Community Services of Starke County Executive Director Joan Haugh is wrapping up her four-decade tenure with the local nonprofit organization. She started working at the then-Starke County Council on Aging 41 years ago and is preparing to retire at the end of the month. Haugh says the agency has evolved to meet needs that have arisen in the community.
They include meals on wheels, a food pantry and transportation services, to name a few. Haugh says dedicated volunteers make those offerings possible. She also credits the board members who have been part of the organization for its success and progress. One significant milestone was the construction of the current Community Services of Starke County building on East Culver Road.
“My dear husband found out about the Indiana Department of Commerce Community Focus Fund grant, and he applied for those dollars so we could build this facility,” Haugh said. “We moved in here in 1993. Ten years later we ended up getting another grant to build 12 foot to the north because our services were expanding, we needed more room. We needed some privacy for our clients.”
Haugh says helping others has been the most rewarding part of her job.
“I really love working one-on-one with some of the clients. I just try to show them the respect and the dignity they deserve. We don’t know what shoes they’ve walked in, and they don’t know what shoes we’ve walked in.”