As most of you know, I can’t say enough about this third largest city in Northwest Indiana but this last Saturday the Greater Portage Chamber of Commerce singled out some amazing individuals and businesses for the last year. They saluted this wonderful city on the lake and many that contributed to its greatness.
The evening started off with a social hour while the Portage High String Quartet played melodies that brought elegance to mind. We were welcomed by the Executive Director Terry Hufford and Portage High School’s ROTC color guard presented the flags along with a lovely rendition our national anthem by Hobart High School’s Wolffgang. A delicious dinner served by our own Town and Country Market followed all of the fanfare.
Shortly after dinner, the lovely young ladies of Wolffgang entertained us with the likes of songs from the 1930s to 1960s. They sang a tribute to our veterans in the audience and asked them to stand when their theme was sung.
Then on to the awards. First up were the new construction projects finished in Portage in the last year going to Texas Roadhouse and Southport. Community Improvement Awards went to Meijer, Town and Country Market, Grace Church of the Nazarene, McDonald’s, Burger King, 1st Source Bank, Firehouse Subs, City Point Church, The eState, Tri Corp Wireless, Shay Furniture, Porter Pool and Spa Supply and for the new elevator in Woodland Park.
There were two Quality of Life Awards given this year: one to Lil Falk of Crisman School and Portage First United Methodist Church and Scott Hufford from Crisman School for the Backpack Program that helps feed hungry children in Portage Township Schools on the weekends. The second went to Michelle Duca who spearheaded the Porter County Pet Project/Kibble Kitchen Pet Pantry that help low income families keep their pets in their homes by giving out food and litter and free or reduced spay/neuter programs.
Special Event Award went to the Portage Community and Business night which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
The Business Service Award went to the Chase Bank, Willowcreek Branch for quality customer service.
Outstanding Educator went to Principal Scott Hufford of Crisman Elementary School. He also received the District 1 Principal of the Year Award earlier this year as well.
Greater Portage Chamber of Commerce Volunteer Award went to Cindy Colvin for all of her tireless efforts and many years of service for the Chamber.
Putting Portage on the Map was given to two recipients as well but will be displayed in the same building. They went to the state champion 2012-13 PHS gymnastics and softball teams. It's is quite a rarity when two teams from the same school become state champs in the same year. Way to go ladies!
The Humanitarian of the Year was given to Tim Sullivan for all his service to Gabriel’s Horn Homeless Shelter for woman and children.
Lastly, the coveted Citizen of the Year Award went to Mike Sarver for all his time and service to many organizations in the city of Portage. Congratulations to all.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.