Three Shelby companies nominated for We Care Award

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Sheriff’s Office expresses special pride in honor

By Lisa King

Three Shelby County businesses were nominated for Republic Bank’s 2013 We Care Award, and one of them – the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office – expressed considerable pride in the honor.

Thirty-nine companies were nominated with three, the sheriff’s office, Martinrea Heavy Stamping and Process Machinery, coming from Shelby County.

Seven winners, all from Jefferson County and surrounding areas, were chosen: Amazon Fulfillment, ARGI Financial Group, Corrigan Electric & Home Systems, Horseshoe Southern Indiana, PMR Companies, Strothman & Company PSC and Toshiba Business Solutions. There were no second or third place winners.

Michael Sadofsky, chief marketing officer for Republic Bank, cited community involvement as the key to the award.

“Companies were judged on how they encourage employees to become involved in volunteer activities, either during or after work hours,” he said. “They were also evaluated on how they support community-based initiatives through philanthropic efforts and neighborhood assistance.”

Gene Witt, chief deputy for the sheriff’s office, said everyone at the office was gratified to be considered for the award, even though they didn’t win.

“It is a great honor to be nominated,” he said. “It’s an acknowledgement of what our deputies do out in the community, as well as on their own time. We have deputies who are coaches, Sunday school teachers – they just do so much, it’s incredible.”

Witt, himself, is also a good example of someone who active in the community. He was building chair for a new multi-purpose building at Highland Baptist Church, is a past president of Shelby County Farm Bureau and is a member of the Leadership Shelby board.

Both sheriff’s detectives are also active in the community. Jason Rice is on the boards of 911 and Leadership Shelby and also helps out with collecting gifts and clothes for children at Christmas, as well as being active with youth sports and park events, coaching basketball, tee-ball and baseball.

“This experience [coaching] was very rewarding because of the ability to connect with the youth of Shelby County,” Rice said.

Eric Hettinger is vice president of the Shelby County Metro Fraternal Order of Police, an organization whose members do so much more than people realize, he said, from helping with the Shop with a Cop program, to child I.D., neighborhood watches, Project Graduation, health fairs, and many other things.

“I have seen many take their personal time to help with everything from coaching little league teams to volunteering for Centro Latino,” he said.

Deputy Audrey Armstrong said being a DARE (Drug Enforcement Abuse Resistance Education) instructor for the past 20 years has meant so much to her – she teaches in all the elementary schools in the city and county.

“One lesson is on peer pressure to help the students understand the pressure they will be faced with and ways to deal with all the pressures of life,” she said, adding that she stresses to them that it’s “cool” to say no sometimes.

Other deputies involved in community service include:

  • Rick Meadows: volunteer firefighter
  • Gena Johnson: Shelby County High School resource officer
  • Mike Beckley: Sunday school teacher at Shelby Christian, and youth sports coach
  • Robin Belwood: Cropper Ruritan Club, Back Pack Project Committee
  • Stephen Brown: Bagdad Ruritan Club. Bagdad Baptist Church, GS leader

Ted Sils, manager of product services at Process Machinery, said, “We’re very pleased to be nominated. We try very hard to be an important part of the community.”