Each year, we are honored to shine a spotlight on volunteerism in LaGrange County. We asked the community to share the stories of people making a difference in our community and honored the volunteers through the Heart of Gold Award.
This year, we received four nominations for our 13th annual Heart of Gold Award. Nominees are able to direct a $500 grant to the favorite LaGrange County charity of their choice. The Heart of Gold recipients are given the honor of directing a $1,000 grant toward their favorite charity.
One Heart of Gold Award nominee was Allisa Brown.
Allisa is the event coordinator of Night to Shine, which allows adults with developmental disabilities to have a night just for them. To have a prom where they can dance, eat, play games, and have fun.
Allisa has also led a bible study for adults with developmental disabilities for over ten years at the LaGrange First Church of God.
She is a co-county coordinator for the Special Olympics.
Her nominator, Laura Webb said, “If you have not had the opportunity to meet Allisa, you are missing out. She is one of the kindest and most selfless people I know. Allisa has been involved in the Lagrange community heavily, but her passion is serving with adults with developmental disabilities.”
The other nominees include: Carolyn Hostetler, Chad Miller, and Kailie Snyder-Farnsworth.
Carolyn Hostetler volunteers for the Brighton Chapel on the Road, Brighton Chapel Food Drive and leads a women’s bible study.
Carolyn’s nominator and pastor, Rusin Krapf, said, “Carolyn is an incredible person! She is deeply involved in our church, of which has an incredible impact in our community. She has served in a variety of ministries within our church. She has served in our women’s ministry. She was the leader of the women’s ministry for several years and developed an incredible team of ladies to serve other women in our church. She leads a bible study faithfully every Monday morning with a group of 15 women in our church. She has moved onto local outreach ministries and has started a parks ministry that serves a local community with food, personal support of those in the community and bible studies. She also has started a food distribution ministry in our church that serves up to 60 cars a month. She developed our welcome team that welcomes attendees on Sunday mornings.”
Chad Miller has volunteered for 27 and a half years at the Shipshewana Volunteer Fire Department. 14 of these he was the Fire Chief, and he spent 2 years as a reserve police officer. He also worked as an AEMT at Parkview LaGrange for 10 years. Additionally, he volunteers his time at Pilots and Paws.
Nominator Christine Yoder described Chad. She said, “With a lifelong continuity to his volunteerism, he has dedicated a sacrificial amount of his time to serving his community making this a better place for everyone. Everyone: not just one demographic or interest group but for every single resident, business owner and visitor. And he does it with enthusiasm. Demonstrating proven leadership qualities by leading with integrity and downhome honest grit he inspired a team of 28 others to follow him and volunteer alongside him. His commitment to his role has succeeded in enhancing the quality of the Shipshewana Volunteer Fire Department overall as well as the quality of life for its residents.”
Kailie Snyder-Farnsworth is the founder and president of of LaGrange County Miracle Tree, a local non-profit dedicated to helping children living at poverty level. She is also seated as the 2nd vice-president of the Howe Lions Club.
Kailie’s nominator, Jamelle Godlewski, shared some about Kailie’s volunteer work. “Kailie started Miracle Tree in LaGrange County and works so so hard to make sure the needs of kids, teens and families are taking care of, not just at Christmas time, but year-round. I can’t even count the number of hours she puts in and the sacrifices she makes to meet these needs. She works with schools, the clothes and food basket, DCS and other organizations and people to make this program run smooth and that each child and teen that has a need, that it is getting met. She truly cares and gives of herself, all for the sake of others,” Jamelle said.
Thank you to this year’s nominees and those who nominated them.
The time, energy, and commitment each of the nominees put into their volunteer efforts is beyond measurable. We are grateful to have such kind-hearted volunteers serving our community.