First, I want to thank the Lifers that make sure your stories, photos, events and good news come to life. They have grown in our four years to an army of good people on a mission to spread good.
To everyone here: thank you for showing up. We asked you four years ago to like a place that celebrates all the good news. With all of your help we built this place called Life.
You showed up in the forms of Likes, shares, posts, tweets, shout outs, waves, hand shakes, meetings, introductions and smiles that feed this growing army of good people. So what have you built?
And ultimately, millions of times, tens of thousands of people have clicked on something that this team published and found something good.
For me, thatís a dream come true.
Thank you to the Lifers
Natalie Mahlmann Brett Fuller Karin Woodside Maureen Davey Theresa Potesta Jenny Craig Liz Powers Brandon Vickrey Caitlin Vanlaningham Shawn Barnes Paige Pope Andrea Evans Kyle Granat Megan Leetz Robyn Walsworth Jill Baker Barby Alfredson Aimee White Jenn Eubanks Caroline Albers Cindy Hughes Jessica Marquez Jordan Loeffler Gareth Kaye Natalie Wirsing Fernando Ortiz Ken Peterson Ericka McCauley Sarah Dwight David Hunter Jaymie Pliskey Jessica Craig Christine Roche Lydia Gerike Paige Vlietstra
Gave me her time literally from day one.
Embraced our mission from that morning on and said yes every time we have asked.
She walks and runs the positive walk in everything she does whether it be the YMCA, Fitness Fridays, or talking to students in the community in an open, learning manner about drug use to truly make a difference, more than a sound byte.
Blair is a Navy Grad - one of the youngest Mayors in State of Indiana - part of a young guns network that are the bright stars of our future. Smart savvy communicator that leads the region in communicating via social and every other means.
Her smile, her personality, her voice, her girls, and her office all shout welcome
Direct mail and print leader that embraced the power of online and social communication vs. wishing it weren't so.
She takes the family business model to a whole new level with her girls.
Hands out kindness cards that aim to inspire others to share their own kindness forward.
She is visible in community involvement via fundraisers, non-profit support, and events of all kinds.
She has welcomed three of my girls - Cait, Karin and Liz into the princess network for this years Popcorn Parade.
Donna is a fairy princess - how often do you get to give an award to a fairy princess?
From the minute we met, Nancy understood how similar the mission is of the Portage YMCA and PortageLife. They are doing so many incredibly good things for so many in the community which is just the kind of stories we want to be shouting about, and she saw the potential for us to help tell those stories and reach not only their current members with great reminders about all their programs but the rest of the community to help everyone understand the impact the YMCA makes on all of Portage.
Every time we have talked to Nancy her first question is, "How can we help you? - can we put up a banner in the lobby telling people about PortageLife, how about we put your ad on our screens in the building, we can include you in the newsletter that goes out, or feature you in the email, maybe you want to come and set up a table at an upcoming event and tell everyone about what you guys do."
She introduced me to Dave Kasarda - and for any of you that know Dave Kasarda, that is an act worthy of an award on its own.
Nancy says thank you - for everything. To me, my staff, the Y partners, the members, and the people at the Portage chamber - she lives and breathes what the Y represents to Portage.
Laura Groth and Karin Woodside invited me into Mary's home at Blackbird Cafe and it became my home. I immediately felt comfortable there beyond where I feel anywhere else other than my own home.
She inspires others to do and think whatever it is they can do and think - businesses, books, projects, and fundraisers have all percolated in that cafe.
Everything about her and that place encourages diversity - in the way people look, think, act, dress, talk, their age, and background - to Mary - they're all Good.
That diversity is a microcosm of the community - if I want to see a business person, artist, professor, student, city, county, musician, or up and coming tech person. I go into Blackbird. If you go back two hours later, the melting pot has been stirred twice and the coffee and conversation are fresh She feeds my soul in addition to my body and she does the same with our staff. Mary is our favorite place, a part of our weekly routine, and everybody there knows our name.
Tom Steindler Jr.
A bit more than 4 years ago, I sent out a note to a handful of local sign companies and told them I was going to launch this cool new site all about good news and it would be awesome and I want you to wrap a truck for me that is crazy visible and we'll get you tons of publicity and show it off everywhere and people will ask who did that truck for us and won't that all be great.
Tom Steindler called me back.
We met and I liked him - he was real, no nonsense, was building a business of his own, and he was a firefighter.
He liked the idea and jumped in with both feet and those of his design, production, and installation team and has never wavered, even when all that awesome took a while to develop.
His people are great and their work speaks for itself - you might have seen one of us on occasion driving a car wrapped by Steindler Signs or a banner he made for us. We try to be subtle but occasionally we are spotted. He earns your respect every day as a Valpo firefighter. He earned my respect when we were just a goofy idea that was not much more than a prayer, and he called me back. Now I have a sign guy for Life.
Dr. Tom Cavanaugh
Tom leads me by example
He worked hard his whole life and built a staple business in the community. Quite a few in the crowd tonight are literally smiling the way that you do because of Doc Cavanaugh.
He married Arlene and they are celebrating 50 years this August.
Tom raised 5 kids and 17 grandkids and built his schedule back then, and now, around whatever they were doing.
He helped his sons build their own businesses with Cavanaugh Orthodontics and Air One Photography here tonight.
He helped make Natalie what she is today, and you don't mind me saying - that is dang good work.
He welcome me into his family 20+ years ago - and has been endlessly supportive as a man could be, literally wearing on his sleeve our brand and our mission - whether it be the golf shirt, the baseball cap, or the jacket, telling everyone he talks to about his son in law that has this website all about good news.
More than anything else, Doc Cavanaugh has been Dad to me for the last 20+ years and his family is my family and I will forever be thankful for that welcome.
These folks got the awards. I've got them in my life as well as their hugs, and I will always be thankful I got the better end of that deal.