Bicentennial Man: 2023 Person of the Year Lanane led celebration of Madison County's 200th birthday

Faced with the question of how Madison County would celebrate its 200th birthday, county officials turned to Tim Lanane.

Lanane served 25 years representing Madison County in the Indiana Senate, has been a city attorney during the terms of two Anderson mayors and worked in the county prosecutor’s office.

“That’s a surprise,” Lanane said of being named the 2023 Community Person of the Year by The Herald Bulletin Editorial Board. “It’s an honor. There are so many other people who do great things in the community.”

Lanane said being chairman of the bicentennial committee was a labor of love and noted that so many people helped.

“Other people came on board as events were being planned,” he said, “the Little Bit Country concert and the Paramount Theatre with the silent movie night.

“It was really neat to see the other communities participate,” Lanane said, noting that cities and towns across the county got involved in the celebration. “It was a challenge.”

At least 85 bicentennial events were conducted during 2023.

Lanane said county historian Steve Jackson and the Madison County Historical Society were instrumental in the effort. Lanane also talked with people who organized Anderson’s 150th anniversary celebration for ideas.

“Honestly, Tim was interested in the position and volunteered himself,” Madison County Commissioner John Richwine said of appointing Lanane to lead the bicentennial committee.

“It wasn’t on anybody’s radar, but something he was thinking about and wanted to participate in,” Richwine said. “It was a simple process because he had the desire and knowledge to do it.

“It was an easy selection, and Tim did an excellent job. Tim had all the connections and ideas that everyone piggybacked off of.”

Richwine said county officials were thankful he had the time and desire to do it.

“When I got the call, I told them I had to talk it over with my partner,” Lanane said. “My spouse, Cindy, became a co-chair.

“It’s great community,” he said of Madison County. “It gave me an appreciation of our heritage and history and what has been accomplished over the years.”

Lanane noted that Madison County is a diverse community and efforts were made to highlight that diversity in the celebration.

“What a great county not just in Indiana, but the country,” he said, “a leader in manufacturing over the years.”

A 1970 graduate of Anderson High School, Lanane had an interest in becoming an attorney because of a desire to be involved in the political process.

He met his wife, Cindy, while in law school and working as an intern in the Madison County prosecutor’s office. She was working in the court system.

In the State Legislature, Lanane was elected leader of the minority Senate Democrats in 2012.

During the past two decades, Lanane has been an advocate for creating a redistricting commission in Indiana.

“I’ve known Tim for a lot of years,” Anderson Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. said. “We practiced law together starting in 1990 and remained in the same office until 2006.”

Broderick said Lanane has always been a public servant.

“He has always represented the community well,” the mayor explained. “He treated everyone in a proper way, regardless of politics.”

Broderick said Lanane was always willing to advocate for the betterment of the community and never hesitated to step up and fight for what he believed was right.

“In the legislature, Tim had a lot of great respect from the other lawmakers,” Broderick noted.

Now that the bicentennial has passed, Lanane said he will continue to practice law and intends to spend time traveling with Cindy.

The Lananes traveled to Italy in 2022, and the couple is planning a second trip next year.

“What a great experience,” he said. “The country is beautiful; the food was great and the people were very welcoming.”

Much of the same could be said for Madison County during its bicentennial year, thanks to Lanane and the many others who volunteered their time.

This article appeared in The Herald Bulletin.