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Occurrences in the Congressional Record

Entry Title Date
Recognizing The 2014 Distinguished Citizens Award Recipients November 12, 2014
Peter Visclosky, D-IN
"Mr. Speaker, it is with great respect that I take this time to recognize the 2014 Distinguished Citizen Award recipients, presented annually by the Boy Scouts of America Calumet Council. To commemorate this special occasion, the organization hosted a celebratory event on Monday, November 3, 2014, at the Center for Visual and Performing Arts in Munster, Indiana. Since 1992, the Boy Scouts of America Calumet Council has presented the Distinguished Citizen Award to individuals who have made a significant positive impact on the community in Northwest Indiana and across the state. This year, the Boy Scouts of America Calumet Council honored Michael and Jill Schrage. Michael Schrage, president and chief executive officer of Centier Bank, is a truly innovative business leader. Mike became the fourth generation of his family to own and operate the First Bank of Whiting, which was renamed Centier Bank years later. This family-owned bank has grown throughout the years, and today Centier includes over fifty branches in Indiana. Under Mr. Schrage’s leadership, an award winning lender division was established, a financial literacy program was introduced, and the company has been named one of Indiana’s best places to work for the past eight years. This is unquestionably due to Mike’s value-based work ethic, and the importance he places on Centier’s most important resource: its employees. Additionally, Mike gives much of his time and efforts to charitable endeavors, including the Saint Jude House, the American Red Cross, the YMCA, and the Boy Scouts of America, to name a few. Jill Schrage is a true humanitarian in every sense of the word. She gives selflessly and passionately of her time and efforts to various organizations and civic activities throughout Northwest Indiana and beyond, including the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, TradeWinds, Speaking of Women’s Health, the Girl Scouts of America, the Women’s Association of the Northwest Indiana Symphony, Opportunity Enterprises, and the Valparaiso Art Advisory Committee, among others. For her truly exceptional devotion to such worthy causes, Jill serves as an inspiration to us all. Mr. Speaker, I ask that you and my other distinguished colleagues join me in honoring the Boy Scouts of America Calumet Council and its 2014 Distinguished Citizen Award recipients, Michael and Jill Schrage. For their lifetime of leadership and outstanding dedication to serving those in need, Mike and Jill are worthy of the highest praise. "
Honoring Jerry Hanas November 12, 2014
Peter Visclosky, D-IN
"Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I stand before you today to honor Jerry Hanas and to wish him well upon his retirement as General Manager of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District. Mr. Hanas’s many years of service and expertise in his field have been a remarkable asset to the community of Northwest Indiana and beyond. In honor of Jerry’s retirement, a celebratory reception was held on Wednesday, November 5, 2014, at Sand Creek Country Club in Chesterton, Indiana. Northwest Indiana’s extensive transportation network earns this region’s reputation for being the crossroads of America. Interstates 80, 94, 90, and 65 traverse our landscape, as do the railroad tracks servicing the Norfolk Southern, Canadian National, and CSX rail lines, connecting travelers and business interests alike from the East to West Coasts. Most notably, the South Shore Rail Line, a passenger rail service offered by the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD), provides riders access to the environs of Chicago and its $500 billion economy. Under Mr. Hanas’s direction, NICTD and the South Shore Rail Line have flourished. Established in 1908, the South Shore Rail Line provided passenger service to the city of Chicago as well as to the recreational opportunities found in Northwest Indiana, given its proximity to Lake Michigan and South Bend. With the advent of the interstate system, and the newfound ability to travel between neighboring communities with ease, ridership along the South Shore Rail Line began to decline. In order to prevent the complete loss of this asset, the state of Indiana created NICTD for the sole purpose of maintaining and operating the passenger line. Jerry Hanas was hired as the General Manager of NICTD upon its creation in June 1977, and it is here where he has served the railroad for 37 years. NICTD’s success is due to Jerry’s competence, hard work, and dedication to a long-term vision in which passenger rail service is improved and expanded throughout the region. He effectively coordinated NICTD’s purchase of the South Shore railroad and passenger assets, resulting in a stable and reliable relationship between the passenger and freight services. This acquisition required a steadfast commitment to a series of strategic investments to ensure the line’s continuation. To that end, under Jerry’s leadership, since 1977, over $500 million has been dedicated to upgrading the rolling stock, stations, track, catenary, bridges, and signals associated with the line in order to enhance safety and to make much needed capacity-related track improvements. Currently, NICTD is in the process of conducting the appropriate environmental studies as part of its effort to expand services to the suburban areas in Northwest Indiana. This expansion is a key component to capitalizing upon our region’s transportation network and maximizing economic development opportunities. Although Jerry Hanas retires this fall, he leaves a completely rebuilt and vibrant South Shore Rail Line to serve as his legacy and a well-established corporate vision to keep the momentum going for future generations. Jerry’s commitment to his career and to the community of Northwest Indiana is exceeded only by his devotion to his family. He and his wonderful wife, Nancy, have a daughter, Melissa, son-in-law, Tom, and one beloved grandson, Donovan. They also have one son, Roger, whose fiancee, Annie, will be joining Jerry’s exceptional family. Mr. Speaker, I ask that you and my other distinguished colleagues join me in commending Jerry Hanas for his lifetime of leadership, service, and dedication to the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District. Jerry’s impact on the region will be evident for generations to come, and he is worthy of the highest praise. I ask that you join me in wishing him well upon his retirement."
