Ned Kalb was a true leader in La Porte County for many years. He passed away on Nov. 19, 2011, and a county award was instituted to honor and memorialize his life and deeds in La Porte County and beyond. The Ned E. Kalb Community Leadership Award will annually recognize a quiet, behind-the-scenes leader in La Porte County. The joint sponsors of the award are the Purdue Extension Office of La Porte County and Leadership La Porte County, two organizations that Ned Kalb impacted.
“Ned was a key founder of Leadership La Porte County,” according to Jim Jessup, a 30-year volunteer for the organization, which started in the Extension Office. “He spent several years in the early 1980’s guiding and facilitating the new non-profit training group,” Jessup added. Ned spent fifteen years as the Extension Director in La Porte County, where he served on many boards, both public and private. He was an educator and connector. Current Extension Director, Hugh Tonagel, remembers Ned as someone who recognized needs and got things done. “He worked with people and organizations to improve our quality of life in La Porte County, and he did it with little fanfare and recognition,” Tonagel explained. “That’s the spirit in which we created this award,” Monica Komasinski, current Executive Director of Leadership La Porte County, added. After leaving La Porte County Ned went on to serve the Extension Office in other counties and later even went overseas teaching underdeveloped countries to be self-sufficient through modern farming and business methods. “Ned left his impact on La Porte County and the world,” Tonagel concluded.
Now in its third year, nominations are being sought for the 2014 award, now through March 3rd. John Coulter and Purdue Chancellor James Dworkin are past recipients of the award. Nominees can be individuals or organizations. “We are looking to recognize people or groups who are demonstrating servant leadership to improve our county in a quiet and behind-the-scenes way,” Komasinski said. “We are proud to partner with Purdue Extension on this annual award and we are also grateful for the support of Dick Reel, retired Extension Director, for his financial sponsorship of the award”.
Nomination forms are available from the Leadership or Extension Offices. Call 219-325-8223, 219-324-9407, or 219-874-5611 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. A panel of local leaders will select the winner, who will be announced and honored at the Extension Annual meeting on March 27th at St. Mary’s in Otis. For more information contact one of the numbers above.