Jon Scherle considers himself a local.
Originally from Jasper, Scherle moved to Terre Haute in 1998 to attend Indiana State University. Looking back on the 17 years he’s lived in the Wabash Valley, he says it’s become home.
“Basically, I have spent more time in Terre Haute than I did actually in Jasper,” he says. “So I guess I am officially a Hautean.”
Even before becoming “official,” Scherle, a commercial loan officer at First Financial Bank, adopted Terre Haute as his home, diving into community involvement including Terre Haute Young Leaders, the United Way of the Wabash Valley, Downtown Terre Haute Inc. and the Special Olympics.
“I obviously want to see the place [where] I am going to raise my kids be the best place it can possibly be,” he says. “Who wouldn’t as a parent? I want to do my part and what I can to improve it and make it great.”
While he’s committed to the community, Scherle admits it wasn’t always that way. When he began at ISU as an accounting major, he had plans to gain an education and move on.
“I can remember coming here for school freshman year and all I could think about was graduating and wanting to leave. Now, I know that sounds bad, but over time and the next three years, the city grew on me,” he explains. “I saw Terre Haute as a place that could grow on me even more and over the last ten years, it really has.”
Over those 10-plus years, Scherle has morphed from a young college student into a successful business professional and family man. In 2008, he married wife Natalie, a teacher in the Vigo County School Corp. The couple has two adorable young daughters, 5-year-old Aubrey and 1-year-old Hadley.
With Aubrey in kindergarten, Scherle gets the chance to visit her at school occasionally, as he volunteers for the United Way Real Men Read program. He laughs when talking about the visits, saying he won’t be applying to be a teacher anytime soon.
“It’s exciting because you get to see the kids’ faces light up, but I couldn’t imagine being a kindergarten teacher,” he explains with a laugh. “The kids are all asking questions, one coming from one way, another from the other, and I’m just overwhelmed.”
Even though he’s surrounded by girls at home, the avid hunter and fisherman finds a way to share his hobbies with his family. On the weekends, you can find him setting up a tent for the girls in the back yard or teaching them the perfect fishing cast.
“The good thing about my girls is they are excited when I try to get them involved in outdoor activities,” Scherle says. “I try to get them involved in some things that I like myself, so we have more things in common. My oldest loves fishing.”
Getting his family involved in his passions doesn’t stop at his outdoor hobbies. As parents, Jon and Natalie say they make it a priority to bring the girls along to volunteer in the community. In the past, the family has spent time passing out ribbons at Special Olympics and setting up for the Downtown Terre Haute Block Party. Fellow volunteer and DTH Board member Judi Evelo says Scherle’s commitment to the cause always goes above and beyond.
“The thing I remember about Jon, the time I really knew he was a worker, not just at his profession, was at the Block Party. Here’s Jon early in the morning, getting set up, working, working, I saw him there forever,” Evelo explains. “Then, later in the afternoon, here he comes back and he had his family with him, and I thought most people would just come in, do their job and then walk away, but he is so engaged and such a good person.”
That opinion of Scherle is shared by many, especially his peers. In 2014, he was nominated and selected as the Terre Haute Young Leader of the Year. While the award is prestigious among young professionals, Scherle remains modest, saying the honor was somewhat “embarrassing.”
“Don’t get me wrong, I am totally honored by those things, but for me, I do those things to set a base for my kids to see how to do things and how to get involved in the community, and trying to make a difference where we live,” he says. “I don’t do it for recognition, I would just as soon fly under the radar.”
Flying under the radar may be easier said than done. With a successful job, loving family, full plate of community involvement and respect from his peers, this Hautean will no doubt continue to soar.