By Tim Ashley
SYRACUSE — The late Judge David Cates “obviously had a passion for children and their best interests,” said Renea Salyer, executive director of the Syracuse-Wawasee Chamber of Commerce, during a dedication ceremony for Red Canoe No. 8 Saturday morning, Aug. 28. The ceremony was held at a trailhead of the Syracuse-Wawasee Trail by the intersection of Pickwick and Cornelius roads in Syracuse.
Sponsored by the Syracuse-Wawasee Rotary Club, the canoe was dedicated in honor of Cates. Salyer talked about some of his many accomplishments including creating the concept and bringing the first latchkey program in the state to Syracuse between the day care and school system. He also instigated the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative offering alternative punishments so young offenders were given options instead of being sent directly to state facilities.
And more recently Cates helped create the idea of a family court where parents are held accountable when a child commits a crime but doesn’t follow through with their sentence. He also worked with the Court Appointed Special Advocates program and was appointed by the Indiana Supreme Court to serve on a committee of 12 who reviewed, improved and suggested laws to better protect children.
Cates also served for 25 years as the attorney for the Wawasee Community School Corporation and often provided input to help school board members make informed decisions about children.
Salyer noted, too, the location of the canoe is near bodies of water Cates spent a lot of time at.