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Patriotic fervor fills old courthouse

The Merrillville High School Vocalteens perform the national anthem at Crown Point's first Patriot Brunch and award ceremony held in 2014. The high school choir will return this year to perform. 

This year's Patriot Brunch will celebrate the numerous contributions of Frank Schilling, president of Schilling Home Improvement Center and Schilling Development.

The brunch will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday at the Maki ballroom in the historic Lake Court House in downtown Crown Point.

The Patriot Brunch is a tradition of honoring individuals who have contributed to the community in outstanding ways, said Marty Wheeler, of the Patriot Brunch Committee. Past honorees include Jerry Ross, Dean White, Gary Miller and Char Miller.

“Our patriot this year is an outstanding man who has done so many things in his lifetime, and done so much for the town of St. John,” Wheeler said. “He goes around every year and puts up all of the Christmas trees along Route 41, he's just a wonderful man. He's one of those unsung heroes that people don't know about because he's so modest.”

Schilling is an Army Reserve veteran and a supporter of the Women’s Crisis Center and the American Heart Association. Schilling's best known contribution stands in St. John on U.S. 41, known as The Shrine of Christ's Passion. The attraction, an outdoor walk-through experience featuring life-sized scenes from The Bible, brings in 2000,000 visitors each year.

“The Shrine has attracted people from across the world,” Wheeler said. “It's a truly wonderful experience.”

The event will feature a brunch provided by Noka's Catering and the Merrillville High School choir will put on a patriotic-themed performance. This year's top sponsors include The Times Media Company, Schillings, White Peterman Properties and The Idea Factory.

All proceeds will go towards a historic Crown Point monument that is beloved in the Region.

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“We don't get funding so we have to support the courthouse through donation and fundraisers, and this is the only fundraising event for this year,” Wheeler said. “It's such a beautiful place. We're celebrating its 140th birthday this year, too.”

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