It takes a lot of hard work and organization to run an office, and at the law office of Rhame, Elwood, & McClure, that hard work is done by Edna Elwood, Office Manager and Bookkeeper. But her work doesn’t end there. It filters into the community, too.
With a long history of working in the legal field, Elwood uses her particular skill set to ensure that operations run smoothly at Rhame, Elwood, & McClure. Her days are filled with taking care of payroll, caring for clients’ trust accounts, and managing the office.
“Every day, there’s something different to do,” she said.
Elwood started her career at the age of 19 when she worked for Dave Butterfield in his law office. She then took a job as a secretary for John Rhame’s office. When Rhame brought Ken Elwood into his firm, he and Edna sparked a romance and eventually married.
Elwood went to work for Judge Julia Jent as an assistant bailiff for the judge and then on to work as Sheriff David Reynold’s secretary. She then decided to take a couple of years off to be a stay-at-home-mom, but eventually was drawn to jump in and help out at Rhame, Elwood, & McClure. It brought her back to her roots in a law office.
“I feel like my legal experience over the years has come full circle,” she said. “From first working in the criminal law side to working with the sheriff and the police side, then working for the courts with Judge Jent, and now with my current job with the bookkeeping side of the legal field.”
Throughout her time in the legal field, Elwood was never one to shy away from helping others.
“I enjoyed working with John Rhame and his family law. I would get to know the clients who came in and help them with their issues,” she said. “If they were in need of clothes, I’d go through my kids’ closets and gather clothes to give them.”
Her work with Sheriff Reynolds opened her eyes to a greater need in the Portage and greater Porter County communities. After learning of a rave that was raided by the sheriff’s department, Elwood, whose daughter was then in middle school, realized that many parents weren’t aware of what was happening with their children.
“There were so many things that I saw and shocked me as a mom and I thought, ‘If I don’t now know about this after working in the legal field for so many years and with a husband who’s a criminal defense attorney, there must be more parents out there who, like me, aren’t aware of what’s going on.’ So I started the drug education forum,” Elwood said.
The drug education forum started as a one-night event at Willowcreek Middle School to educate parents. More than 500 people showed up to the event, and many recognized the need for more.
“I got quite a bit of feedback and was approached by a few people who thought it would be a good idea to do this county-wide,” Elwood said.
To better educate schools, parents, and others throughout the county, Elwood worked with Sheriff Reynolds and several others to put on a county-wide drug forum at the Porter County Expo Center.
“A lot of good information was put out there for parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. I used my resources from all of my various jobs to get people to the event and to inform them,” she said. “Anyone who was working with teens was able to learn and able to recognize if their teen or anyone else around them had a drug problem.”
Setting an example was important to Elwood.
“I enjoy meeting people, learning about people, and helping people. I want my kids to learn about people in our community and that it’s important to help,” she said. “Working with your community, you get to see all different aspects of people’s lives and I think that’s important for kids to see. It makes them more caring as human beings. It’s really important for your kids to see what else is out there that lets them get involved.”
When she’s not at work, you’ll find Elwood with her children and granddaughter. She also enjoys gardening and bird-watching, which her family has learned to love as well.
“I’ve pretty much got all of my family addicted to my little birds now. We’ve got bird feeders in our front tree and we’ll look out the window to check out the new birds we get each day,” she said.
For more information on Rhame, Elwood, & McClure, visit their website at http://rhameandelwood.com/.