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Everyday

2012

HEROES

Real People • Real Stories • Real Victories

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1911

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Everyday Heroes

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September 13, 2012

Harkner-Abbs helps with teaching, dogs, rescues bobb@kpcnews.net ROME CITY — It wasn’t until recently, when someone pointed it out to her, that Jan Harkner-Abbs of Rome City realized something about her life. Someone said to her, “Everything you do is about helping people,” she recalled. Then she realized that was true, and that it’s where her passion is. For Harkner-Abbs, that passion started with training dogs to help people, and evolved into a rescue dog training operation that reaches to points across the United States, along with teaching special education students and working to help in emergencies with the Orange Township Fire Department. Dog training for police, tracking, obedience and protection work had been a hobby since she was 7, Harkner-Abbs said. She and husband Jim Abbs, both northeast Indiana natives, had moved to Wisconsin. “In 1992, when we moved back from Wisconsin, the fire chief in South Bend

found out I had working dogs,” HarknerAbbs said. “He asked me if I would become involved in training, since he needed search and rescue dogs.” The work with the dogs led HarknerAbbs into emergency medical work with the Orange Township Fire Department, and that in turn led to being on the volunteer fire department. Meanwhile, the dog training also took off, Harkner-Abbs said. “It started out small and then it escalated,” she said. “From there it’s snowballed.” Harkner-Abbs was deployed to use dogs to help with rescue and recovery efforts from Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana in 2004 and the hurricanes in Galveston, Texas, in 2005. She’s the Search and Rescue K9 coordinator for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security District 3 Task Force. She’s also trained dogs for arson and search and rescue purposes, and still does, through the Abbs K9 Training and See HARKNER-ABBS page 3

Jan Harkner-Abbs sits with her dog, Bodo, one of the dogs she’s trained for specialized work to help in emergencies. Harkner-Abbs is active at the national level with her rescue dogs, and locally with special education and emergency efforts.

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Welcome, and thank you! Northeast Indiana is a truly wonderful place to live for so many reasons. In the pages of this publication, we will show you just a few of those reasons — a few of the Everyday Heroes that live in our area. At KPC Media Group, we are so proud that there are so many wonderful people who give their time and talents to make our hometowns better places to live, and we are honored to introduce you to these people. They are your friends and neighbors, people who work or volunteer at the places you visit. We thank each and every one of these people for their service to our communities. You are what makes northeast Indiana great!

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September 13, 2012

Marge Malone Marge Malone of Howe is a business owner, but her real passion lies with fourlegged, furry friends. She is one of the founders of the Animal Welfare association, and she co-founded Ark Animal Rescue and Adoption Inc., which is now responsible for animal care and control for LaGrange County through Ark Animal Sanctuary, where she serves as executive director. FAVORITE VOLUNTEER OR SERVICE ACTIVITY: Rescuing animals. Ark started working with the LaGrange County Animal Shelter animals in 2005 because at that time very few animals were being adopted — most were euthanized. Since Ark’s involvement with the shelter, no adoptable animals have been euthanized due to an aggressive program to provide medical care and adoption facilitation. As of April 1 of this year, the LaGrange County Commissioners contracted with Ark to run the shelter, which has been renamed Ark Animal Sanctuary — a safe place for animals. Ark is a nonprofit organization that is governed by a fantastic volunteer board of directors. We have been blessed to have the people with the necessary stills to volunteer their time. In addition to helping sanctuary animals that are homeless through no fault of their own, Ark helps people who are in difficult financial situations to keep their animals at home by providing food through our Ark Pet Food Pantry. As of July 1, 2012, pet food has been provided to 285 families consisting of 629 dogs and 475 cats. This many family pets have been allowed to stay with their families rather than have to be given up because of a lack of food to feed them. An active program is being pursued to make sure animals are spayed or neutered to bring down the number of homeless pets in LaGrange County. REASON FOR BEING INVOLVED/SERVING OTHERS: When you have a passion for something you can’t help but be involved. Trust in God to open the doors and then have the faith to walk through. PERSON WHO HELPED TO SHAPE MY LIFE: My family absolutely helped shape my life. We loved animals and my mother had an innate ability to take of anything that needed caring for – kids and animals alike. FAVORITE INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE, BOOK, SONG, ETC.: Philippians 4:13 – “I can do

HARKNER-ABBS From page 2

Boarding Center, which also evaluates problem dogs. So what else does Harkner-Abbs do? She’s a consultant for special needs children through the Northeast Indiana Special Education Cooperative, and has worked in the field 33 years. She’s coached boys and girls high school pole vault at East Noble High School for 10 years. Since 1997, she’s been a firefighter, fire department instructor, safety officer and rescue SCUBA diver for the Orange Township Fire Department, for which she currently works as an emergency first responder. Harkner-Abbs loves working with the dogs because, whether they rescue someone or assist in recovering a body, they help the person’s loved ones. “In every situation, the dogs will help bring closure to families,” she said. One of her most vivid memories is of ice rescue efforts on Sylvan Lake. “We were put in a situation facing every possible barrier and having to work

