Manly Monday: Interview with Eric Simanton

Eric Simanton, a 64-year-old accountant with Indiana Northeaster Railroad, has been matched with his Little Brother Kody, 17, for 10 years.

Why did you decide to become a Big?

Eric Simanton: I felt like I needed to be involved in the community.

Were you nervous about becoming a Big?

Eric Simanton: No, not really. I went to a meeting, and it seemed like it was pretty easy.

Did you hear about Big Brothers through a friend or a company appearance? What was that like?

Eric Simanton: I was at the library in Kendallville and I saw something about it.

How long did it take you and your little to match up and feel comfortable with each other?

Eric Simanton: It didn’t take very long, maybe a month. We kind of matched right off the bat. They do a good job matching and it was just an instant connection as we started hanging out.

What are some of your favorite things to do with Kody?

Eric Simanton: We’ve been to miniature golf, we’ve been to car shows and sometimes we just come up here and play basketball. Sometimes just hanging out together is great.

How quickly did you realize you were having fun, too?

Eric Simanton: Oh, it was right away.

What’s the best thing about being a Big?

Eric Simanton: Just the camaraderie, just having somebody that you can know as your friend.

Has it ever been challenging?

Eric Simanton: Yeah, during Covid you have to figure out what you can do and when you can see each other. That made it tough. Now he’s got his license and stuff and it’s just been difficult because he’s busy going to work and stuff and I work. That’s been the hardest part.

How often do you talk to your friends about becoming a Big?

Eric Simanton: There are a couple of people at church I talk to, but for the most part not a whole lot.

What have you gotten out of being a Big?

Eric Simanton: Just the fact that I’ve met somebody, another family and became friends with them. It’s a great experience.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana has a waiting list of more than 400 children hoping to meet their Big Brother, Big Sister or Big Couple. More than 300 of those are boys, so we’re introducing “Manly Mondays” to ask men throughout the area why they enjoy being a Big Brother. To volunteer for the program or get more information, call 260-456-1600 or go to our website to fill out a volunteer form

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