Everyone is faced with obstacles in their life and career. One obstacle was faced on Thursday when the inclement rainy weather forced the annual Valpo Parks Foundation Awards Reception indoors. But what makes those people overcome those troubles, and continue to lead on, are the qualities found in those who are then named the Friends and Legends of Valparaiso.
Thursday night was the 2017 Friends and Legends Awards Dinner, honoring Larry D. Moore with the Art and Irene Malasto Legends Award and John R. Schnurlein with the Legendary Friend award.
“This is just one of those magical nights where we celebrate each other and celebrate the community” Valpo Parks Executive Director John Seibert said at the beginning of the night. “Yes, we are designating a few extraordinary people in the community, but you are going to listen to them talk and they are just going to talk about everybody else.”
And, that is what they did. Moore and Schnurlein were introduced and thanked by a number of established community people before accepting the two awards. Mayor Jon Costas said a few words honoring the two heroes as well as current Valpo Parks Foundation President Jon Schmaltz.
Then, Seibert had the opportunity to introduce the first award winner of the night, Schnurlein.
“He was instrumental in everything significant in the town and if there was something going on in town, John was in the middle of it,” Seibert said. “When I think of John the words that come to mind are: gentleman, encourager, and booster.”
Schnurlein was a charter member of the Valpo Parks Foundation Board of Directors starting in 1988. During his years on the board, he helped set the standard for the Foundation’s lead on property evaluation and was a champion when acquiring the 180-acre Creekside property. He has also served on the Valparaiso City Council and was positioned as the Vice President of Northern Indiana Bank and Executive Director of the Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce. He and his wife Joan have lived in Porter County since the 1950’s and now are retired and living in the Pines Village Retirement Communities.
His many leadership and volunteer positions establish him as one of the men the community now stands on the shoulders of, Seibert said. As an inspiration by example, Schnurlein was the perfect man to be awarded the Legendary Friend Award for 2017.
“This was a surprise to me,” Schnurlein said as he accepted the award. Schnurlein recalled his first project, taking the Creekside property from becoming a dump to a beautiful golf course, laughing and smiling as he remembered.
“This is a wonderful, wonderful place,” Schurlein said.
The winner of the next award was presented by Jeff Lewis of Shive Hattery, who was a member of the Valpo Parks Board while Moore was president.
Moore is a former Valpo Parks Foundation Board of Directors President and while leading the team, he supported the building and improving upon of community projects like the Butterfly Meadows playground and Central Park Plaza. He also helped acquire several new park properties and land developments. Moore worked as the Vice President of CSI, and was involved in the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce, the United Way of Porter County and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Porter County. He was honored for the award for his extraordinary leadership and volunteer service to the Valpo community, but this award had a deeper, special meeting for him.
Art and Irene Malasto and the Moore family have been longtime friends, and Moore claims much of his success to the help of these two Valpo citizens. He also gives much of his success to the CSI company for presenting the opportunity to get more involved.
“We talk about having a vision, but it is taking that to reality is what is amazing,” Moore said. “Those in this room, in the community, that is really the reason why we, the Valpo Parks Foundation, sustain itself decade after decade.”
Moore is now retired and is excited for his next career; enjoying spending his time how he wants, which will be spending time traveling, golfing, and outdoors in the many Valpo community parks.
Looking over the years of outstanding board members and presidents, there are many people who have and still are great leaders and volunteers who can be selected for these awards, but Schmaltz could not happier with the 2017 winners.
“All you have to know is what they have done for the community and the parks… all their contributions and sacrifices, they speak for themselves,” he said. “It is remarkable there are two like that in the same place.”
It is remarkable, but it is also a pretty ordinary thing in the City of Valparaiso. Everywhere you look, there is another incredible leader, volunteer, and community member making Valpo a better place to live now and for the future generation.
The night was held in the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce building. Food and drinks were provided by Don Quijote Restaurant, Pikk’s Tavern, and FLUID Coffeebar. Music was provided by the Valparaiso High School Jazz Band.
Visit the Valpo Parks Foundation website, www.valpoparks.org, for the 2017 Foundation Partners and to learn what is coming up next for the Foundation.
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