PATRICK REDMOND

Marge Malone and friends

all things through Christ who strengthens me.” and “A hundred years from now, it will not matter the sort of house I lived in, what my bank account was, or the car I drove – but the world may be different because I was important in the life of the animals and the creatures on this earth.” – Author unknown. ADVICE FOR PEOPLE SEEKING TO BECOME INVOLVED: My advice for people seeking to be involved is follow your heart. If something piques your interest, find out if there is an organization working to address the problem. If there isn’t, start your own organization and find enough like-minded people to help you. If you’re part of the solution, you may be part of the problem. COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING SENTENCE: I am passionate about … animals because they give so much and ask so little. All they require is food, water, shelter and someone to love them. In return, they give you unconditional love, which you can only get from one other source — God.

Everyday Heroes

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through that to get those people off the ice,” she said. While lives have been lost, tragedy has driven the department to get better training and equipment to help save others down the line. What volunteers do isn’t possible without the support of others around them, such as employers and family, HarknerAbbs said. She was deployed for 30 days at a time at the hurricane sites, and still had her job waiting for her when she came back. That made the work possible, she said. “We forget that our communities, employers, friends and family volunteer to keep things going while we are gone. They are the real heroes,” Harkner-Abbs said. “There are many people in this community that help others in time of need,” Harkner-Abbs said. Her favorite memories are of inspiring a little girl to be what she wants to be as an adult, without gender restrictions, and watching young people she’s worked with grow up to be, as she said, “wonderful people who also volunteer and inspire others.” Harkner-Abbs’s advice is to volunteer. “Everyone has the ability to make this community great.”

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September 13, 2012

Ken Wilcoxson Ken Wilcoxson of Auburn has volunteered in many spheres, including Indian Village Church of God food bank, Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, Boy Scouts, Kiwanis and Gideons, according to Cathy Armstrong, who nominated him as an Everyday Hero. FAVORITE VOLUNTEER OR SERVICE ACTIVITY: Probably the food bank at our church (Indian Village) because that gives food to people who otherwise would be hurting. The other things I do are nice that but one’s the one where we’re really supplying a need. REASON FOR BEING INVOLVED/SERVING OTHERS: As far as Scouting, when I was a boy, somebody was doing that for me, so I felt you have to pay it ahead. As far as the Kiwanis, that’s a way we can help the community. We’re geared mainly towards youth. I’ve got a lot of faith in our youth; I know people bad-mouth them, but I don’t feel that way. They’re not any worse than we were. PERSON WHO HELPED TO SHAPE MY LIFE: My father. I can’t tell you how many times I remember him stopping helping somebody

Elaine Hostetler

PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

Ken Wilcoxson

with a flat tire, helping them out of a ditch, stuff like that. Or a neighbor’s doing a job and my dad would say, “I think he could use a hand,” and he’d go over and help them out. He was always doing that. Really, he should be getting this, not me. ADVICE FOR PEOPLE SEEKING TO BECOME INVOLVED: A lot of people say they don’t have the time, and that’s not right. You have time to do what you want to do. You can find time to do stuff. You don’t have to spend 24 hours a day. If you volunteer a couple days a week or a couple hours a week, you’d be surprised how much spare time you’ve got that could be turned into something besides twiddling thumbs. COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING SENTENCE: I am passionate 24 month/24,000 mile on Transmission Rebuild about … Jesus Christ, because he died for my sins. I had • Complete Diagnostic Testing people from way back that • Front & Rear Differential told me stuff about Him, and • 4 WD unfortunately I took sort of a circus route to get there, but I • Free Estimates look back and I can see times Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. even when I wasn’t following All Major Credit Cards Accepted Him that He was there and got Financing Available me through stuff that I should 307 W. Swager Dr., Fremont have been gone, and He wanted me to stick around and do some volunteer work.

