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The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission honored a late, former member with the Norman E. Tufford Award at its January meeting. Several children of Paul Doherty, a long-time elected official in the town of Highland and a former NIRPC chairman, accepted the honor on their father's behalf.

The Tufford award is named for NIRPC's first executive director and recognizes outstanding leadership and service to the commission and the Region.

"I think Paul Doherty met those criteria big-time," said former NIRPC executive director John Swanson, who nominated Doherty for the award.

In addition to his public service, Doherty was involved in a variety of nonprofit and community organizations, Swanson said, including Catholic Charities and Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, Arc of Northwest Indiana, the Salvation Army and Lake Area United Way.

Doherty was a World War II veteran, and long-time employee of Illinois Bell and First Financial Bank. He died in July, 2017.

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Doherty was succeeded as Highland clerk-treasurer in 1992 by Michael Griffin, who now represents Highland on NIRPC. 

"I have been trying to build on his good service ever since," Griffin said. "I think about Paul often. He was part of the group that helped build Highland."

Four of Doherty's six children — Phillip, Peter, Beth and Paul — attended the presentation. Peter Doherty said their father's priorities were family, faith, friends and community.

Paul Doherty called the award "a tremendous honor."

"He would probably say, 'I don't know why I deserve this,'" Doherty said of their father.

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Assistant Deputy Editor

Andrew covers transportation, real estate, casinos and other topics for The Times business section. A Crown Point native, he joined The Times in 2014, and has more than 15 years experience as a reporter and editor at Region newspapers.