The Starke County Chamber of Commerce recently recognized community contributors with their inaugural “Above and Beyond Business Awards.” They will be given annually to businesses or organizations that do something special, like add a new program or go out of their way to support Starke County.
The SCILL Center was recognized for their high school auto tech and welding programs and adult welding program, all of which give Starke County residents training for lifelong employment opportunities.
The Starke County Youth Club was also honored with a plaque. Their after school, summer and basketball programs serve more than 600 Starke County youngsters annually and provide social and leadership skills as well as help with academics and test scores. Recently the SCYC added middle school programs at Knox and North Judson-San Pierre.
The Starke County Chamber of Commerce also recognized four honorable mentions in the “Above and Beyond” division. The County Pride Task Force Group was honored for creating a county-wide musical program for students at all three high schools. It was designed to combat the natural competitiveness of sports between the districts by giving students a chance to perform as one.
The Crossing was also recognized for providing an innovative, alternative program for at-risk students to finish their high school degrees and increasing their chance of lifelong success. First Farmers Bank and Trust in North Judson received kudos for the generous donation of their bank building to the Town of North Judson. The Lane Street structure is being converted into community meeting space and will house the clerk-treasurer and utility offices.
Mexico Lindo Restaurant in Knox was honored for their quiet participation in numerous community events, including fundraisers for individuals who need help and their Cinco de Mayo street party. The Starke County Community Foundation was recognized for the establishment of a preschool scholarship program to help local four-year-olds have access to an early childhood education. The Yellowstone Trail Festival also received an honorable mention for their hard work in developing a festival that promotes the Yellowstone Trail and Hamlet’s rich history.