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Elaine Hostetler of LaGrange is a retired middle school teacher, who retired in 2008 after more than 37 years teaching language arts. She volunteers for Habitat for Humanity in LaGrange County. FAVORITE VOLUNTEER OR SERVICE ACTIVITY: LaGrange County Habitat for Humanity Publicity committee. REASON FOR BEING INVOLVED/SERVING OTHERS: Families need a home. Several of our partner families had been students in my classroom and then, in the next generation, I taught children of Habitat partner families. Of course, the home context is a vital component of educational success. That’s what Habitat is about: providing stability for families by enabling them to purchase a home. And the families and the 100 or so volunteers involved in each home work together and learn from each other; everyone wins. My role in publicity has been an amazing learning process for me; building on my language arts background, I have had the opportunity to write, to photograph, and to create tools to communicate our events and our mission. Publicity’s scope has grown and broadened over my 15 years of involvement—from posters and newsletters to also include a Facebook page and a website. PERSON WHO HELPED TO SHAPE MY LIFE: Mrs. Breitigan, my grade 3 and grade 6 teacher. She taught it all: reading, writing, arithmetic, social studies, science, music, art, and life—including lifelong values and the importance of community (both within and outside of the school). FAVORITE INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE, BOOK, SONG, ETC.: Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. (Albert Einstein)

PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

Elaine Hostetler

ADVICE FOR PEOPLE SEEKING TO BECOME INVOLVED: Find something that you love and believe in, and pursue it. Volunteerism is a lifelong learning process. It’s a cliché that “it is in giving that we receive” because it’s true. COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING SENTENCE: I am passionate about … families; families need a consistent address, from which they can put down roots.

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September 13, 2012

Tom Bassett Tom Bassett of Auburn has led Boy Scout Troop 169 at the Auburn Presbyterian Church “for many, many years,” writes Shari Hook of Auburn, who nominated Bassett as an Everyday Hero. “He donates countless hours of his time and talent to develop and guide future generations of young men in our community. Tom doesn’t desire or expect recognition, but he deserves to be named an ‘Everyday Hero.’” PROFESSION: Part owner of Bassett Electric Motors, Inc., along with my brother Kevin Bassett. It is a family business that has been in operation for 50 years. FAVORITE VOLUNTEER OR SERVICE ACTIVITY: I have been a volunteer leader for the Boy Scouts since 1977 and a scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 169 since PHOTO CONTRIBUTED 1981. Tom Bassett REASON FOR BEING INVOLVED/SERVING OTHERS: When I was a youth in Boy Scout PERSON WHO HELPED TO SHAPE MY Troop 169 I had the benefit of having LIFE: My parents, Merle and Polly Bassett. several men who gave of their time, talent, They showed me by that by honest and and wisdom to a large group of boys and hard work one can make their dreams taught us different skills on how we could come true. become self-reliant. They also challenged FAVORITE INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE, BOOK, us to do the very best that we could do in SONG, ETC.: The beginning of the Boy all aspects of our young lives. I had the Scout Oath: “On my honor, I will do my privilege of becoming an Eagle Scout and best.” Our honor is about the only thing one of the things that the Boy Scouts of that is ours alone. We are known by our America challenge Eagle Scouts is to give integrity and our actions in all kinds of back to Scouting what we have learned. I situations. decided to stay involved in the troop after ADVICE FOR PEOPLE SEEKING TO I turned 18 years old. In 1981 our BECOME INVOLVED: Our young people Scoutmaster left that position and I agreed need all the help they can get to become to take the position of Scoutmaster on a participating citizens in our community. temporary basis until they could find a Do not be afraid to give and show them new Scoutmaster. I certainly did not support. anticipate that today I would still be in COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING SENTENCE: I that position. I am still involved today am passionate about … setting the proper because of the mission of the Boy Scouts example in my life, whether it be at work, of America: “…to prepare young people to home, Scouting, in my faith with God, or make ethical and moral choices over their in whatever I do, that it will inspire young lifetimes by instilling in them values…” people to do their best in their life.

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Lathan Snyder Lathan Snyder of Butler has worked as a volunteer director at the Filling Station Youth Center for many years, writes Dale Rabineau, who nominated Snyder as an Everyday Hero. “He has never taken a dollar in compensation, though most youth center director’s receive a full-time wage,” Rabineau added. “Despite his volunteer status, he works many hours each week to provide a safe, after-school haven to provide activities for youth in our area. He is a great role model and nearly every kid in Butler knows him.” PROFESSION: Volunteer/ministerial director for the Filling Station Youth Center, school bus driver for DeKalb Eastern school district and pastor of SeaBreeze Ministries. FAVORITE VOLUNTEERING ACTIVITY: Being able to minister to kids, and seeing their faces when they know you care. REASON FOR BEING INVOLVED/SERVING OTHERS: Kids want and need guidance in their lives; to be there for them, and to listen to their needs; to help when you can is very rewarding. PERSON WHO HELPED TO SHAPE MY LIFE: My mom. FAVORITE INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE, BOOK, SONG, ETC.: “Courage is being afraid, but saddling up anyway.” – John Wayne

PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

Lathan Snyder, ministerial director at the Filling Station Youth Center, works at the front check-in desk.

ADVICE FOR PEOPLE SEEKING TO BECOME INVOLVED: When kids see you volunteering your time to them, they know you really care about them. COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING SENTENCE: I am passionate about … family. Strong families enable a strong foundation in kid’s lives. They’ll get the guidance to be strong in life and make wise choices.

