Debbie Bender was named the 2016 Difference Maker of the Year. (GCDW file photo)
Last year, the Greene County Daily World was able to get the community excited about those doing good deeds and we are pleased to announce we are planning for round two.
Last September we hosted the inaugural “Difference Maker” event, in which we had the community help us track down 10 amazing area people who have gone above and beyond to make Greene County a better place. This year, we are asking our readers to once again help us find local residents who continue to make a difference -- whether that difference seems big or small.
The nominees will be narrowed to 10 in August and they will be highlighted in a special section that will be published in early September.
Last year, we were able to recognize 10 individuals from a teacher’s aide, to philanthropists, to volunteers, to local police, and it was definitely a night to remember.
White River Valley Elementary teacher’s aide Debbie Bender was named the 2016 Difference Maker of the Year, and there were few dry eyes in the house as she accepted the award with her family by her side. Even though Bender had been through a lot in recent years, she still stepped up to the plate to help others.
Bender sat by her husband’s side after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor the size of a grapefruit. After a seven-hour surgery, her husband, Gary, was unable to walk or talk. But, the day of the Difference Makers banquet, Gary was able to walk right beside her to the front of the room where she accepted an award for being a blessing to local children.
Among Bender’s greatest accomplishments is her 30-year dedication to White River Valley Schools where she participates in the Angel Tree Project, Healthy Hearts program and so much more.
Bender epitomizes the type of person we would like to see grace the stage with us again this year. Our nominees were people who often stepped back from the limelight while also making a difference in the lives of our Greene County residents. Whether someone is a regular volunteer, the person goes above the call of duty in their line of work or did something to make your life better, we want to hear their story.
If you wish to nominate someone to be considered a Difference Maker, please fill out the form by Aug. 25 at 5 p.m. Please drop it by the office at 79 S. Main, Linton or email it to Christy_lehman@hotmail.com or mail it to P.O. Box 29, Linton, IN 47441. The form can be found in today’s paper or online.
Linton First Christian Church lead minister Archie Ellett will be the guest speaker at the 2017 event. In addition to serving as the local church’s pastor, Ellett can also be seen on the sidelines before and after Linton Miner Football games, leading the team and coaching staff in prayer.
Ellett will be talking about the importance of volunteers and what their work means to the community.
The top 10 nominees and their families will be honored at a banquet Sept. 21st at Goose Pond Lodge & Retreat, and a Difference Maker of the Year will be announced. The winner will receive a prize package.
The Difference Makers program is sponsored by the Greene County Daily World, McDonald’s of Linton and Tracy Keen - State Farm Insurance Agent.
Sabrina is the editor of the Greene County Daily World. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.