Greater Portage Chamber of Commerce Recognizes Best of Portage at Woodland Park

On Saturday evening, the Greater Portage Chamber of Commerce hosted their annual Dinner and Recognition Ceremony at Portage’s beautiful Woodland Park. The event gives thanks to all of the contributors to the Portage community and hands out various awards to those deserving businesses and persons.

The Chamber hosts their guests each year to come and celebrate the city with an arrange of events. Once the guests arrived they were welcome to mingle with each other, listen to the beautiful music played the Portage High School String Quartet and look over the five gift baskets that were up for silent auction. There was also a comfy recliner up to be won, which was provided by Shay Furniture, and a group of Chicago Blackhawks jerseys put up in a silent auction.

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After everyone took their seats the night got started with the presentation of colors by the PHS Jr. ROTC, the national anthem that was sung by PHS student Sara Dailey and an invocation speech presented by President and CEO of Porter Health Systems Stephen Lunn. Shortly after a delicious Thanksgiving themed dinner was presented “family style” to each of the tables - which was all thanks to Town & Country Markets.

The awards portion of the night quickly followed suit. Eight categories were presented that ranged from highlighting an incredible business service to an outstanding educator. Each of the sections were open to public nominations but were ultimately chosen by the GPCC’s awards committee. The awards were presented by various chamber members, but each one of them welcomed the winners onto the stage with a hearty handshake and warm smile. Chamber President Cindy Colvin said that seeing so many worthy people being recognized is wonderful to see.

“It’s always important to recognize your community leaders with the effort they put in, and all of the volunteering that they put into their work,” Colvin explained. “When you see [Outstanding Public Citizen winner] Ed Gottschling, who has devoted so much of his life to the community, get an award for just doing something good it’s really great that the Chamber be the one to provide that.”

The Chamber also decided to put some of their hardworking and dedicated officers under the spotlight. Terry Hardin, who was awarded the GPCC Volunteer of the Year, said that the award is a great honor but the thanks should be given to the chamber he loves being a part of. “I’ve made so many friends over the many years that I’ve done volunteer work and that volunteering it it’s own award.” Hardin stated. “Nothing that I’ve ever done has been because of me; it’s all about the people who work around me and help me. This really symbolizes a joint effort of what everyone has worked so hard to make happen this past year.”

It was clear by the end of the night that the evening wasn’t about a plaque with a name on it - it was truly about the tight knit community within Portage. All of the people involved had their place in the room because of what they’ve done to improve the city, and that’s something organizer and Office Manager for GPCC Nancy Simpson is happy to put together. “It really is a night to celebrate Portage. It’s wonderful to see people who are genuinely happy to be a part of a night that applauds individuals that help improve the community,” Simpson stated. “Looking back everything went great tonight and I really can’t wait for next year!” With the success of the night’s ceremony, it’s fairly certain to say that everyone who attended were leaving the park with the same thought.

The 2014 award winners were as follows:

Construction Awards:Lynn’s Bedroom City, Subway-Ameriplex, Family Express on Route 6

Community Improvement Award: Best Western Portage Inn and Suites, Bunch Jewelers, Latitudes Lakefront Dining & Events, Franciscan Working Well, LifePoint Baptist Church, Pet Supplies Plus, Subway - Willowcreek

Business Service Award:Lovings Heating and Cooling

Putting Portage on the Map: 2014 Trustee of the Year Brendan Clancy

Quality of Life Award: Janet Clem from the Bonner Center

Special Event: Music in the Park, accepted by Mayor James Synder

Outstanding Educator: Steve Livingston

GPCC Volunteer of the Year: Terry Hardin

Outstanding Public Citizen: Ed Gottschling

The Greater Portage Chamber concluded by thanking all their sponsors: Porter Regional Hospital, Horizon Bank, Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans, REGIONAL federal credit union, St. Mary Medical Center, Indiana American Water, Monsol, NIPSCO, Greater Indiana Title, Midwest Telecom of America, 1st Source Bank, Attorney Susan Kelly-Johnson & Dr. John B. Johnson III, Centier Bank, Meridian Title Corp., Poe and Associates, Reeder’s Auto Services, Inc., Samuelson Insurance, Environmental Solutions Group, Golden Living Center, Hoges and Davis, Pyro Industrial Services, Superior Ambulance, Terry and Linda Hardin, The eState, and the United Way of Porter County.

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