NAPPANEE -- Linda Yoder, former Nappanee Public Library director, was honored Saturday with one of the state's highest honors -- a Distinguished Hoosier Award.
The award came from Gov. Mitch Daniels, and was presented by State Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Elkhart. Walorski described Yoder as a driving force and the person to call when you needed a "go-to" person to "get the job done."
The honor came in recognition of Yoder's 28 years of service to the library and community. At the local level, the former director saw the Nappanee Public Library through two major expansion projects.
Guests honoring Yoder Saturday night recalled various images of her interacting among her neighbors citywide. People shared images of Yoder on the softball fields playing her hardest as well as pictures of her working side-by-side with area residents to cleanup following the October 2008 tornado that tore through the city.
In the wake of that storm, Yoder jumped in immediately to begin organizing and managing the Northern Indiana Tornado Recovery Operations.
She was also a driving force behind developing the Nappanee Leadership Academy to promote better understanding of the local community and serve as a networking base for participants. The program benefits the community as participants plan and carry out community service projects.
"She is a lady that has shown this community an energy that is unsurpassed," said Steve Walters, past library board member and local resident.
WORKING TOWARD GREENER COMMUNITY
Yoder is working with the Electric Motors Company to bring electric cars to the area. The goal of the company is to establish new jobs to support the local economy, while creating more energy-efficient vehicles.
"The Ford F-150 (pickup truck) they've been working on will be featured front and center at the Chicago Auto Show after the first of the year," Yoder said.
She promised more details would be released as more progress is made in the many projects for creating greener vehicles.
WHAT SHE MISSES MOST
During her 28 years working at the Nappanee Public Library, Yoder witnessed many changes in the way the library operated and served the community. Yet one thing remained the same in her mind.
"I miss the people -- our visitors, the staff, all the boards and commissions the library worked with ... I miss them all," she said. "I was always supported by everyone everywhere in the community. That never changed. And I really miss seeing them all every day. Nappanee is always special in my heart, no matter where I'm at."
Yoder also received a Nappanee Public Library Gold Card. The card comes with no expiration date, and results in no fines ever being charged. Library members also presented her with a scrapbook and DVD recording images of her time with the library.
Nappanee Mayor Larry Thompson issued a proclamation honoring Yoder's devotion to the city, and thanking her for her service to the library and the community. Thompson also gave Yoder a key to the city.
"She is still working for the betterment of this community," said Brad Newcomer, the current Nappanee Public Library board president.