It’s time again to submit nominations for our annual Beacon Award.
We’ve been presenting this recognition since 2004, as a way of honoring a local visionary.
The name of the award is derived from the word “Pharos” in the name of our newspaper. The newpaper’s founder, 20-year-old Samuel A. Hall, named the publication after one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, a lighthouse built in Egypt during the third century BC. In the same way that the beacon of light from a lighthouse would lead sailors safely to port, Hall believed that his newspaper should shine a beacon of leadership for the community.
The Beacon Award, then, goes to a local visionary who has helped to chart our community’s course.
Last year’s winner was Mike Fincher, a two-term mayor who had pursued a vision of economic development and education for Logansport and Cass County. Fincher, who had lost his bid for a third consecutive term, had been nominated by numerous community leaders, including all seven previous award winners.
The list of past winners is an impressive one.
The first was Brian Shockney, president and chief executive officer of Logansport Memorial Hospital. He was honored for his leadership in the creation of a new community health education center and the construction of River Bluff Trail.
The second was Mike Meagher, executive director of Area Five Agency on Aging and Community Services. Meagher was recognized for his work on several projects, including restoration of the old brick barn that stood on the Goldie Chase farm across from the Area Five offices on Smith Street.
Our third winner was Joyce Mayhill, executive director of the United Way of Cass County. She was recognized for her work in obtaining funding for the Reading Railroad, an effort to instill a love of reading in Cass County youngsters, and for her work to help the county embrace cultural diversity through an effort called Diversity Dynamics.
Next came Mercedes Brugh, a key force in the development of Little Turtle Waterway, and then Jan Fawley, the Logansport parks administrator who was recognized for her work to enhance the local parks and for her efforts on the Light Up Logansport Parade and numerous other civic endeavors.
Our sixth winner was Dave Wegner, director of the Cass-Pulaski community corrections program. He was recognized for work that not only helps offenders to get their lives back on track but that helps to make Logansport and Cass County a better place to live.
And then came Jean Cole, a driving force behind local beautification efforts. Cole has not only joined her husband, Milt, in providing funding for those efforts, she has literally gotten down on her hands and knees to plant flowers in areas she felt needed a splash of beauty.
All of these people have one thing in common. They see a brighter future for our community, and they have the energy and the tenacity to help in making that vision a reality.
Next year’s winner will be recognized in January during the annual state of the city and county luncheon sponsored by the Logansport-Cass County Chamber of Commerce.
If you know someone you think should be considered, we’d like to hear from you. Send us an essay of up to 500 words telling us who you’d like to nominate and why. The deadline is Dec. 12.
Kelly Hawes is managing editor of the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5155 or firstname.lastname@example.org.