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September 13, 2012

Jerry Weller feels ‘born to serve’ BY KATHRYN BASSETT

kathrynb@kpcnews.net Jerry Weller’s philosophy is simple. “You are born to serve, not be served,” Weller said, in between chatting with customers at the Downtown Auburn Farmers’ Market. For Weller, serving God and others comes naturally. The lifelong Garrett resident has served a combined total of 24 years on the GarrettKeyser-Butler school board. Weller is not seeking re-election to the board and will retire from his seat in December. “I feel over the past year God has called me to do more at church,” Weller said. Answering that call, Weller has accepted the role of worship minister at the First Church of Christ in Garrett. “I love music and love people so it’s a good combination,” Weller said. With First Church of Christ pastor Brother Bud Owen, Weller makes hospital calls and visits to church members. “Since I love people, it’s easy for me,” Weller said, smiling broadly. “It’s one talent

God has blessed me with.” Church member and Garrett resident Judith Witherspoon was especially touched by Weller’s and Owen’s visits to her husband before he passed away from cancer three months ago. “After they were there and talked to him and gave him communion, he was peaceful,” Witherspoon said of her husband. Witherspoon describes Weller as “an allaround great guy,” noting he is there to support and meet the needs of individuals and activities in the community. “He’s so active in the church. He’s a special guy,” she said. Weller also enjoys volunteering as a HOPE mentor to two students and spends an hour with each of them every week. His love for children also is apparent in his role as a Sunday School teacher where he meets with a class of about 10 second- and third-graders. “That’s just the age that they love learning and love to be challenged,” Weller said. In his busy schedule, Weller still finds time for a part-time job as an assistant at the Garrett Veterinary Hospital.

The Zent Family Salutes Our Veterans Both Past and Present

DR. DENNIS J.

ZENT

Republican Candidate for State Representative District 51

SUE CARPENTER

Jerry Weller sings with the praise team at the First Church of Christ in Garrett, where he has accepted the role of worship minister.

Having been raised on a farm, Weller said, he is comfortable around animals so the job is a natural fit. Weller has become a familiar face in downtown Auburn during the summer as he sells produce at the Farmers Market. “For me, it’s a reunion,” he said of meeting up with his customers and other vendors. Weller sells produce grown at Lutter Farms in LaOtto. Customers return week after week for the juicy ears of sweetcorn piled in the back of Weller’s pick-up truck. “They call me the Corn King,” Weller said. Weller enjoys gardening and raising a small number of livestock on his rural Garrett property. Family is important to Weller. He and his wife of 45 years, Alice, have two daughters and sons-in-law, Ann and Greg Hall and Toni and Gary Moughler, and a son and daughter-in-law, Brent and Sonya Weller. They also have six grandchildren with a

OCTAVIA LEHMAN

Jerry Weller shares a smile with customers at the Auburn Farmers Market, where he is known as the “Corn King.”

seventh expected in spring. “I get a lot out of life, that’s for sure,” Weller said.

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September 13, 2012

Everyday Heroes

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Jane Odom ‘brings joy’ BY JENNIFER DECKER

jdecker@kpcnews.net ANGOLA — Jane Odom has delivered noon meals on two routes on Mondays, filled in as an emergency driver, handled paperwork and whatever else comes along for Steuben Mobile Meal. And she’s done it all as a volunteer for 16 years. Eight or nine years ago, she became the nonprofit’s director. For all of her work with Steuben Mobile Meal, Odom was nominated as an Everyday Hero by Brad Noyes, dietary director at Cameron Memorial Community Hospital. “It’s a little over the top,” she said about the nomination. “I don’t consider it heroic. I’m a volunteer by nature. “Cameron makes the food following dietary concerns. Everybody pays for their meals as part of the funding through United Way,” Odom said. “I started out delivering. I had been doing it in Alabama eight or nine years ago. It’s a way of finding some friends and I enjoy it. I’ve never thought of not doing it. I get a lot of satisfaction in being thanked for when the food is good.” Steuben Mobile Meals are delivered to those within Angola’s city limits. Odom said if schools are closed in the wintertime due to inclement weather, meals are not delivered to clients. “Clients have become family and friends. Most are homebound. We’re delivering a hot meal, but it’s a contact. It certainly helps the whole family unit that … rest assured, they got a meal … A lot of older clients make two meals out of it.”

