The main event for the evening was the announcement of the annual Chief Award recipient. This year’s recipient didn’t go to an individual, but an organization which for 25 years has looked after the quality of water flowing into and in Lake Wawasee. Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation was presented the 2016 Chief Award. Heather Harwood, WACF executive director, accepted the award.
Kay Young, president of the WPOA board of directors, stated the award has been given since 2006, honoring someone or an entity “in our community who has given their time and talent to the community but also to help preserve Lake Wawasee and over the years have shown how much they love and support our lake.”
She stated this year “we’re going to honor, kind of, one of our own. Twenty-five years ago, forward thinking members of the WPOA realized there was a need to have an organization to guard our lakes and that would be their only job. That was more than the WPOA could do and at that point the WACF was born from those people.”Young stated without the hard work of each of the members of the WACF board, past and present, “We would not be able to enjoy the beautiful waters tonight that we are floating on, their continued oversight of the watershed is preserving these waters for future generations to come and ensuring them of the clean pristine lake that we all love.”
Past recipients of the award include Doug and Carolyn Anderson, the Sudlows, the Rookstools, Dave Lichtenauer, Sen. Bob Meeks, Al Campbell, Dan Berkey, Dave Grandstaff, Spike Ford, Mike Kiley, Bob Dickerson, Dick Ruddel and Dick Green.
Dr. Nate Bosch, director of the Center for Lakes & Streams, and Harwood both give short reports on their respective organizations and some of the work being done. Following their presentations, Young presented each group with a $5,000 check toward projects.
Bosch referred to Dick Green’s analogy of the center being part of a triangle of groups concerned about the lake — working with the WPOA and WACF on research and issues. “You need the three components. We all have or unique expertises and focuses, but when we work all together that is where we will see the biggest change in the lakes.”
Harwood also noted the support of the WPOA and the center on issues of importance. “We’re continuing our projects to try to protect the lake, keep the water quality clean. We sure appreciate the threesome between the Center for Lakes & Streams and the WPOA.”
The annual meeting is also the time for election of board members. This year, terms for four individuals — Kip Schumm, Tom Tuttle, Cindy Quinn and Jerry Babb, were up for re-election. Schumm and Tuttle both agreed to serve another three years. However Quinn and Babb would be retiring from the board. Sherry Johnson and Scott Laughner were elected as new board members.
The remainder of the evening was spent enjoying the three-hour cruise around Lake Wawasee and socializing with neighbors and friends.