The South Shore Leadership Center honored 12 regional leaders in Northwest Indiana who make an impact at its third annual Leaders as Heroes awards banquet Friday at Avalon Manor in Hobart.
The goal of the South Shore Leadership Awards is to recognize those "unsung heroes" in the community who are paving the way to a better tomorrow through their community involvement, but have not yet been fully recognized for their efforts.
This year also marked the unveiling of a new award: The Crest Award, which honors an individual who has been a terrific leader both within the SSLC and the region. This year’s recipient was Michael Griffin, clerk-treasurer, Town of Highland.
“My heart is full,” Griffin said. “I’m honored and I hope I’m worthy of it. It is the first as well and that’s very humbling. But I’m very gratified at the same time.”
Griffin quoted Voltaire who once said that “by appreciation we make excellence in others our own.”
“And I just make my lifetime appreciating all the people around me so I would get pieces of their excellence for myself,” Griffin said. “Tonight they’ve tried to give some of that back to me. I feel very honored.”
Winners of the South Shore Leadership Awards were Ben Clement, president/CEP, Mediaflex; Marty Corley, narcotics detective, Michigan City Police; Angela Nelson Deuitch, public affairs manager, NIPSCO; John Cain, director of South Shore Arts; and Ryan Strode, board president of Save the Dunes.
Strode said it was “incredibly flattering” to even be nominated. “You look around the room at the other nominees and these are people doing really great work in the region,” he said. “It’s great to be a part of that.”
Leaders as Heroes Award finalists included Rachel Delaney, executive director, Humane Society Calumet Area; Demond Ligon, Sr., State of Indiana regional director, Benchmark Family Services; James O’Connor, owner/operator, James O'Connor Martial Arts & Fitness; Tim Rice, president, Lakeside Wealth Management; Beth Sciackitano, communications and services manager, BP; and Colette Weitknecht, principal, Hammond Schools.
Also present at the event were representatives from the South Shore Leadership Youth for Community Engagement Program. Kankakee Valley High School sophomore Brooke Meadows said the program has been a great for her to develop relationship skills.
“It’s been a little bit self reflecting to figure out not only how to lead but how you lead yourself,” she said.
Meadows said it’s also became like a “little family” to her.
“It opens up a whole lot of new doors for me,” she said.
South Shore Leadership President/CEO Keith Kirkpatrick said the event recognizes some of those who are doing great leadership and “not getting the recognition.”