Award Winners

Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Awards

"You told them that the world could not do without them. You told them they could do anything they set their minds to. You told them they could be the brightest shiniest stars in the sky. And the world would be a better place because of them."

-Leah Becks

Sally Schreiber
St Joseph County CASA

Sally has been actively advocating for children through CASA since August, 2014. She has assisted with five different cases, helped recruit volunteers and is a huge help in the Annual CASA Holiday Toy Drive. Nominated by - Brenda Matuszkiewicz, CASA Supervisor.

Elizabeth Gilbert
Steuben County CASA

For 18 years, Elizabeth has been a CASA volunteer. She is an articulate speaker with a caring spirit for children.  Elizabeth speaks to many groups about being a CASA volunteer. Her husband was a CASA volunteer. Nominated by Judy Hostetler, President of Steuben County Retired Teachers and IRTA Area 2 Director.

Mary Lou Dawald
Montgomery County CASA

Mary Lou has worked with the CASA program for 10 years.  most of that time, was a full-time educator and principal. She is a fierce advocate for her “CASA kids”. When there is a tough case, she is the first choice of her CASA Program Director. She visits her CASA child often. She is involved in many community organizations.  Mary Lou continues to want to learn and improve. Nominated by Marilyn Spear, Montgomery County.

Nancy Tolson
Marion County - Wayne Township IRTA CASA

Nancy has been an exemplary CASA volunteer of almost 12 years. She has volunteered in cases advocating for 41 children. Nancy estimates that on average her volunteer work takes 6-10 hours per week.  She often has more than one case at a time.  She attends many hours of continuing education each year.  She is an ambassador for the CASA agency and even recruited her daughter, Beth, who has been an excellent CASA herself for five years. Nominated by Sally, Dunfee, Wayne Township and Marion County CASA Agency.

Kathleen Boggess
Monroe County CASA

CASA volunteer  1982-1987, CASA Director 1987-1991, She participates in the events and projects of the CASA agency and is always willing to step in where needed.  She works diligently with the schools to ensure  that the children are receiving the educational assistance that they require.  When advocating in the courtroom, she ensures that the judge is aware of all the issues surrounding the children she is advocating for and is not afraid to voice her concerns when warranted. Nominated by Kristin Bishay, Exec. Director, Monroe County CASA.

Debbie Byers
Hancock County CASA

Debbie has gone about and beyond to advocate for children for whom she is a voice.  She does her best to represent children assigned to her.  She never leaves a stone unturned as she makes it her goal to understand her case and build a rapport with her children.  She is a real mama bear when it comes to standing up for her children. Nominated by Marciann McClarnon Miller, Director of Hancock County CASA.

Bob Schmielau
Jackson County CASA

After he retired, Bob heard about CASA at one of the JCRTA meetings and became interested and became a CASA volunteer. He describes himself as a child advocate.  Once a child is assigned to him, he researches and investigates the child from as many sources as are available to him. His main thrust is to get to know the child and try to determine how to make things better for his/her life.  He follows the child wherever he is, making sure all things are working for his best interest.  His investigations take him many places around the state, making sure he maintains contact with the child as long as the child is in the system or until of age. He tries to spread the word on the growing number of children that need to be served.  Nominated by Ann Mahan, Jackson County RTA.

Cathy Briner
Gibson County CASA

Cathy had advocated for thirty-two children going over and above what is expected of her.  She always thinks through and gathers any information she needs. If not sure, she will research and question or whatever it takes to find out.  She never comes to Court unprepared. She is a great mentor and role model for the other volunteers. When there is any type of activity or function for CASA, Cathy is always the first one to ask if she can help or bring something.  She has delayed vacations so she could be in Court or at an important meeting. Nominated by Joy L. Jines, Program Director, Gibson County.

Association Member Benefits Advisors (AMBA) Outstanding Volunteer Clock Awards 2019

Lucille L. Perz

Lucille is a busy lady. She teaches two CCD classes per week at St. Thomas Moore parish. Lucille also facilitates the collection and wrapping of gifts that the children present to shut in residents during their field trip to the Munster Med Inn. You will also find Lucille soliciting door to door for clothing and other non-perishable goods for the annual sit-down dinner and clothing giveaway at the Hammond Civic Center. Lucille also helps prepare this dinner for a yearly average of 300 underserved residents of Lake County. Yes, Lucille is indeed a hero for all she does for her community.

Richard McKean

Richard McKean has a definite talent with things that grow. He is a groundskeeper at a local church where he does lawn weed control and fertilization. You will also find him in Berne’s Plaza spending hours beautifying the landscape for activities and civic events including concerts, weddings, art fairs, and festivals. He also conducts tours about local history. During Swiss Heritage Days, he works with several hundred third graders making soap balls. Dick organizes bus trips for seniors traveling throughout the country. He researches the trips, so everyone has a wonderful experience. Dick is a hard worker and an outstanding giver of time, talent, and experience.

