The streets and homes of Northwest Indiana are always full of light, and with light comes joy and happiness. NIPSCO has been lighting up our communities for over 100 years, and recently added a joyous spotlight for community leaders and organizations partnered with the company.
On Thursday, NIPSCO hosted their annual Luminary Awards at the NiSource location in Merrillville. The Luminary Awards were inspired by NIPSCO’s 100th year anniversary event in 2012. Now, this annual event gives the company the opportunity to honor community leaders and organizations who have made a meaningful and significant impact on the lives others. The reception was packed with attendees and community partners of NIPSCO, and offered complimentary food, beverages, and an inspiring awards presentation.
“It’s always important to show appreciation and highlight all of the good things happening in our area,” said NIPSCO Spokesperson, Denise Rodriguez. “We have a lot of great partnerships, and it is very necessary and important for us to recognize their hard work and dedication.”
First, the reception began with attendees mingling with each other over plates of food and beverages. Next, the presentation began, kicked off by the Charity of Choice Check Presentation. This year, the Charity of Choice Check benefitted autism awareness and protection; the employees of NIPSCO raised $137,000 through their hard work and dedication for the charity effort. The funds are distributed between ten local organizations, including the Children’s Autism Center in Northeast Indiana, Ancilla College in Plymouth, Meridian Health Services in South Bend, White County Special Olympics, Harvesting Capabilities in Peru, Autism Resource of Kokomo, Kidsworks in Chesterton, Chasing Dreams in Merrillville, Opportunity Enterprises in Valparaiso, and the Autism Society of Indiana. Each organization provides programs and applied behavior analysis services for children with autism and resources for their families.
“Charity of Choice provided an opportunity for our NIPSCO employees to share with each other about how autism has affected their lives and lives of loved ones,” said NIPSCO Public Affairs Manager, Dana Berkes. “New connections, strengthened bonds, and a greater sense of our team grew out of this campaign.”
The event concluded with the recognition of the Luminary Award winners in the categories of Education, Environmental Stewardship, Economic Development, Public Safety, and a special award for Community Leadership. The Luminary Award winners named were Lena Yarian of Junior Achievement (JA) of Northern Indiana and Katie Hobgood of JA of Chicago in the category of Education; Mary McConnell of The Nature Conservancy of Indiana in the category of Environmental Stewardship; Denarie Kane with The City of Hobart in the Economic Development category; and Chief Stewart G. McMillan with the Multi Agency Academic Cooperative Foundation in the category of Public Safety. The special award for Community Leadership was presented to Dr. Vanessa McCloud, President and CEO of Urban League of NWI.
“I thank God for the opportunity, and I thank God for NIPSCO,” said McCloud. “I’m thankful for NIPSCO for all that they have done and for all of the opportunities given.”
The Luminary Awards truly lit up the atmosphere for attendees as well as community leaders of NIPSCO. A spotlight brightly shown on people that have given their hard work, dedication, and commitment to our surrounding communities.