WINONA LAKE — Joy Lohse was honored with the 2016 Bill Reneker Community Service Award at the annual Winona Lake Community Appreciation Banquet Thursday, Nov. 16, at Westminster Hall in Winona Lake.
Lohse is Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Kosciusko Community Hospital. She has been a member of the Winona Lake Town Council and is currently a member of the Winona Lake Preservation Association and the Lakeland Art Association. Lohse was on the planning committee for the original KringleFest. She also introduced a tree ordinance for the Winona Lake community – a fund has been set up for tree replacements, which has been an asset in helping to make Winona Lake a green community.
“It’s an honor to live here in this community. I feel very blessed,” said Lohse, as she accepted the award.
The featured program, “Thanks for the Memories — Parade of Champions,” honored the winners of the Bill Reneker Community Appreciation Award for the past 24 years.
The banquet has been held annually since 1994. The Reneker award, sponsored and provided by Judy Reneker Burd, is in honor of her late husband, who was president of the town council at the time of his death in 1993. The award is given each year to recognize citizens who have improved the Winona Lake area.
Grace College’s Dr. Terry White, who shared emcee duties at the event with Winona Lake Town Coordinator Craig Allebach, said, “As many of you know, this is kind of historic because Judy Burd has been organizing, implementing and inspiring these events for 24 years now and she’s decided that this may be the last one we’re going to do quite this way, so this is the last one we’ll do in this format.”
White continued by saying, “We hope there will continue to be ways to appreciate the people who do good things in our community.”
Winona Lake Parks and Recreation Department Director Holly Hummitch announced the implementation of a new award.
“This award will be given to a community member who has gone above and beyond in the service of the community as a whole,” said Hummitch.
Lorraine Deffenbaugh was honored as the recipient of the Limitless Award. Hummitch praised Deffenbaugh for her efforts in establishing the Winona Lake Little Free Library.
“She has established a partnership with Warsaw Community Library. She has solicited donations and collected books. She maintains the Winona Lake LFL, often daily,” said Hummitch.
Each year, Winona Lake residents who have made improvements in the community are recognized with a Home Improvement Award. Deb Egelske, James and Stephanie Folsom and Cameron and Kayla Summers were this year’s winners.
The evening ended with drawings for door prizes.