As Commissioner Laura Blaney, D-South said at the Porter County Commissioners Council meeting on November 2, âIt’s good to start the meeting this way. “
“This way” was the public recognition of three county employees for their service to the county. Those at the meeting responded with applause and there were photos with the winners smiling broadly, surrounded by county officials and holding plaques or a golden shovel.
The first was Jeff Grogan, who appeared before the Commissioners with his wife, Lisa. Grogan is retiring on December 1 after 42 years in the Porter County highway service.
âIt’s a big day for me,â he said, warmly thanking the county government and the highways department for his long tenure.
He thanked the previous and current members of the Council of Commissioners and County Council, as well as the highway superintendents past and present, âwho provided a good way of lifeâ, and his colleagues past and present.
His first day on the job was August 19, 1979. Grogan also thanked the commissioners “for putting employees first” and for thinking about their safety, including during the COVID-19 pandemic.
And then it was time to thank Lisa.
âShe’s been my rock and my biggest supporter when it comes to my job,â said Grogan, noting the thousands of lunches she’s made, which made the crowd laugh, and the late-night dinners that l ‘were waiting.
Grogan, a man of faith, also thanked Jesus Christ, especially for the times he was called in bad weather.
He received a standing ovation and a golden shovel signed by his colleagues, which, jokingly, was “like an Oscar”.
âYou’ve been a blessing to us for sure,â said Blaney.
Next, Tony Stua, director of E-911 Central Communications, presented the âStork Awardâ to dispatcher Mikayla Pritchett. Due to COVID-19, he said, he was unable to bring dispatchers to the board of directors for the awards.
On September 24, a Porter County resident called 911 because his wife was about to give birth. The man, Stua said, “was very distraught and erratic” and Pritchett calmed him down.
The man’s wife was on the floor and Pritchett told her about the birth of her child, Stua said, doing “an amazing job” and was “very diligent and dedicated” on the phone.
âAll I know is it was a girl and the (woman’s) water broke and the baby was coming,â Pritchett said.
Blaney also had kind words for Pritchett.
âWe are very confident in the work that you are doing,â said Blaney.
âTalk about rewarding,â added Pritchett.
Mike Novotney, a county engineer in the Department of Stormwater Development and Management, followed up and said he attended the Indiana MS4 annual partnership meeting on October 26, at which Porter County received the “Indiana County MS4 Outstanding Program”.
MS4 stands for Municipal
Separate storm sewer systems and the federally mandated program focus on reducing pollutants in runoff to protect waterways.
âI am humiliated. This reflects five years of hard work by our department, âsaid Novotney.
Amanda Vandenoever, MS4 Program Coordinator, was also recognized as âOutstanding MS4 Coordinator and Educatorâ. Her work, she said, focuses on education and public awareness; illegal discharges; and construction inspection and post-inspection, among other tasks.
âManaging all of this is a lot of work, but it’s rewarding,â she said.
Under the federal Clean Water Act, all MS4 communities must develop programs that meet the same goals, Novotney said, adding that the law required “water that is fishable, potable and suitable for swimming. for all residents of the United States “.