As part of Steuben Mobile Meal, Odom has 17 volunteer serving as deliverers and half of those are couples. Most of the time, she gets thank yous from clients receiving their meals. Others want to chat, as the deliveries also serve as wellness visits and friendships are made over time. “A lot of them tell me how good the meal is,” she said. The meals, which rotate for variety, include some type of meat entree, two vegetables, a beverage, dessert and bread and butter. “One lady says, ‘I like the pie.’” Odom said. “They tell me it’s good. Some don’t like broccoli or can’t have spicy (food). They are billed every month and they are asked what they do not like.” Mark Goulet, treasurer of Steuben Mobile Meal and a volunteer driver, said Odom has lots of energy to direct the service. “Jane is the main contact person. She is actively involved with anyone who receives meals and fills in for anyone who can’t drive. She’s got a lot of gumption and is a wonderful lady,” Goulet said. “(Clients) really like her.” Odom recently delivered a noon meal to Ruth Courtney, Angola, who has been a client for four years. Courtney lost the use of her right hand and uses a walker making it difficult to cook in her kitchen. “I get the meals five days a week and don’t have to worry about my big meal of the day,” she said. “It brightens my day. When you live by yourself, the days are long. “(Odom) brings joy every time she comes. She’s a happy go lucky person and we discuss sewing.”

JENNIFER DECKER

Jane Odom, left, director of Steuben Mobile Meals, delivers a hot noon meal to her client of four years, Ruth Courtney, Angola. Courtney said she looks forward to the meals and visits with those who deliver them, especially Odom.

Thank you to our

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September 13, 2012

Paul Johnston aims to â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;do some goodâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; touch the life of a student, or parent, or a teacher, and they in turn give you thanks and say they appreciate it, that was the best part of my WOLCOTTVILLE â&#x20AC;&#x201D; If Paul Johnston job. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what gives you satisfaction.â&#x20AC;? could be defined by just one phrase, if might be Last spring, he acted as one of the driving â&#x20AC;&#x153;do some good.â&#x20AC;? forces behind the Westview School CorporaJohnston, 61, just recently retired from the tionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s push to collect money, clothes and Westview School Corporation, capping a 38resources for a southern Indiana school year career in education that included jobs as devastated by a tornado in early March. both a teacher and an administrator, working in The Henryville school that was destroyed both public and private schools. Throughout his career, his desire to â&#x20AC;&#x153;do some had a strong LaGrange County connection. Henryvilleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s high school principal, Troy Albert, goodâ&#x20AC;? has always been a large part of who Paul once worked as the Westview High School Johnston is. principal. His wife, Karen, taught school for â&#x20AC;&#x153;I want to do some good, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s always been Johnston at Westview Jr. High. very important to me,â&#x20AC;? he said. In barely two weeks, Johnston helped the In his lifetime, Johnston has indeed done a school and its students tap into a generous spirit lot of good. he says makes up LaGrange County, and In LaGrange County alone, he estimates together, they raised more than $40,000 to more than 5,000 students have passed through the doors of the buildings where he has worked, donate to the recovery effort for the Henryville School system. students whose life he hoped he touched. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I just made a couple of phones calls and â&#x20AC;&#x153;What energized me most was seeing that probably hit the right people at the right time,â&#x20AC;? light go on in a kid,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When you can Johnston said modestly. Johnston said itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s always been a comfort to know that when the chips are down, and someone needed help, the local community always seems to come together. 3267 In addition to working as the principal for Westview Jr. High 60DLQ6W/LJRQLHU School at the time, Johnston FRUQHURI0DLQ /LQFROQZD\ was also the president of the LaGrange County Community Foundation board, and managed 2SHQWRWKHSXEOLFIRU to use that organizationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s :HGQHVGD\ leverage and clout to maximize the donations that were pouring 7H[DV+ROGÂś(P into the school from LaGrange and Elkhart counties, and )ULGD\'LQQHUV around the Midwest. During that campaign, 30 Johnston kept a cool, %DQTXHW5RRP$YDLODEOHWR5HQW businesslike demeanor, but /LFHQVH admits that on the inside, he was

BY PATRICK REDMOND

predmond@kpcnews.net

$0(5,&$1 /(*,21 

â&#x20AC;&#x153;beaming.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;That was just phenomenal,â&#x20AC;? he said. A deeply religious man, Johnston has always managed to blend family, faith and community into his daily routine. Early in his career, he considered joining the priesthood. He graduated with a bachelorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s degree from a Cincinnati Catholic seminary. But Johnston said an early job teaching church history at Bishop Dwenger High School, a Catholic school in Fort Wayne, allowed him to watch the schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s priests work day to day. That experience helped him decide he wanted to stay in the classroom. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I always wanted to be a teacher,â&#x20AC;? Johnston admits. â&#x20AC;&#x153;That is something I knew for a long, long time. When I started teaching, I saw what a priest did on a daily basis. The Catholic Church is a great sacrifice, but I chose not to continue to be a priest.â&#x20AC;? Throughout his career, Johnston is one of those rare individuals who moved easily between the worlds of public and private schools. He taught at Garrett for nearly 10 years before leaving to be an administrator at Fort Wayneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Bishop Luers High School, a Catholic institution. He left that job to come to Lakeland, and then finally finished out his career at Westview. As he rose through the ranks in education, he moved out of the classroom and into the administratorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s desk. Often the job came with the heavy task of dealing with troubled students and dishing out discipline when required. That, he admits, was never a task he enjoyed. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But it was part of the job and someone had to do it,â&#x20AC;? Johnston explained. The key to helping students, he said, was knowing what you want out of the situation. Nowadays, Johnston is looking for new ventures to lend his talents. Admittedly never one to sit still very long, heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been active in the LaGrange County Habitat for Humanity, and is a very active member of the St. Josephâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Catholic Church in LaGrange. Johnston also hopes to donate his time to a

