Haugh named 2013 Schricker winner

KNOX — When notified that she was selected to be the 2013 Schricker award winner, Joan Haugh said, “why didn’t the person I nominate win, they’re more deserving.” And that’s reflective of the attitude exhibited by Haugh throughout her lifetime.
For 33 years, Haugh has been director of Community Services of Starke County (known before that as the Starke County Council on Aging). She said her duties as director opened her eyes to other needs in the community.
During her 43 years in the county, Haugh has been involved with many organizations: Including St. Vincent-De Paul, Habitat for Humanity, Starke United, The Salvation Army — the list could go on and on.
Growing up in a large Catholic family, Haugh first thought of becoming a nun. While she abandoned that dream at the age of 16, she said she still served her Lord above all others through a lifetime of giving.
“I never wanted the material things in life,” Haugh said. “I was blessed with having a wonderful husband and family, good health, and a comfortable home. What more can a person wish for?”
Haugh credits her four children and staff for making her life so rewarding. She said she's especially appreciative of the many volunteers who have made fulfilling the needs of the agency possible.
“They deserve the award, not me,” Haugh said.
The staff and volunteers at Community Services are held in high regard by Haugh.
“When my late husband Mike suffered failing health and needed my attention, they allowed me time to be with him. Now when my daughter Michelle is battling breast cancer, they make it possible for me to pick up the slack in her life. I can’t say enough about my staff and our volunteers.”
In addition to her four children, Haugh has nine grandchildren also blessing her life.
“When I’m around them (children/grandchildren), I know that life is good,” Haugh said.
Haugh follows her husband Mike who was a Schricker Award winner in 2005.
“Mike would be so proud of me,” she said.
“He was my inspiration for many of the things I have been able to accomplish in life. My golly, I was a very shy young lady from Lake County when we met. Through his urgings, I was able to overcome my shyness to do the things in life I think are important,” Haugh said.
Haugh went on to discuss the numerous needs that are still unfulfilled in the county, successfully steering away from her own accomplishments.
Haugh mentioned that so many grandparents are providing shelter for their children, and helping raise their grandchildren.
“These people truly fulfill Henry Schricker’s motto of service before self,” said Haugh, a person who embodies the same philosophy of Schricker. “In their golden age, they are forsaking peace and tranquility for their loved ones. They are my heroes. Oh my, their needs are great,” she said.
When asked what her motto would be, Haugh said “don’t be a human being, be a human doing.” She then quickly changed the subject.
“Do you realize there are at least 81 homeless people in our county? We need a homeless shelter. I can’t leave my job until we get one up and running,” Haugh said.
Haugh will be honored for her lifetime of giving at the Starke County Chamber of Commerce annual dinner Jan. 16 at the Bass Lake Community Center.
Haugh again mentioned others she felt more deserving of the honor than herself. A statement that truly resonates the meaning behind the Henry F. Schricker award.
“I can name at least 12 other people, off the top of my head, who deserve this award more than I do.”