ORLEANS, Ind.–In 1999 Adam Bennett joined the U.S. Marines and left Orange County, Indiana. Now he’s come back, bringing his wife and child, to live permanently in his home county, thanks to the “Choose Southern Indiana” program, which pays people $5,000 to relocate to Daviess, Dubois, Greene or Orange counties, and stay.
“I grew up n this area. My dad was in the construction business. My family always farmed in this area,” he said.
LISTEN: Adam Bennett talks about why he moved back after more than 20 years away.
Bennett stayed in the Marines on and off for the next 13 years, moving first to California.
“I got out the last time in 2012. I had a friend who lived in Costa Rica. I went down there to visit him and just never came home. I met my wife and we had a little girl,” said Bennett.
He heard about the “Choose Southern Indiana” incentive through a friend and looked into it. The program is similar to incentives being offered by programs in other states to attract talent. Bennett qualified as a retired military member. His wife is a school teacher.
“Talent attraction is an emerging aspect of economic development, and we are excited to see the traction our program is getting,” said Jeff Quyle, president and CEO of Radius Indiana.
“We are taking a rural regional approach to this program and our region is working together to allow each county to focus on the particular demographic groups they want to encourage. We know that the rural lifestyle, the ability to easily interact with school and community leaders and neighbors, and the safety of our communities are very attractive and can draw people to a very positive lifestyle change.”
Bennett agrees that his hometown lifestyle was a factor that attracted him back.
“Currently I’m living in Orleans and it’s a great little town, just a good place to raise a family. Small town vibe, friendly neighbors, friendly people, all that stuff that you look for when you settle down with your family,” he said.
As his wife looks forward to teaching once her immigration situation is worked out, Bennett is still figuring out his next career move.
“I’ve been helping my dad out with the construction business ad the farm here and there. I’ll be looking for something permanent after the first of the year.”
But, he is certain that he and his family are staying where they are. The incentive requires the recipient to stay in their home county for at least two years before the pauout.
Bennett’s family is one of four to take advantage of the program, which began in July.