GARY | During the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority’s 30th anniversary beach party, attendees celebrated the many accomplishments and successes of the organization over the years. Past and present members of the board of directors, employees and special guests joined the celebration hosted at Marquette Park on July 13.
Midway through the party, the South Shore CVA and John Duda, Project Officer with the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights, made a special presentation to departing Executive Vice President Katie Holderby.
Current South Shore CVA employees lined up during the party to present Holderby with charms, each representing the South Shore tourism industry, while it was explained that Holderby has collectively worked with members of the organization for more than 122 years during her 20 year career with the bureau.
Duda presented Holderby with a U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights mahogany baton, honoring her for her dedication to the parachute team throughout her years working on the South Shore Air Show.
The Golden Knights’ ceremonial batons are passed between members of the parachute team during an aerial demonstration and have been used to recognize local individuals for their contributions to the community during previous years’ South Shore Air Show.
“To receive one of the Golden Knights’ batons is a huge honor. When the South Shore CVA nominates individuals to be a recipient, we look to those who have been highly influential and dedicated to making improvements in the community,” said Speros A. Batistatos, President and CEO of the South Shore CVA.
According to Batistatos, the South Shore CVA has previously nominated Angie Williams, former executive director of Food Bank of Northwest Indiana and Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson to be honored with one of the ceremonial batons. While the bureau was planning the beach party, they decided to emulate the mahogany baton for Holderby.
“We thought it would be fantastic to take the baton idea and make one for Katie because of what it means to be a recipient. Katie has consistently gone above and beyond for our organization and has really made an impact on the hospitality and tourism industry along the South Shore,” said Batistatos.
The South Shore CVA had a local organization make a special baton to present to Holderby during the beach party. However, when Duda made his presentation it was discovered that the Golden Knights decided to honor Holderby with one of their ceremonial batons.
“That the U.S. Army Golden Knights regard Katie so highly is a true testament to the dedication she had to not only the South Shore CVA, but to each individual she came into contact with during her years at the bureau,” stated Batistatos.