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VNA of Porter County Volunteers Recognized

The Visiting Nurse Association of Porter County celebrated its close to 500 volunteers during the annual Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast held at the St. Paul Catholic Church Social Hall in Valparaiso.

New VNA President and CEO Kathleen Holycross spoke to the volunteers for the first time. She expressed amazement at their number and praised their dedicated service to hospice, Meals on Wheels, Lifeline, the children’s bereavement program, agency departments, events and committees.

A total of 46 volunteers, 6 organizations and 5 corporations were honored for service hour milestones as well as 5, 10 and 15-year awards. Hospice volunteer Leo Simon received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award for his total of 6,816 hours. The award is given for 4,000 or more hours over a lifetime.

For information about the VNA Volunteer Program visit the VNA website at or contact the VNA at (219) 462-5195.

Hospice Volunteer Awards

  • 200+ Volunteer Hours: Brian Blake, Kay Birmingham, Joan Given, Lynda Krueger
  • Most Volunteer Hours in Home Care: Diane Ball
  • Most Clerical Volunteer Hours: Cheryl Forwalter
  • Most Hospice Center Volunteer Hours: Beverly Gilliana
  • 15-Year Awards: JoAnn & Ray Crowley
  • 10-Year Awards: Kay Birmingham, Bill Meyer, Betty Schaefer
  • 5-Year Awards: Andrea Barney, Pat Buckwell, Tina Christensen, Chris Kern, Carolyn Lester, Kathy McManus, Kay Morris, Karen Muchesko, Beth Olympidis, Marilyn Sulewski, Evelyn Wallace, Kay Wiersma
  • United Way Volunteer of the Year: Cheryl Forwalter
  • Presidential Volunteer Service Award: Leo Simon


Meals on Wheels & Lifeline Volunteer Awards

  • 10 Year Awards: Carol & Ken Sjaaheim, Peggy Smith, Chuck & Barb Smothermon, Richard & Barb Summers
  • 5 Year Awards: Cathy Ellis, Jean Gaines, Sandy Martin, Michelle Mihal, Wendy Mullins, Ken Nelson, Joe Rurode, Carol Rosendaul, Joe Slawnikowski, Danielle Zecovich
  • Just Call and I'll Be There: Joe Rurode
  • Organizational Meals on Wheels Volunteers

    • Ogden Dunes Church
    • Friendly Circle
    • Opportunity Enterprises
    • Valparaiso Kiwanis Club
    • Sunrise Kiwanis Club
    • St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church

  • Corporate Meals on Wheels Volunteers: First Source Bank, Valparaiso First Source Bank, Hebron Horizon Bank, Portage The Willows Lifecare Center, Valparaiso Valparaiso Care and Rehab Center
  • Art Tilton Meals on Wheels Volunteer of the Year: Roberta Bertsch

VNA Volunteers

  • 100+ Hours: Bree Abbott
  • 200+ Hours: Judy Bretz

Photo: JoAnn and Ray Crowley are recognized for 15 years of Hospice volunteer service with the Visiting Nurse Association of Porter County at the annual Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast.

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