Rebecca Farrington

Rebecca is very active in her local Lions organization. She works hard in the various club projects helping those who need cochlear implants, supplying Riley Hospital with needed equipment for deaf babies to hear, purchasing refactors, and testing all preschoolers for lazy eyes in two counties. The club has helped with expense travels to Haiti and supporting children in various ways including vision care. They collected 6,000 pairs of glasses which were distributed to those needing glasses. Rebecca also helped with the purchase of a canine officer bullet proof vest. To earn the funds, she helped prepare and serve ribeye steaks sandwiches, buffalo burgers, and other assorted foods. You will also see her at a local church serving donuts, coffee, and working with the Missions Commission.

Cynda Mellish

If you visit the Wesley Thrift Shop, you are pretty sure you will see Cynda there. She is on the Board of Directors, is Head of Sales, schedules workers, and works in the shop. At her local church, Cynda is Chairman of Meals on Wheels and participates with deliveries. She is also a member of both the bell and the adult choir. She is presently working on establishing a preschool daycare program and receiving state certification. She wrote a grant to the local community foundation for funds for the preschool. Other grants she has written include one from the Methodist Foundations and for Early Learning in Indiana. Cynda is one busy active volunteer within her community.

Michael Jenkins

All the volunteering that Michael does shows his commitment to public service. Michael is a board member for the Cicero Christian Church and of the Hamilton County North Public Library where he also serves as its secretary. Working with Hope family care center, he is their CEO, President, and Board Member. He teaches adult Bible class, is an Elder, is a member of the Missions team, and a weekly micro-leader. He also helps prepare his church’s weekly newsletter. Working with children includes being a Mentor at its Lunch program with 5th graders, and he is a member of the school’s “Ryan White State Marker “program. You will also see Mike volunteering with the “Vision Program” at the school. Mike is a true advocate of giving back to his community sharing his talents.

Steven Stuckey

Steven Stucky spends most of his time with the Marion-Grant County Humane Society Resale Shop. There he will be seen working in sales, recording sales on the computer, performing general maintenance, doing displays, receiving donations, delivering of  purchased items, picking up donations of dog food, collecting excess animal supplies, and working with the MGCHS newsletter.  He also sells tickets at school functions, mows the lawn at the school along with general maintenance. Steve keeps busy mowing his church lawn, a neighbor’s lawn, and helping prepare funeral dinners. He supervises students at a national conference in various US locations along with volunteering at the Special Olympics. It’s doubtful you will find him at home because he is truly a very active and dedicated volunteer.

Stephen Burt

Steve’s volunteer activities are wide and varied. He is treasurer of Sertoma and worked with Santa’s Helpers. Steve was the Freedom Essay Chair, is a Bingo Caller, is on the Hearing aid committee, and on the Scholarship committee for college students in hearing and speech. You will find him at his local church as an usher, on the administrative board, and as a volunteer going to Kentucky and rehabbing homes for those in need. Steve is also a member of Kiwanis and volunteers in many money-making activities for their sponsored projects. You will find Steve delivering for Meals on Wheels, working with children in the Read-Up program before school, and working with the Salvation Army, including ringing the bell, being a board member, and helping gather volunteers. Steve also works with Love, INC. Transporting people and in other a needed capacity. He is active with the local hospital and Imagination Library. You would have a difficult time reaching Steve because he is out and doing all the time helping Hancock County.

Diane Shewmaker

Diane volunteers on many committees in  Monroe County serving as board secretary for the civic theater, secretary for the executive council of the NAACP for  Martin Luther King Day, and fosters animals from the local shelter,  At Indiana University, Diane serves on the Swing Club Committee as well as being an escort for the summer drama program and the Boogie Woogie Festival.  Diane is active in her church including the church choir and Praise Team. She participated with the local schools during the Franklin Initiative Reality Store. Diane is an active volunteer in her community. We appreciate all she does. Thank you, Diane.

Victor Hurm

Victor is a truly active volunteer in his community. On many days you can see him working with the Geology Club where he served as president and with the youth and adult programs in geology related topics including fossils, minerals, rocks, and other artifacts. He helped organize and set up annual shows in and out of state. As a member of the Optimist club, he set up flag holders and displayed the American flag six times during the year. He also cleaned, repaired, and stored the flags. Victor spent many hours during Heritage Days at the museum for all 4th graders in the county. He held many classes for the students through his geology program. He volunteered many hours at the high school with the students demonstrating how to propagate plants and teaching plant growth and care.

Mary Jo Sloan

Jo is certainly an asset to her community. Upon retirement she served as a member of the local foundation which gives awards to active teachers. As a member of a local organization she kept involved with many projects in the area and state. Jo volunteers in both her and her husband’s church working with one project called “Good News “which talks with students about good things happening in their lives and others in the country. Jo is also committed to teaching Sunday School classes. She works with TOPS, coaching members to improve their health, lose weight, and develop a lifelong new way of thinking. Jo works with a Chinese girl to improve her English. Her true passion is Special Olympics. She helps them build confidence, the spirit of giving, and teamwork. Mary Jo is a dedicated and worthy volunteer.

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