Recognizing The Asian American Medical Association And Honoree Beth Wrobel November 12, 2014
Peter Visclosky, D-IN
"Mr. Speaker, it is with sincere admiration that I recognize the Asian American Medical Association, which will host its 38th Annual Gala on Saturday, November 15, 2014, at Avalon Manor in Merrillville, Indiana. Each year, the Asian American Medical Association pays tribute to prominent, outstanding citizens and organizations for their contributions to the community. In recognition of their efforts, these honorees are awarded the prestigious Crystal Globe Award at the annual banquet. The Asian American Medical Association has always been a great asset to Northwest Indiana. Its members have generously devoted themselves to providing superior medical services to the residents of Northwest Indiana and have always demonstrated exemplary service through their many cultural, academic and charitable endeavors. At this year’s Annual Gala, the Asian American Medical Association will present the Crystal Globe Award to one of Northwest Indiana’s finest citizens, Beth Wrobel. Mrs. Wrobel is to be commended for her exceptional contributions to her field and her community. In 1979, Beth graduated from Valparaiso University where she majored in Mechanical Engineering. Mrs. Wrobel’s engineering career includes twenty years of service with NiSource, Inc. Subsequently, in 2007, she also earned her Healthcare Executive Certificate from the University of California, Los Angeles, Anderson School of Business. Beth has been the chief executive officer of HealthLinc, Incorporated since 2002. She has since advanced the organization from a free medical clinic serving only adults to a Federally Qualified Health Center that provides medical services to over 4,000 uninsured or underinsured patients, through all life cycles, from prenatal to seniors. HealthLinc provides comprehensive, quality and affordable care that includes medical, dental, optometry and behavioral health services at six locations and one mobile van in Northern Indiana. In 2013, Beth was honored by Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly as top not-for-profit chief executive officer in Northern Indiana due to her success improving and expanding HealthLinc from a one-location, small organization, known as Hilltop Community Health Center, with a budget of less than $350,000 in 2001, to the multi-location organization that is known today, with a budget of $20 million and a staff of more than 200 employees. Beth has also earned distinction as Porter County Community Foundation’s 2012 Outstanding Executive and was honored by Porter County United Way as an Outstanding Agency Professional in 2014. Among her many accomplishments, Beth is a member of the Indiana Primary Healthcare Association Board and has previously held the position of president. She also serves as an adviser to many medical groups, including Indiana University Northwest Medical School, and has presented at many conferences, both at the national and state level. Additionally, Beth selflessly gives of her time through her involvement in various organizations and civic activities, such as the Porter County Reading Foundation Board and the City of Valparaiso Human Relations Council. She also serves as president-elect of the Valparaiso Rotary Club and is an active member of Immanuel Lutheran Church. Beth’s compassion and dedication to her field and her commitment to charitable endeavors exemplifies the self-driven person that she is and is exceeded only by her devotion to her wonderful family. Beth and her husband, Joe, have three amazing sons. Mr. Speaker, I ask that you and my other distinguished colleagues join me in commending the members of the Asian American Medical Association, as well as this year’s Crystal Globe Award recipient, Beth Wrobel, for their outstanding contributions to their community and beyond. Their unwavering commitment and dedication to improving the quality of life for the people of Northwest Indiana and throughout the United States is truly inspirational."
