MERRILLVILLE | Eight people whose lives reflect the philosophy that service to others improves life for everyone were honored Thursday at the 10th annual Quality of Life Awards Luncheon. The ceremony was part of the One Region One Vision/QLC event at The Radisson at Star Plaza.
Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented to Mary M. Edwards, director and administrator of Brother's Keeper Inc., a homeless shelter for men; and to Tresa Radermacher, a key volunteer for the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.
Edwards, who has spent more than 20 years as chief of the homeless shelter for men, has helped countless region men restore their lives after hard times. Her objective is to motivate and empower less fortunate individuals to become economically self-sufficient.
Radermacher has served in many roles as a volunteer for the Girl Scouts of Great Chicago and Northwest Indiana. She is the local service unit manager for Munster and is responsible for extending membership opportunities to girls and adults in the area, and hosts a week-long camp for girls.
Brandt Baughman, McKinley Jelks, Danny Lackey and the Rev. Cheryl Rivera received the council's Outstanding Achievement Contribution Awards.
Baughman, who is the general manager for the Indiana Dunes State Park, has helped to create new opportunities for conserving the Dunes' natural beauty while still allowing tourists and visitors to enjoy the protected landscape.
For the past 28 years, Jelks has been employed by the city of Gary Youth Services and Parks department. He is currently the assistant park supervisor and manager of the Hudson Campbell Fitness Center where he works 13 to 14 hours a day, seven days a week to staff and keep the center open.
Lackey is a licensed guidance counselor who has spent the past 20 years in human services working with children and families in mental health and educational settings. He specializes in treating and serving children and adolescents. He also sponsors a diversity club called S.T.A.N.D. (Socially Together and Naturally Diverse) in the Merrillville School Corp.
Rivera is executive director of the Northwest Indiana Federation, whose mission is to create and maintain a powerful faith-based multiracial metropolitan citizens' organization.
The torch also was passed to two young people younger than 21 whose lives are the Promise of the Future.
Kaylin Fanta, of St. John, is a sophomore honor student at Hanover Central High School and at age 8 started a project to gather and donate school supplies to underprivileged children in gently used backpacks. This school year, the not-for-project organization she founded gave away 350 backpacks to nine agencies.
Tamika Mallet, of East Chicago, became the caregiver for her siblings at a young age and today is a role model for others. At the Boys & Girls Club, Mallett helps young members or participates in a variety of teen programs. She is also a leader for the SMART Girls self-esteem program.