&12(/Ň&#x2039;6 Building a Stronger Community for the Past 40 Years.

PATRICK REDMOND

Paul Johnston weekly mentoring program at Topeka Elementary, a program he participated in last year before he retired. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a chance to work with a child one on one so they can see a positive role model,â&#x20AC;? he said of program. He is still the president of the board of the LaGrange County Community Foundation and will stay active in that organization. Finally, heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s considering offering his talents to the LaGrange Food and Clothing basket, an organization that helps feed and clothe the LaGrange Countyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s needy. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Its just part of the values taught me by my parents,â&#x20AC;? he said of his commitment to volunteering his time. â&#x20AC;&#x153;That is the nature of community.â&#x20AC;?

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September 13, 2012

Kim Griest Kim Griest of Auburn is a physical therapist at Cameron Memorial Community Hospital in Angola, and specializes in lyphedema. She and her collegues, Eric Miller (see page 11) and Marilyn Clevenger (see page 12) were nominated as Everyday Heroes by Susan Stackhouse for their work with her in physical therapy. Stackhouse writes, “As medical professionals, their expertise and knowledge in the field of physical therapy is most evident; however, it is their compassionate, caring and dedicated approach that inspires their patients to make remarkable progress … Their remarkable approach brings hope, instills courage and

AMY OBERLIN

Kim Griest

Dick Boggess of Fort Wayne is director of the Noble County Bowen Center in Albion and a licensed clinical addictions counselor. He has a master’s degree in addiction counseling. Michael Kramer, who nominated Boggess as an Everyday Hero, writes, “In addition to his administrative duties Dick makes time to counsel people and lead groups. Dick also assist those battling addictions in many ways after he finishes his duties at the Bowen Center through personal meetings and telephone calls. He volunteers as a member of the Noble County Drug Court Team and as the Clinical Director. Dick is also on the board of Freedom House, a halfway house in Fort Wayne. Dick has dedicated his life to helping those with addictions and other behavioral health problems, during the day through his job, and nights and weekends through his volunteer efforts.” WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE VOLUNTEER OR SERVICE ACTIVITY? My favorite volunteer activity would be serving on the Noble County Drug Court. I am also involved with Drug Free Noble County, our local community action coalition helping with prevention, education and treatment of the abuse of alcohol and drugs among our youth as well as adult population. WHY ARE YOU INVOLVED WITH SERVING OTHERS? Being of service to others is a secret to life that I learned a long time ago, and it has served me well, so why would I not want to help others. Being a part of positive change in people’s lives is very exciting and rewarding. PERSON OR PERSONS WHO HELPED SHAPE YOUR LIFE? There have been several people. One was my father who was the gentlest man I have ever met. Another was

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Dick Boggess

revitalizes our lives.” FAVORITE VOLUNTEER OR SERVICE ACTIVITY: My job; 20 years and counting in Cameron’s rehabilitation department. REASON FOR BEING INVOLVED AND SERVING OTHERS: To encourage and prepare others to return to their normal or improved life and activity level. PERSON WHO HELPED TO SHAPE MY LIFE: My parents FAVORITE INSPIRATIONAL MATERIAL: The Serenity Prayer ADVICE FOR PEOPLE SEEKING TO BECOME INVOLVED: Do what you enjoy. Make a difference in someone else’s life every day. I AM PASSIONATE ABOUT ... my work; making a difference in others’ lives.

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Everyday Heroes

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PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

Dick Boggess

Roy Russell, director of Freedom House in Fort Wayne. It’s a halfway house for men struggling with the disease of alcoholism and/or addiction. He lived a life of service to others, and I watched as he lived his life the way God intended him to. Finally, our Noble County Drug Court team members as well as our participants. They all help shape my life in a positive way every day. FAVORITE INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE, BOOK, SONG? “You can’t think your way into good living. You have to live your way into good thinking.” WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE PEOPLE SEEKING TO BECOME INVOLVED? Volunteer at a place that has helped you or someone you know so that you can grow. Expect nothing in return. That way, you are never disappointed. COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING SENTENCE: I am passionate about … recovery in every sense of the word.

