Text and Photos
By Deb Patterson
SYRACUSE — Pam Schumm was greeting and checking in guests for the annual Wawasee Property Owners Association meeting aboard the SS Lillypad Saturday night, Aug. 19. Nearing boarding time, her daughters, Katrina Berg and Kristin Stetz and sons-in-law, Chris Berg and Matt Stetz showed up.
“What are you doing here?” Schumm asked, to which she was told they found baby sitters and had been invited by their dad, Kip. You could tell by the look on Pam Schumm’s face, she was suspecting something as she glanced over to her husband.
Schumm, who had stepped down assisting with office duties for the WPOA, was asked to check-in guests due to the absence of Katie Wingard, administrative officer.
Something was up. Schumm was later presented the 2023 WPOA Chief Award.
“Katie really is in Denver? This wasn’t just a ploy to get me here on the boat?” asked Shumm after accepting the award. She was assured Wingard was at her sister’s wedding in Colorado, but it was a trick to get her there with the check-in duty.
“Thank you very much,” said Schumm adding it has been an honor and a privilege to “work in this community and I just hope I can give back to the community as much as I’ve gained.”
Putting on her hat as education chair for Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation, she added “I hope we can keep the lakes clean for the next generation because I have a lot of grandkids (five) coming up that I want to enjoy this lake. I want them to be able to enjoy the lake and have a really good time and the future generations as well.”
Kay Young, WPOA board president, presented the award by giving some history of Schumm. She noted Shumm was not born and raised here, but has “spent most of the last half-century here in Syracuse contributing to the community and the organizations here.”
Schumm graduated from Michigan State University and spent her education career at Wawasee High School, teaching biology, genetics and forensics for 41 years. She also served as boys swim coach, girls volleyball coach, cheerleading coach and announced track and swimming meets during her tenure.
“Once retired they did not slow down but continued to be involved with the community,” said Young. “Schumm volunteered at the WACF helping with education programs (recruiting all her past teaching friends too) and serving as the education chair.”
Schumm and her husband has been married for 44 years, raising two daughters and now a grandparent to five grandchildren who love to come to WACF programs. She also stepped in to help with office duties for the WPOA for the last number of years.
Young stated the Chief Award has been given out since 2006 to honor someone in the community who has given of their time and talents not only to the community but to help preserve Wawasee, who over the years has shown how much they love and support the lake.
Past chiefs were noted and include Doug and Carolyn Anderson of Wawasee Boat, the Sudlows, the Rookstools, Dave Lichtenauer, Sen. Bob Meeks, Al Campbell, Dan Berkey, Dave Grandstaff, Spike Ford, Mike Kiley, Bob Dickinson, Dick Ruddell, Dick Green, Jim Tranter, Tom and Holly Tuttle, Bill Pipp, Kip Schumm and Janet Hartley-Colglazer. Organizations have also been named Chiefs such as essential workers including lake patrol, local police and fire departments and WACF.
Young also shared with guests, many of whom were on the Lilly Pad or at a WPOA meeting for the first time, information about the association. She noted work is underway to rebuild the “pump and dump” station at the fish hatchery boat launch, with hope to have it up and running in the near future. She also noted some of the projects which include fireworks, lake patrol, dry hydrants and severe weather warning system, along with helping with some programs through WACF.
While the evening normally includes some business matters, no business was conducted this year.