Community service leaders honored with Impact Award

Jerry Vandeveer presents the Impact Award to Dan and Judi Wire on the anniversary of Linda Vandeveer's death.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) A year after community service leader Linda Vandeveer died from colon cancer, the Allen County Commissioners, along with Linda’s husband Jerry, recognized several people who care greatly about the community.

“Very humbled,” Judi Wire said at the ceremony. “Very respectful. We do a lot in the community, but, to walk in Linda and Jerry’s shoes, is just… big shoes to fill.”

The commissioners looked over six nominations of people to receive the first Vandeveer Impact Award. The award was established by the commissioners to thank the Vandeveers for their work.

“What’s truly humbling is creating an award to honor citizens who love and make their community better and want to make their community better and having it named after you,” Jerry Vandeveer said.

Dan and Judi Wire were ultimately the first to be presented with the award which will be presented each year. Among the reasons for the honor: Dan’s dedication to the rivers and Judi’s hard work improving the Wells Street Corridor.

“We were born and raised here,” Dan said. “We raised our family here and that’s something we’d like to continue to help others do.”

“I believe the Wires epitomize what this award was intended to do… to honor those who never ask for thanks for their service, yet never turn away when there is a need,” Jerry explained. “I believe my Linda is smiling and cheering at this day.”

The five other nominees recognized today include: Vandeveer family friend Sgt. Mitch McKinney with the Fort Wayne Police Department, local nurse practitioner Aimee Bell, Cheryl Mowan – a volunteer with Saint Vincent DePaul, IPFW associate professor Doctor Rachel Rayburn and Debby Stellwagen with the Boys and Girls Club.

The Wire’s names are now on a plaque in the commissioner’s office at Citizens Square. It will be updated each year.