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10

Everyday Heroes

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September 13, 2012

Larry Baker Many people bask in the glow that comes with doing good deeds. Others toil away behind the scene, and that’s the way they like it. Larry Baker can fit in both of those molds. The Knapp Lake resident has been there and done that in his 70-some years, ranging from being an accomplished community-theater actor to serving as chairman of the board of some of Noble County’s top nonprofit groups, including Noble County Community Foundation and Noble House ministries. He is also a part of the Elks and Ligonier United Methodist Church, where he sings in the choir. Baker retired about 10 years ago after a long teaching at career at with the West Noble School Corp. And like the old saying goes, he’s been busier in retirement than when he was spending time in front of students. FAVORITE VOLUNTEER OR SERVICE ACTIVITY: Noble County Community Foundation, followed by Noble House. “I really love the work done by everyone at the community foundation. I was on the board for six years and they do so much for the entire county. But Noble House is also dear to my heart.” REASON FOR BEING INVOLVED/SERVING OTHERS: He delights “in seeing a group like the Noble County Community Foundation help so many needy causes, especially after the recession. The foundation has helped put food on the table and keep the lights on for so many families. I like to do things that have a long-reaching effect, and the foundation fits that bill.” PERSON WHO HELPED TO SHAPE MY LIFE: I’ve been fortunate that God has put so many great people in my life. But I

Mick Shaub

PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

Larry Baker

always like to think about my parents, Myrna and Claire Baker. FAVORITE INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE, BOOK, SONG, ETC.: “The higher the obstacle, the stronger one becomes after hurdling it,” from “Apples of Gold.” ADVICE FOR PEOPLE SEEKING TO BECOME INVOLVED: Stop in at your local church or contact the community foundation in your area. Get a list of service clubs and just starting making calls and become involved. There’s always a need for help.

Mick Shaub is a retired firefighter who resides in Avilla, and volunteers at the Provena Sacred Heart Home in Avilla. “Mick volunteers almost daily at the home. He helps with anything and everything,” writes Kimberly Ley, the Activity Director at Sacred Heart Home. She nominated Mick as an Everyday Hero. She adds that he “is a person you can trust and can be counted on in good and bad times. He has a very kind heart and is willing to give of his time at a moments notice … Whatever I or a residents needs he gets it done. When I don’t ask him to come in and help he calls me and asks what needs to be done.” Mick also helps lead a men’s group at the home. “His smile, laugh and good or bad jokes really help the guys here feel like they are back at the coffee shop with friends,” Ley writes. “Mick really goes out of his way to be where he is needed, that may be here at the home, or with one of his friend in need PHOTO CONTRIBUTED of support. Mick Shaub is a true example of doing ‘God’s Work’ here on earth. I Mick Shaub could not do my job as well as I do FAVORITE INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE, BOOK without him.” OR SONG? Do unto others as you would WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE VOLUNTEER OR have others do unto you. SERVICE ACTIVITY? Taking residents of ADVICE FOR PEOPLE SEEKING TO Sacred Heart out for activities and/or BECOME INVOLVED? Don’t keep your calling bingo. talents and time to yourself. Give and you WHAT ARE YOUR REASONS FOR BEING will receive blessings in return. INVOLVED AND SERVING OTHERS? God tells COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING SENTENCE — us to make others happy and their lives I AM PASSIONATE ABOUT … doing what I better. can for others because so many have PERSON OR PERSONS WHO HELPED helped me. SHAPE YOUR LIFE? My parents and God.

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September 13, 2012

Eric Miller Eric Miller of Angola has been a physical therapist assistant at Cameron Memorial Community Hospital for 16 years, specializing in sports therapy. Susan Stackhouse, who nominated Miller as an Everyday Hero, writes that he and his colleagues, Kim Griest (page 9) and Marilyn Clevenger (page 12) have helped revitalize her life, and the lives of their patients. FAVORITE VOLUNTEER OR SERVICE ACTIVITY: Habitat for Humanity. REASON FOR BEING INVOLVED AND SERVING OTHERS: I became involved in physial therapist service and the medical field after having two knee surgeries from a sports injury. My physical therapist

Everyday Heroes

11

Bill Gehring

pushed and motivated me and helped me return to all my favorite activities within months. This shaped my career and my life. I hope I can inspire others to do the same. ADVICE FOR PEOPLE SEEKING TO BECOME INVOLVED: For those thinking about getting into the medical field â&#x20AC;&#x201D; make sure you enjoy working with and helping people. You can have a very enjoyable and successful career if you can find satisfaction in helping people and not focusing on getting rich. I AM PASSIONATE ABOUT ... being active and health; camping, hiking, snowboarding, wakeboarding, swimming.

