Community News Feed - ValpoLife Thu, 14 Nov 2019 16:25:17 +0000 en hourly 1 Centier Bank commemorates Veterans Day, donates $1,000 to local veterans nonprofit Wed, 13 Nov 2019 02:44:04 +0000 Centier Bank Centier Bank associates gathered in the Corporate Centre building’s lobby on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019, for a special ceremony honoring Veterans who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, both past and present.

“We gathered today to pay tribute to those who have so selflessly made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom,” said Anthony Contrucci, Vice President of Community and Business Development at Centier Bank.

Representatives from Crown Point American Legion Post #20 presented and retired the colors of the flag the ceremony, and the crowd watched a video about Operation Combat Bikesaver, a Crown Point-based nonprofit organization dedicated to helping veterans regain a sense of community and purpose through rebuilding motorcycles. 

Jason Zaidman, US Army Veteran and President/CEO of Operation Combat Bikesaver, spoke to the crowd about PTSD and veteran suicide, and about how the organization wants to provide a sanctuary for those who are suffering.

“When veterans return home after serving in combat, they often feel alone and suffer in silence,” Zaidman said. “We want to give them a place where they can go and keep their minds occupied, alongside other people who relate to them.” 

According to the website, Operation Combat Bikesaver is “designed to be a safe space for veterans to interact together learning, teaching, building, and bonding, stress-free, surrounded by individuals that signed the same dotted line.”

Centier Bank associates presented Zaidman and other members of Operation Combat Bikesaver a community donation of $1,000 to help fund the project’s mission.  The donation will go toward operational costs for the space which, due to financial restrictions, can only open on Sundays, as well as the bikes themselves. 

“We are very appreciative to everyone at Centier for their commitment to our mission, and for the support they’ve shown us today,” Zaidman said. “We are very grateful for the donation, and it will surely help the veterans who find solace at Operation Combat Bikesaver.”

For more information on Operation Combat Bikesaver, go to

Centier Bank commemorates Veterans Day, donates $1,000 to local veterans nonprofit
Porter Regional Hospital honors vets with first annual Veterans Day Ceremony Tue, 12 Nov 2019 00:12:51 +0000 Curtis Hankins Porter Regional Hospital hosted their First Annual Veterans Day Ceremony on Monday. During the event, Porter Health Care System CEO Sean Dardeau joined VFW Post 988 in honoring all members of the military, both active duty and veterans.

Monday’s ceremony was Porter Regional Hospital’s first time formally observing Veterans Day. They invited all their staff to submit photos and biographies of themselves or any family members who have served or are currently serving in any branch of the military. Each submission was collected and put up for display on a wall in the hospital lobby.

“I think it’s important that we honor our associates and their family members who have sacrificed for military service,” Dardeau said. “It’s obviously an anxious time for anyone when their family is away for service, so what you see here on this wall is a great deal of sacrifice and duty. We have to highlight those who have done so much to preserve our freedoms.”

Porter Regional’s 1st Annual Veterans Day Event 2019

Porter Regional’s 1st Annual Veterans Day Event 2019 10 Photos
Porter Regional’s 1st Annual Veterans Day Event 2019Porter Regional’s 1st Annual Veterans Day Event 2019Porter Regional’s 1st Annual Veterans Day Event 2019Porter Regional’s 1st Annual Veterans Day Event 2019

Among those in attendance were Rebecca Rodriguez, whose child is staying in Porter Regional Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Her husband, Jonah Rodriguez, serves in the Air Force and just returned from deployment for the birth of his child at Porter Regional. He was at the hospital today to watch the ceremony.

“It’s really awesome to see this,” Rebecca Rodriguez said of the ceremony. “You don’t always see this kind of recognition from the outside. I was upstairs in the NICU with our baby and didn’t actually know this was happening until a few minutes ago.”

Jorge Perez, Commander of Post 988, made remarks and introduced his Vice Commander, Joe Garrison Jr. Garrison told the assembled crowd the story behind each fold in the iconic folded flag. Perez, Garrison, and the rest of the VFW Post 988 take part in numerous ceremonies every Veterans Day.

“It’s an honor to come out and do this for our fellow veterans and those who are serving now,” Perez said. “It shows that the community around us still cares. It’s great to be here, we’re glad that Porter Regional Hospital invited us out and is honoring other veterans.”

