Our regular Tuesday expression of gratitude for those working to make this a stronger community:
Thanks to the 50 Marine Reserves who returned Friday after a seven-month tour in Afghanistan. About 150 people greeted the Marines at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in South Bend.
The welcoming committee included Oscar and Margarita Chavarria, the father and 19-year-old sister of Lance Cpl. Humberto Chavarria, of Goshen.
“It means everything,” Chavarria told an Elkhart Truth reporter, looking at the size of the crowd. “It means everything we did over there was worth it.”
Buses carried the Marines from Camp LeJeune, N.C., to Goshen, where they were joined by an escort that included about a dozen Elkhart Police officers. The EPD wanted to welcome back one of its own, Marine Sgt. Ben Martin.
“It was a very good turnout,” Elkhart Police Sgt. Steve Williams said. “This is definitely the warm welcome they deserve for coming home from overseas.”
The Marines of Engineer Company B, 6th Support Battalion, spent most of 2012 in Afghanistan on our behalf. We thank them for their service.
Thanks to the students and coaches who took part Saturday in Five Star Life’s Amazing Race to the Top.
Five Star is built on five core values: Respect, responsibility, integrity, sacrifice and courage. Saturday, more than 500 students from 14 area schools learned those values through a series of challenges. Assisted by 100 coaches, they also learned another valuable skill: Teamwork.
As those students continue to grow and begin to engage their community as young adults, they will bring their values and team-building skills with them. They will make this a better place to live.
And finally, thanks to members of the public who take time out of their Saturday mornings to attend Third House meetings with their state lawmakers.
Saturday in Goshen, people with differing views asked Sen. Carlin Yoder, R-Middlebury, about his proposal to rescind a law forcing undocumented immigrants to pay out-of-state tuition at Indiana’s public colleges and universities.
Yoder defended the bill strongly. Asked by an audience member where undocumented students would work after college, Yoder replied, “Maybe we should look into that one, too.”
Third House is your opportunity to question state lawmakers, to learn more about their views, to counterbalance the paid lobbyists who flood the Statehouse halls in Indianapolis. By the same token, Third House gives lawmakers a chance to connect with the public.
The Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce plans Third House meetings at 10 a.m. Feb. 23, March 23 and April 20. The Goshen Chamber scheduled its Third House sessions at 8 a.m. Feb. 23, March 9, March 23, April 6, April 20, May 4 and May 18.
Pick a date and attend one.