NE Indiana CASA celebrates volunteers, 30 years of advocating

   Several CASAs were honored for their years of service. Pictured, from left, are Pam Feller (10 years), Sonya Emerick (15 years), Stu Shipman (5 years), Cathy Aldrich (5 years), Bonnie Shipman (5 years), Lisa Laur (10 years) and Margo Phillips (10 years).

Several CASAs were honored for their years of service. Pictured, from left, are Pam Feller (10 years), Sonya Emerick (15 years), Stu Shipman (5 years), Cathy Aldrich (5 years), Bonnie Shipman (5 years), Lisa Laur (10 years) and Margo Phillips (10 years).

KENDALLVILLE – Volunteers were recently celebrated at an annual dinner held by Northeastern Indiana Dekalb, Steuben and Lagrange counties.

“Tonight we want to celebrate our successes, big and small,” said Executive Director Kristi Bachman. “We want to life one another up and help each other realize how important you all are.”

The annual dinner, held at Cobblestone Golf Course, highlighted several volunteers who had given years of service to the nonprofit.  Recognition was paid to Stu and Bonnie Shipman as well as Cathy Aldrich for five years of volunteer service; Pam Feller, Margo Phillips and Lisa Laur for 10 years of service; and Sonya Emerick for 15 years of service.

“All of our volunteers are so special and mean so much,” said Bachman. “We even have some past volunteers here with us tonight that are very cherished and special. Thank you to all of you for the part you’ve played in our 30-year history. I’m so proud of you all. You have made a real difference.”

Whitley County Circuit Court Judge James Heuer was the night’s speaker to which he shared his more than 25 years of experience working with CASA.

“We need you all and trust you,” said Heuer. “We rely on your insight and it is good to have you in the courtroom. Keep up the good work and all you do to help children in our area.”

According to Bachman’s report at the dinner, volunteers have already helped more than 460 children this year.

“I know this job you do is tough, it’s frustrating, it’s emotional and at times it’s heartbreaking. But as I’ve been so blessed to witness, it is also rewarding,” said Bachman. “Thank you to everyone for your part in making Northeast Indiana a better place for our children. I hope you feel a little lifted up, appreciated a lot and proud of what you do. Everyone in this room has had a part in making a better life for kids. You are a light in a world of darkness.”

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