The event struck particularly close to home for Dardeau, who has three relatives who have served including both of his parents.

“If you have the opportunity to thank a vet or to help a vet, please take the opportunity to do that,” he said. “They’ve done so much for us, both individually and as a country. We need to step up and take care of them when they need us. I’m very proud of all these men and women represented here today, and I hope to host a similar ceremony next year, maybe even grander.”

To learn more about Porter Health Care System, visit

Porter Regional Hospital honors vets with first annual Veterans Day Ceremony
Porter Regional’s 1st Annual Veterans Day Event 2019 Tue, 12 Nov 2019 00:07:56 +0000 Curtis Hankins Porter Regional’s 1st Annual Veterans Day Event 2019 StoryPoint Chesterton pays special tribute to residents who are veterans Mon, 11 Nov 2019 10:29:33 +0000 Kayla Belec Every Veterans Day, organizations and communities have their own special ways to pay their respects to those who have served our country. Many find solace in the ritual of honoring the memory of veterans who lost their lives or have since passed on and savor the opportunity to celebrate veterans living in the community. Alongside all StoryPoint communities, StoryPoint Chesterton is paying special tribute to residents who are veterans and whose spouses were veterans, giving them the recognition they deserve. 

The StoryPoint team put together a special Veteran Dedication Wall featuring each veteran’s story and photo so family members, fellow residents, and visitors can get to know them. Read on for their stories.

Robert Forney

Bob was born on January 13, 1931, in Dodge, Nebraska. In November of 1951, he enlisted into the U.S. Air Force while studying electronics at Valparaiso Tech and Trade School in Indiana.  He completed his basic training at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas then continued in Biloxi, Mississippi for further electronics training. Bob worked on aircraft that were instrumental in defending the United States from the “Red Menace” known as the Soviet Union. He worked on the electronics of B-50s which were upgraded B-29 bombers from World War II and B-47s which were the first operational jet bombers and the precursor to the mighty B-52. Bob was discharged from the USAFs 43rd Bomb Wing in 1955. 

He married Carol in Salina, Kansas a year after he entered the Air Force and when he was sent to other locations, she stayed behind with their two sons. He worked in the excavating business for 12 years before going on his own, running a supply business for underground contractors.  In 1993, when he turned 62 years old, he retired.  

Bob loves dancing, darts, and has traveled all over the country to play golf, even visiting England.  He was also heavily involved in the Boy Scouts. One of his greatest thrills was going for a ride in a P-51 Mustang!

Newton “Jerry” Murphey

Jerry was born in Spencer, Iowa on November 22, 1928. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1946 and completed basic training in San Diego. He was trained as a metalsmith/welder and assigned to Mare Island Naval Shipyard where he worked primarily on submarines. He was later transferred to the destroyer escort USS Furse DE-882 based in Japan and China.  

After his discharge from the Navy, Jerry attended the University of Iowa where he earned a degree in political science and business. He made his career in the steel industry, first with US Steel for 11 years and followed by Feralloy Company, from where he retired as the president of the company in 1995. He married Anne in 1951 and the couple raised two girls and one boy who gave them five grandchildren. 

Jerry played golf two times a week, is a Colts and Bears fan and Anne is a professional bridge player. Jerry had the honor of spending three days with the U.S. Navy touring and living on several ships including the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier that he landed and took off from!

Joe Piette

Joe was born on February 3, 1927 in Chicago, Illinois. While working for Acme/Interlake Steel Company, he was drafted into the U.S. Army in February of 1945. Joe and his unit were slated as part of the invasion forces against Japan, but the war ended, and they were trained for occupation duty instead. He was never shipped overseas but instead performed various duties at different Army posts. Joe was discharged on February 6, 1947 and is grateful for the time he spent with the ‘old-timers’ who shared their stories of combat with him. 

Joe made a 41-year long career with the steel company, working his way up to assistant superintendent. He married Gloria in 1951 and they raised two sons who grew the family with the addition of three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. 

Golf was his passion and he played it often, scoring a hole in one October 23, 2004, at Stoney Creek Gold Club. He’s been a member of the American Legion since 1948, wintered in Florida, lived to watch the Chicago Bears and White Sox and still belongs to the Knights of Columbus.

