ELKHART — Not all community leaders arrive or succeed through elections.
Some establish that lofty status through hard work, vision and financial support.
On Wednesday, Aug. 20, the spotlight was placed on four couples with the help of Jim Loshbough, Carol McDowell Loshbough and an artist who crafted a heart sculpture.
The shiny green statue includes a hand-drawn map of the downtown and now is permanently located along the northern corner of the Civic Plaza in downtown Elkhart.
Several dozen people gathered at the corner Wednesday afternoon for a ceremony honoring the four couples.
A plaque at the base of the statue reads, “The Heart of a City is its leaders,” and lists Arthur and Patricia Decio; Craig and Connie Fulmer; Bruce Newswanger and Tim Portolese as well as Debra and Satish Shah.
McDowell Loshbough, a former city council member, had the artwork commissioned with plans to dedicate it in honor of what she calls “my four sets of heroes.”
“Elkhart is really blessed with leaders who are willing to give their time, their money and their efforts to do things for our city and I had not really seen anyone acknowledging the people I chose in the way that I would hope they would be acknowledged,” McDowell Loshbough said.
The Fulmers championed numerous causes for the downtown and helped lead the efforts to make the downtown more residential in nature, McDowell Loshbough said.
The Shahs were heavily involved in establishment of the downtown RiverWalk.
Newswanger and Portolese are known for working behind the scenes to raise money for numerous projects such as CAPS and the Humane Society of Elkhart County.
The Decios have been major philanthropists for numerous Elkhart projects.
“I don’t know where Elkhart would be without Mr. and Mrs. D., so I wanted to make sure they were acknowledged as well,” McDowell Loshbough said.
“It’s a thank you and something for the citizens of Elkhart,” she said.
Craig Fulmer died in May, but McDowell Loshbough said she had talked with him about her plans.
Among those attending the ceremony, along with numerous city officials, was U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski.
In addition to McDowell Loshbough, Mayor Dick Moore also spoke at the ceremony and thanked the Loshboughs for their contribution and the recipients for their roles in the community.
“Take a drive through Elkhart and their contributions are everywhere,” Moore said.