Paying Tribute To The Honorable Sue Landske November 12, 2014
Peter Visclosky, D-IN
"Mr. Speaker, it is with tremendous gratitude and the highest respect that I take this time to honor a dear friend and one of Indiana’s finest citizens, the Honorable Sue Landske, Indiana State Senator. During her many years of public service and because of her countless efforts toward improving the lives of her fellow Hoosiers, Sue has left an indelible mark as an outstanding public servant, and for this, she is to be commended. Senator Landske will be retiring at the end of this year. Sue Landske pursued her education at Saint Joseph’s College and Indiana University, followed by graduate studies at the University of Chicago. In the years to follow, Sue, through hard work and a spirit for public service, was elected Center Township Assessor in 1978. She was also elected Lake County Republican Vice Chair the same year and maintained that position until 1989, then again from 2001 to 2007. Senator Landske was first elected to the Indiana Legislature in 1984 and has selflessly represented the people of Indiana Senate District 6 for the last thirty years. Throughout her tenure as State Senator, Sue has consistently fought for the rights of the residents of her district and throughout Indiana. In particular, Senator Landske’s legislative achievements include authoring Indiana’s lemon law, which guards Hoosiers against the sale of defective vehicles, creating living will legislation, which gives Indiana residents better control over their future medical decisions, and spearheading the passage of a bill requiring all Indiana nursing homes to have fire sprinklers throughout their facilities and smoke detectors in every patient’s room. Senator Landske’s record speaks for itself. She has passionately devoted herself to improving the lives of Hoosiers and to protecting the interests and well-being of Indiana’s most vulnerable citizens. Highlighting her leadership in Northwest Indiana and the Indiana General Assembly, Sue has distinguished herself by serving as the Assistant Pro Tempore in the Indiana State Senate. She has also served on numerous legislative committees including the Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee, as a ranking member of the Civil Law Committee, and as chair of the Elections Committee. Along with her career as a State Senator, Sue is also a retired colonel in the Indiana National Guard and president and owner of All Golfcar, Incorporated. Senator Landske’s exemplary service has been rightfully recognized numerous times during her legislative career. In both 1980 and 1983, she was honored with the prestigious Sagamore of the Wabash for her service to the people of Indiana. Following this honor, Sue was awarded the title of Outstanding Republican Senator, as well as the accolade of Business and Professional Woman of the Year. Sue was also recognized as Lake County Republican of the Year in 1988, the Jaycees’ Citizen of the Year in 1991, and was named Small Business Champion in 2000 by the National Federation of Independent Business. Senator Landske’s remarkable career is exceeded only by her devotion to her amazing family. Sue and her loving husband of fifty-seven years, Bill, have five children and seven grandchildren. I have been truly fortunate to call Sue Landske my friend. Throughout the years, she has been an outstanding advocate for the community of Northwest Indiana, as well as for all Hoosiers. She epitomizes what it means to be a public servant, and for her selfless, lifelong commitment to the people of Indiana, she is worthy of the highest praise. Mr. Speaker, I respectfully ask that you and my other distinguished colleagues join me in honoring Indiana State Senator Sue Landske for her lifetime of leadership and exceptional service to the people of Northwest Indiana and throughout the state. Senator Landske’s impact will be evident for generations to come, and she serves as an inspiration to us all."
Recognizing The 100Th Anniversary Of The Schererville Fire Department September 17, 2014
Peter Visclosky, D-IN
"Mr. Speaker, it is with great respect and admiration that I recognize the Schererville Fire Department, as the organization celebrates its 100th anniversary. In honor of this momentous occasion, the Schererville Fire Department is hosting a celebratory event on Friday, September 26, 2014, at the Patrician Banquet Center in Schererville, Indiana. The Schererville Volunteer Fire Department was established on June 25, 1914, under the direction of Fire Chief Fred Henderlong, and was made up of twenty-five volunteer members. In the early days, the firefighters did not receive compensation for their work. This changed in 1953, when one dollar was given to the members for attending a monthly meeting, responding to a call, or working for one hour. Today, the Schererville Fire Department is a fully paid organization consisting of sixty-one employees. Throughout the years, the department has changed its standards to fit the needs of the community. From purchasing the department’s first motorized piece of fire equipment in 1922, to upgrading their ambulance service from basic life support to advanced life support in 2006, the Schererville Fire Department has upheld their mission statement of “serving the needs of its people.” The leaders and members of the Schererville Fire Department continue to touch lives through their outstanding community service, especially to those most in need. Every year, the organization lends its support to a variety of charitable organizations, including Hoosier Burn Camp, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the American Heart Association, Northwest Indiana Cancer Kids, “Bump Out Cancer,” Tri-Town Safety Village, Schererville Baseball League, and the Down Syndrome Association of Northwest Indiana. At this time, I would like to acknowledge several individuals who, in conjunction with the Schererville Fire Department, have worked diligently to support this outstanding organization. In addition to the firefighters and all of the employees of the department, I would like to recognize Fire Chief Joseph M. Kruzan, Jr., Deputy Fire Chief Robert Patterson, Town Council President Mike Troxell, and Board of Safety Chairman Pete Sormaz. Mr. Speaker, I ask you and my other distinguished colleagues to join me in congratulating the Schererville Fire Department on its 100th anniversary. Northwest Indiana is both grateful and proud to have had the organization’s support during the past 100 years, and for their selfless service, the leadership and members of the Schererville Fire Department are worthy of the highest praise."

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