Art Thomason

Art was born in East Chicago, Indiana on January 2, 1936. While studying electronics he entered the U.S. Air Force to avoid being drafted into the Army. He completed basic training in San Antonio before being sent to Biloxi, Mississippi for advanced training in avionics. Art was assigned to SAC bomber command repairing ECM (Electronic Counter Measures) units on the mighty B-52 Stratofortress. He was based at several locations including Walker Air Force Base, Anderson Air Force Base on Guam and on bases in New Mexico and Washington State. 

He married Sandra in 1956, two years prior to joining the Air Force and the couple had one daughter and five sons who grew the family with the inclusion of seventeen grandchildren and twenty-two great-grandchildren. Art spent more than 20 years with the Western Electric Company writing manuals and procedures on repairing equipment while Sandra worked for United Airlines.  

Art enjoyed model railroading and doing some woodworking, mostly making toys for the kids and the occasional cabinet.

Robert Beigle

Bob was born in Newry, Pennsylvania on June 22, 1928. While working at Shaw Brothers Grocery meat market, he was drafted into the Army where he was trained as a cook and sent to Korea. Bob and Marjorie met at the meat market and after a brief courtship, married on May 22, 1953.  

Bob made his career with the Pennsylvania Highway Department until his passing away in 1986. Marjorie moved from Altoona, Pennsylvania to Indiana to be near her son. 

Bob enjoyed fishing, gardening, tinkering with cars, and football. Marjorie was a teacher’s aide for 25 years and most enjoyed her 3rd and 4th-grade students. She also volunteered with the local soup kitchen for 15 years.

Bob and Marjorie have two sons, four grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

The Veteran Dedication Wall is part of the StoryPoint family’s Veterans’ Honor Project. For more details, visit

StoryPoint Chesterton pays special tribute to residents who are veterans
City of Hammond celebrates 6th annual parade commemorating veterans Sat, 09 Nov 2019 21:21:26 +0000 Sergio Valdes On the chilly autumn morning of November 9, the City of Hammond celebrated its 6th Annual Veteran Appreciation Day Parade. Both the Region’s veterans and members of the community gathered around 173rd Street to experience the event, which began at Olcott Avenue.

“Our role today was to honor all of those who have served our country, and to make sure they know that we stand with them and that they are not alone,” said Frank Mrvan, North Township Trustee.

Parade participants included members of local American Legions and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) posts, local high school marching bands like Bishop Noll Institute and Gavit High, antique military vehicles, Those Funny Little People mobile puppets, and a flyover by the Lima Lima Flight Team.

Hammond’s 6th Annual Veterans Appreciation Parade 2019

Hammond’s 6th Annual Veterans Appreciation Parade 2019 40 Photos
Hammond’s 6th Annual Veterans Appreciation Parade 2019Hammond’s 6th Annual Veterans Appreciation Parade 2019Hammond’s 6th Annual Veterans Appreciation Parade 2019Hammond’s 6th Annual Veterans Appreciation Parade 2019

“I’m very happy to see younger people get involved in these types of celebrations,” said Marty Wielgos, District Manager of Hammond’s Sanitary District, who was the M.C. for the event. “I think it’s good that they start to truly see and understand the sacrifices that so many men and women have made throughout the decades. It’s important to have a reminder that the freedoms we have come with a price.”

The parade concluded at the Hessville Park Veterans Memorial and was followed by a brief ceremony dedicated to John Doughty, Hammond Chief of Police and parade grand marshall. He talked about his perspective as a veteran and how his service for his country influenced how he served the city of Hammond.

“It was a great honor to be recognized for my duties,” Doughty said. “However, this event isn’t just about me, it’s really about every single person who has served. And when they come home, that’s often when they need our help the most. Even a simple act of kindness or a ‘thank you’ can mean so much to someone who has served our country.”

The final part of the ceremony was the laying down of the wreaths (made by members of local American Legions and VFW posts) in memorial of all of those veterans who devoted their lives and passed away fighting for our freedom.

“The City of Hammond and the mayor’s administration want to make sure the parade is growing and that more people are coming out to commemorate those who’ve sacrificed so much for the sake of our safety and freedom,” Mrvan said. “I think they did a great job today in honoring all of our veterans of Northwest Indiana. They should be commended.”

