Scott County has always been home for Richie Buchanan.
“I couldn’t feel comfortable [outside of Scott County]. I’m my best person here,” Buchanan said why he chose Scott County to live, work, and raise a family.
It is not enough for Buchanan and his family to call Scott County home though — they all work to make it a better place.
“We have a family motto: ‘Always strive to improve yourself, your family, and your community,’” Buchanan said.
The strong belief in civic duty and service began with Buchanan’s grandfather, who served on the first town council in Austin. His grandfather was also a business owner, owning the local funeral home and a furniture store. The lessons from his grandfather were instilled into his grandfather’s children and later into his grandfather’s grandchildren.
“I admired that, and I tried to live up to some of the things they’ve done,” Buchanan said. “It did resonate with me.”
When it came time for Buchanan’s generation to start serving their community, Buchanan took that family motto to heart with owning a business in Scott County, being a member of the City of Austin Redevelopment Commission, and raising his family in a community where he knows his neighbors. Buchanan also served on the Austin City Council the first year Austin was named a city, following in his grandfather’s footsteps.
“If I am going to live here, I want it to be the best it can be,” Buchanan said.
To help Scott County be the best it can be, Buchanan and the City of Austin Redevelopment Commission have worked to expand the Austin Community Park, adding walking trails in 2016 and an archery range, which will be opening soon. The Redevelopment Commission took action to tear down buildings in Austin that were deemed unsafe, abandoned or vacant. The city received a grant from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority to complete the project.
“We have things we can be proud of,” Buchanan said. “[The improvements] have totally changed the look and feel of that park. It is very attractive and a great addition to this community.”
Not only does Buchanan serve the local government, but he is also a member of the Austin Lions Club, served on the Scott County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for six years, served as a board member for the Scott County YMCA, and is a member of the I Am Scott County initiative.
Buchanan’s house is also part of Scott County’s history. His three-story brick house was built by Ivan C. Morgan and his wife, Fern, in 1918. Morgan helped his father, Joseph S. Morgan, organize a canning plant named the Morgan Packing Co. Now, more than 110 years later, the company still stands in Austin as Morgan Foods. After I.C. Morgan died in 1949, the house was passed onto his daughter, Dr. Margaret E. Morgan, who was the first female to be the Indiana Mental Health Commissioner. Four years after Dr. Morgan’s death, the house was put up for sale, and Buchanan saw the opportunity to live in town and to own his forever home.
“Owning this house was luck and opportunity coming together,” Buchanan said. “I grew up in town. I was set to stay in town.”
Along with his historic home, Buchanan owns a business that has an extensive history in Scott County. When Buchanan was a mortgage broker in Louisville, he had dreams of owning his own business in his hometown.
“I always wanted to have my own business,” Buchanan said.
Then, an opportunity to join Marley Insurance Agency became available. The owner, Tom Marley, was looking to sell the business. After a few years as an agent, Buchanan became a partner in 2007. That year, the company joined the ISU Network of Independent Agencies to become ISU Insurance and Investment Group. Five years later, Buchanan became the owner of ISU Insurance and Investment Group, which offers personal, business, and life insurance products for individuals and businesses.
A year later, Buchanan was approached by Martin Insurance Agency, an insurance company with a history of more than 100 years in the community. The two companies merged, retaining the name of ISU Insurance and Investment Group. The newly-merged companies remained on the Scottsburg Courthouse Square, where Martin Insurance Agency was located for more than 40 years.
“Personally, the connections are the best part of doing business in Scott County,” Buchanan said. “The cost of doing business is lower. People like to do business locally. There is a loyalty there. The support system for businesses is strong. The Chamber of Commerce is active and involved.”