that we received the Lilly Endowment $5,000,000 grant for the REC center and for the preparations that we are making to become leaders for many more exciting community projects.”


We always like to ask a few fun questions that make our subjects think and give you a little more insight into some of our favorite folks. Here goes:


What was the best gift you ever gave and why?
“One of the best gifts I ever gave was to celebrate my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary in 2019. My sister and I rented a cabin in the mountains of Tennessee (the one beloved feature that Rush County does not have) and our entire family was able to spend 5 days together there. We had such fun telling stories, playing games, sharing and making memories. In light of the current pandemic, I cannot think of a better gift than time spent with family.”


What is one of your favorite books or movies? Why?
“My favorite book is the Bible. I have read through the Bible multiple times, and each time I read it, I receive an answer, a thought, or a sense of peace that is just what I need. It is my lifeline. Although the Bible is hard to beat, I have also read all of John Grisham’s books and most of Lisa Scottoline’s books, each with a law background and a great gift of storytelling.”


If someone gave you a million dollars with the catch that you have to give it away, what would you do with it?

“I can’t imagine having a million dollars, but honestly, I don’t think it would take too long to give it away. I would certainly give some to my church and to my family. After that, I would focus on giving it away so that the money would have maximum impact on educational opportunities and community outreach. And since I’m a Christmas baby, maybe I would just take all the tags off of a giving tree and buy all the gifts listed on the tags. That would be a Merry Christmas and a Happy Birthday for me!”


This feature doesn’t just tell you about Karen’s life. It also tells you about the kind of person she is – thoughtful, hard-working and fun! When she commits herself to a project, she goes all in. We can always count on Karen to bring fresh ideas to the table along with ways to implement them. She is such a valuable member of the RCCF team; we’re grateful to have her and her skill set at our service!

Like this? Share it:

Comments are closed for this post.