SOUTH BEND, IN, May 5, 2021 – The 25th Annual Age of Excellence Awards Event was held today at The Century Center, South Bend, Indiana, where more than 200 nominees of individuals and organizations were celebrated for their commitment, dedication, and help to those in our community who need it the most – the elderly and low-income individuals. REAL Services also celebrated its 55th anniversary of giving back to the community and commitment to fighting for the independence, strength, and dignity of the 45,000 community members they serve.
This year’s keynote speaker was Rocky Bleier, who shared his experience of being a U.S. Army Veteran, a University of Notre Dame Football national champion, and a 1978 Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl XIII Champion. He inspired all with his story of overcoming many obstacles through his life that led him to his success. Rocky also shared the importance of giving back to the community and how it can make a real difference in the lives of so many.
The following awards were given by Bleier and REAL Services’ President and CEO, Becky Zaseck, and board chair Ryan Brennan:
Business of the Year: Heart at Home, LLC. is a home health agency strives to provide compassionate and consistent caregivers in the homes of our elderly neighbors. Heart at Home, LLC. Displays its excellence by the employees it hires and maintains.
Professional of the Year: Daniel Anton works for an affordable apartment community for low-income persons 62 years and persons 18 and over with mobility impairments. Daniel focuses on all aspects of each resident’s wellbeing and creates a sense of community and belonging to all residents.
Wyatt Mick Volunteer of the Year: Connie Wendt brings joy to others through music and her willingness to share her time with many important causes all without seeking recognition. She understands music brings people together and helps people grow and heal. She accentuates the good in people, programs, and the community as a whole.
Agency/Program Serving-Low Income: Compassionate Health Center of Fulton County offers free, high-quality care to those who are underserved and uninsured with chronic conditions throughout the community. They provide accessible, competent and compassionate healthcare to all those who need it the most.
Change Agent of the Year: Jim Baxter leads a network of more than 125 partner organizations and 340 individual members to address key issues and improve overall community health and well-being. He was quick to jump in to keep the community health at the forefront of his efforts throughout the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.
Caregiver of the Year: Frank Thomas has been a caregiver to his mother-in-law for the past five years and supports her 24 hours, 7 days a week. He provides this care with love and understanding every day. He uses creative outlets such as music to keep her engaged and keeps her quality of life at the center of his mind.
Sargent Shriver Lifetime Achievement: Kathy Schneider has dedicated her entire life to service. She started an agency that serves marginalized women and children and meets the needs of thousands of people who come through the doors of St. Margaret’s House daily. She is a community leader and advocate for all she serves.
Les Fox Hoosier Lifetime Award: Sharon Carnes provides many hours of her time to the Marshall County Neighborhood Center food pantry. She ensures everyone has their nutritional needs met and has built strong relationships with all who visit the pantry. She always chooses to encourage others and lift them up.
Community Leader of the Year: Dr. Mark Fox is a tireless community leader who led the charge to keep St. Joseph County healthy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of his leadership, St. Joseph County residents were able to stay healthy and safe during unprecedented times.
President and CEO, Becky Zaseck said, “It is such an honor to celebrate the exemplary and inspiring work of the nominees. We are grateful and humbled by their dedication to creating strong communities.”
REAL Services is grateful for all attendees, sponsors, and Terry McFadden from WNDU for their support of Age of Excellence.