This year was no exception. Two individuals were presented the award at the WPOA annual meeting Saturday morning.
Al Campbell and Dan Berkey were recognized for their efforts on educating others about the importance of Lake Wawasee’s watershed in preserving the wetlands but Lake Wawasee. Both were speechless as their list of actions were described.
“This year’s chiefs have both grown up in Indiana and on our area lakes,” stated Kay Young, WPOA board president. “One here at Wawasee, the other on lakes in the central part of the county. During those formative years, each of them enjoyed all the great things that lake living can give you … .”
Campbell spent some of his early years growing up in Warsaw. His parents were educators in the Warsaw school system. He attended Purdue University and served with the Marines in Korea. He and his wife Dotty raised their four children in Cincinnati where he worked in international business. But his heart was always in Indiana.
Twelve years before retirement the Campbells bought their house on the south shore. Now time was spent either at home in Cincinnati or at Lake Wawasee.
Berkey’s family started coming to the lake in 1900. He spent most every summer on the lake. After graduating from Goshen High School he attended the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colo., with a major in anthropology. He combined his interest in history, science and the outdoors with his teaching career in Boulder Valley Schools, Boulder, teaching fourth, sixth and seventh grades for more than 30 years. He won a teacher of the year award from the American Medical Society for his science teaching.
But Lake Wawasee brought them and their families back each summer and they took up the “mantle of caring for Wawasee and instilling that caring in their children and grandchildren.”
Young noted 20 years ago one of the chiefs was invited to take a canoe trip down the 10 lakes from Knapp Lake to Village Lake. On that trip information was shared about the lakes and what each did for the area and for Wawasee. The idea was born to educate others and a partnership was formed between Campbell and Berkey.
For the past 19 years both men have led canoe trips every Friday morning from Memorial Day to Labor Day, loaded canoes and taken groups down the 10-lake trip, educating others not only in the importance of the waterway but the history and environment around it and the animals depending on it.
Berkey and his wife, Marilyn, have also for years done water testing for Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation each summer, testing the visibility of the lake. He also has served on the WACF board.
Campbell, said to be the quiet one of the duo, was recently honored as one of the WACF Eli Lilly Foundation Society members and one of the early donors of funds for acquisition important wetlands by WACF.
Also during the annual meeting recognition was given to two outgoing board members, Dan Morris and Ann Boniface, and the election of two incoming board members Beth Morris and Bill Pipp.
During business matters, Young announced there will be a home tour next summer, late July, with money going toward the Syracuse-Wawasee Trail Committee. She announced studies are being done to continue the trail from Harkless Drive to Sleepy Owl and areas on the southeast side of the lake.
The meeting concluded with the annual fireworks report/story from Sally Gindling, an annual request by a number of the members.