A local man who was awarded with one of the highest volunteer honors in the state on Thursday had one thing to say about the experience.
Duane Hoak of Anderson received the Governor's Service Awards Lifetime Achievement Award at the ceremony at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, which also honored seven other recipients in other categories from around the state.
Hoak, a longtime resident of Anderson, has spent more than 40 years volunteering throughout Madison County in numerous capacities, including 26 years at Aspire Indiana, a mental health clinic, where he spent time as chairman of the board of directors. He also spent 37 years as a member of the United Way of Madison County, 30 years at Anderson Kiwanis Club, and 17 years at the Madison County Youth Center.
A release from the Governor's Service Awards called Hoak "Mr. Kiwanian" because he held nearly every post at the club during his time there.
"The last three weeks have been very exciting, from the time I learned of the award to when I received it downtown," Hoak said. "Wow. It was just an amazing honor."
Hoak, who grew up in Toledo and moved to Anderson in 1969, spent time as vice president of Anderson University and has participated in 16 different organizations as a volunteer since moving to Madison County. Hoak said the experience of being rewarded has been as humbling as it is exciting.
"When I take the time to look back over 40 years and look at where my hand print has been, it feels good," Hoak said. "Because of the nature of volunteerism, volunteers seldom if ever do work for recognition. That's not why we do it. But we also know that it is very important for volunteers to be thanked, and we enjoy recognition. It's a motivation, when we realize we're making a difference. I don't go after it, but it's a good feeling."
Hoak said one of the accomplishments he's most proud of was helping with the reorganization of the Madison County United Way, where he started volunteering in the 1970s and served on the board of directors from 1998 to 2010. During his time, Madison County, and Anderson in particular, suffered a significant loss in automotive jobs and has since continued to struggle to find an identity economically.
In the 1980s, the United Way of Madison County changed from an allocation model to a community impact model, which employed surveys and other methods to refocus resources toward targeted community needs. The organization still uses this model.
"The community bank was gone, and quite frankly, we were worried the money we were distributing wasn't having the effect it should," Hoak said. "We had to change."
— Jack Molitor is a reporter for The Herald Bulletin. Reposted with permission. Photo credit: Don Knight/The Herald Bulletin.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of about 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.