Bill Gehring of Kendallville is retired, but that doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t mean heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s retired from being involved in his community as a volunteer helping others. Evelyn Shumaker nominated Gehring as an Everyday Hero. She writes: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Bill helps with the local food pantry every week. Bill volunteers at the blood bank every time itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s here. Bill also drives his greatgrandson to school every day.â&#x20AC;? WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE VOLUNTEER OR SERVICE ACTIVITY? Friendship Food Pantry. REASONS FOR BEING INVOLVED AND SERVING OTHERS? I think it is a basic responsibility to the community. PERSON OR PERSONS WHO HELPED SHAPE YOUR LIFE? Parents Kenneth and Flora Gehring, Vern Steckley and Ralph Atz. My parents led the family by example and did not refuse to help anyone. Vern Steckley and Ralph Atz were my first two employers who did set the standard for business people giving back to the community. FAVORITE INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE, BOOK, SONG? The Bible. If everyone kept the

commandments everywhere in the world, it would be a perfect place to live. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR PEOPLE SEEKING TO BECOME INVOLVED? You need to be compassionate and willing to give of your time. COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING SENTENCE â&#x20AC;&#x201D; I AM PASSIONATE ABOUT â&#x20AC;Ś working with others to fill a need.

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AMY OBERLIN

Eric Miller of Angola is a physical therapist assistant at Cameron Memorial Community Hospital in Angola. He specializes in sports injuries.

With Gratitude to Our Heroes 502 N. Main St. â&#x20AC;˘ Auburn â&#x20AC;˘ 260-925-3918 www.pinnington-mccomb.com

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Bill Gehring

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12

Everyday Heroes

kpcnews.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.

September 13, 2012

Marilyn Clevenger Marilyn Clevenger of Fremont has been a physical therapist assisant for 19 years at Cameron Memorial Community Hospital. She is a cardiac and vertigo specialist. Clevenger and her collegues, Kim Griest (page 9) and Eric Miller (page 11) were nominated as Everyday Heroes by Susan Stackhouse, who says that the trio has helped return to her a “precious gift … the opportunity to live a fulfilling life.” FAVORITE VOLUNTEER OR SERVICE ACTIVITY: Serving on the board of directors of the Compassion Pregnancy Center. REASON FOR BEING INVOLVED AND SERVING OTHERS: Because it’s the right thing to do. If not me, then who? PERSON WHO HELPED SHAPE MY LIFE: My mother. No matter the situation, she always stood up for those who couldn’t stand up for themselves. She lived what she believed. FAVORITE INSPIRATIONAL MATERIAL: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 ADVICE FOR PEOPLE SEEKING TO BECOME INVOLVED: No matter how hopeless the

AMY OBERLIN

Marilyn Clevenger of rural Fremont works with cardiac patients and others in the rehabilitation department at Cameron Memorial Community Hospital.

situation seems, or how insignificant you feel, you can make a difference. I AM PASSIONATE ABOUT ... life!

Cathy Ann Vogel Cathy Ann Vogel, of Auburn and Garrett, is a dance instructor and director in DeKalb County. “Cathy Ann is a hero because she is sensitive to kids’ needs and creativity, and has the ability to push the kids to their potential,” writes Melissa Secrest, who nominated Vogel as a hero. “Cathy Ann wants kids to enjoy life and with being a dance teacher she has touched and inspired many people.” FAVORITE VOLUNTEER OR SERVICE ACTIVITY: Helping to teach the art of dance to the young and the old, so they can demonstrate their talents in the local community through performance in dance. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED REASON FOR BEING INVOLVED/ SERVING Cathy Ann Vogel OTHERS: I like to teach what my passion is – day I get to dance.” I don’t know who it’s from, dance. I’ve been doing this for about 30 years but that’s a quote I really think about a lot. now in the Auburn area. It’s a passion for ADVICE FOR PEOPLE SEEKING TO BECOME dance I have, and I like to bring that same thing out in the kids. I want them to have the passion INVOLVED: It’s important to involve people of all ages; we like to go out and entertain the for the art of dance. young and the old. And to see the smiles on PERSON WHO HELPED TO SHAPE MY LIFE: Nancy Bordner. I trained at the Bordner School their faces, that’s just a good reason to bring of Dance in Fort Wayne, which is now the Fort our talents to the community. That’s why I do it. It makes me feel good when we can put Wayne School of Dance, and Nancy, its smiles on their faces. director, gave me the opportunity to teach and COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING SENTENCE: I am have a satellite studio in Garrett many years passionate about … being an inspiration ago. toward the young and the old, to inspire them FAVORITE INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE, BOOK, through the art of dance. SONG, ETC.: The quote, “Tomorrow is another

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