WILMINGTON — The new year for Ruth Brindle began with some great news.
She was appointed the new co-director of Main Street Wilmington on Jan. 12 after being chosen as interim co-director on Jan. 2.
The road to this began in the fall of 2017. Brindle talked to co-directors Darcy Reynolds and Julie Bolton about possibly becoming a volunteer coordinator for Main Street — Brindle had volunteered at some of their previous events.
Around that time Bolton was relocating to New Hampshire because her own business was expanding. The conversation then turned to Brindle being the new co-director.
“They knew that I was really interested in getting back into the non-profit world,” said Brindle. “Specifically in some kind of role to make Wilmington thrive.”
She has had what she described as a longtime relationship with Main Street Wilmington. She was not only a volunteer and attendee at previous Main Street events, she also worked directly with them in the past when she worked at the Quaker Heritage Center at Wilmington College.
This new position came after she, along with other college employees, were laid off in 2017 after she had worked there for 14 years.
She then started working at the General Denver as a server; she expresses her gratitude to general manager Jen Purkey and owners Mark and Molly Dullea for hiring her, which relieved financial worries.
While she described this part of her life as hard, she now looks at it in a different light.
“Looking back on it now, it’s been this amazing opportunity for me to rethink what I want to do, where I want to do it and why I’m here in Wilmington,” she said.
Friends and colleagues were telling her about other job opportunities in other cities and states. While she saw some good possibilities, her passion had evolved into trying to help Wilmington thrive and benefit the broader community.
“What it came to was I don’t what I’m going to do, but I know where I’m going to do it,” she said.
While she was born in Richmond, Indiana and lived in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania during her teenage years, she can still remember the moment when wanted to plant her feet in Wilmington.
“I was at the General Denver the night that ECC (Energize Clinton County) was up for the DoSomething Award. They had (the event) on the big TV and everybody was there. I had this moment of ‘Look at all these amazing people doing amazing things. I don’t want to leave,’” she said.
Before she worked at Wilmington College, she got her bachelor’s in history during her undergrad years, then went on to receive her master’s at the University of South Carolina for public history, with a museum studies concentration and a minor focus on historic preservation.
The first month on the job already has her working on big projects for the coming year — one of them being placing markers on historic downtown buildings, a project she’s excited to work on.
“That’s been a fun thing to dive into. There’s still the technical end of getting quotes, vendors, and working on the design. But it’s been a great first project for me in the way of pulling together my past life into this current role,” she said.
Other future projects including the big Third Friday concert in July with Over-the-Rhine — during the Murphy Theatre’s 100th anniversary celebration — and about new events like a craft beer rally and chili cook-off in October.
“I feel really lucky to have this opportunity to allow me to do things I love, pull from my professional background, and do it in a place that I love,” Brindle said.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574