City of Hammond celebrates 6th annual parade commemorating veterans
Hammond’s 6th Annual Veterans Appreciation Parade 2019 Sat, 09 Nov 2019 21:17:06 +0000 Sergio Valdes Hammond’s 6th Annual Veterans Appreciation Parade 2019 Angel Tree Sat, 09 Nov 2019 15:48:40 +0000 Community Healthcare System Thu, Dec 5; 2:30 pm, St. Mary Medical Center, 1500 S. Lake Park Ave., west entrance, Hobart

The Angel Tree program allows participants to honor or memorialize a loved one during the holiday season. For a $10 donation, an angel is placed on the Angel Tree at the hospital’s west entrance lobby. Personalized angel cards are sent to honorees or families to commemorate the event. For a $20 donation, the donor also receives an additional beautiful angel ornament. The donations help to support the St. Mary Medical Center Auxiliary scholarship

program. Visit and click on “Donate” and St. Mary Medical Center for a donation form or call 219-947-6011. Note: Names received after Fri, Nov 15 cannot be guaranteed a listing in the Angel Tree

Lighting Ceremony program book. Payroll deduction is available, call 7-6011 (Melina Dixon) for more information.

Angel Tree
Lights of Life Sat, 09 Nov 2019 14:56:09 +0000 Community Healthcare System Wed, Dec 4; 6-7 pm,  Community Hospital Outpatient entrance B, 901 MacArthur Blvd, Munster

Each brilliant light on the Lights of Life trees at Community Hospital shine in honor or memory of the special people who light up our lives. For every light, a $5 donation has been made to support cancer research at the hospital. For a $15 donation, a pink breast cancer pin or a lavender cancer awareness pin can also be sent. Visit and click on “Donate” and Community Cancer Research Foundation for a donation form or call 219-836-6875.

Note: Names received after Monday, Nov. 25 cannot be guaranteed a listing in the Lights of Life program book. Payroll deduction is available.

Lights of Life
Federal Agency recognizes West Lake Corridor Project with Special Honor Sat, 09 Nov 2019 05:23:34 +0000 South Shore Line Project earns the Excellence in Environmental Document Preparation distinction

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has named the West Lake Corridor project in Northwest Indiana a recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award for Excellence in Environmental Documentation Preparation. The documents were part of a submission to establish a proposed $933 million project that would increase transportation options for accessing downtown Chicago, improve mobility and accessibility, and stimulate local job creation and economic development opportunities for the growing communities throughout Lake County, Indiana.

The West Lake Corridor project aims to expand Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District commuter (NICTD) rail service via an 8-mile southerly branch from the South Shore Line’s station in Hammond to Dyer in Indiana.

“This award represents the substantial, collective efforts of FTA, NICTD, and HDR Engineering to move this project from the Draft Environmental Impact Statement to the Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision,” said NICTD President and CEO Michael Noland who accepted the award in New York at the American Public Transportation Association conference in October.

“We are extremely proud of the recognition and accomplishments that are signified by this award,” Noland said.

“As a result of the public comment process, we received valuable input on the design of the project from local elected officials, community members and other stakeholders in Hammond, Munster, and Dyer that resulted in a number of significant positive changes, and the documents accurately reflects these changes.”

The West Lake Corridor Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision reflects FTA Region V’s new best-practices review process, fulfilling requirements for content, utility, and practicality in environmental documentation. As the project moves through design and construction, Noland said it is essential that documents convey the environmental consequences, mitigation, and coordination requirements effectively via content that is easily understood by engineers and construction contractors and other stakeholders.

The Outstanding Achievement Award for Excellence in Environmental Document Preparation is presented in two categories every two years — Environmental Assessment and Environmental Impact Statement.
After recently receiving a positive rating from the FTA, the West Lake Corridor Project was approved to enter the engineering phase of the Capital Investment Grant’s New Starts program, a discretionary grant program administered by the FTA.

For additional information regarding the West Lake Corridor Project, visit

Federal Agency recognizes West Lake Corridor Project with Special Honor
Mercury transit of sun viewing Sat, 09 Nov 2019 05:10:00 +0000 Valparaiso University WHAT: The Valparaiso University Observatory will host a viewing to see Mercury transit the sun, weather permitting. Such transits of Mercury occur about 13 times per century, and Mercury will appear about 1/200 the diameter of the sun.

WHEN: Nov. 11, 9–11 a.m., weather permitting

WHERE: Valparaiso University Observatory

CONTACT: Bruce Hrivnak at or 219.464.5202 for questions and updates on if the weather will permit.

Mercury transit of sun viewing