Chesterton Tribune



Library Director Phil Baugher honored

Back To Front Page


He looks great in an Hawaiian shirt, sails Lake Michigan whenever he gets the chance, and very quietly--because he’s a soft-spoken man--has gone about making the Westchester Public Library (WPL) one of the true and enduring jewels of Duneland.

WPL Director Phil Baugher is this year’s recipient of the Duneland Chamber of Commerce’s Community Achievement Award.

Baugher was presented with the award on Wednesday at the annual State of the Chamber luncheon at Sand Creek County Club.

Baugher, as presented Jim Anton put it, “has been the visionary and driving force behind our marvelous community library system. He is an innovator who truly loves libraries and has spent his years in Duneland upgrading the programs, facilities, and outreach of library services for all ages and interests.”

“Under his direction,” Anton added, “the library has become a center for adult literacy and English as a second language, special programming for all ages, and our fabulous children’s libraries at both the Thomas and Hageman branches. He has upgraded technology services at the libraries and taught many of us to become literate in these new tools.”

“Our entire community is richer because Phil has lived and works among us,” Anton concluded. “He is a joy and inspiration and infuses every project he touches with energy and innovation.”

Baugher, in accepting the award, noted that his 35 years as director have “been a wonderful experience.” But, he remarked, “the library is an achievement of the whole community. It belongs to all of you.”

Humanitarians of the Year

Choosing one Humanitarian of the Year for 2013 proved an impossible task, so instead the Chamber chose three.

The first: Amber Hensell-Hicks, executive director of Frontline Foundations Inc., which provides substance abuse treatment to young adults 18 to 28. Since 2007, Anton said, Frontline has graduated some 500 clients and in 2012 alone it made $52,000 available to young adults who could not afford services.

Hensell-Hicks “has worked on substance abuse prevention programs with local churches and has taught students peer-resistance techniques to avoid peer pressure to use drugs, alcohol, and tobacco,” Anton said. “She has created a caring, healing environment for many young adults whom society had written off and has gifted them with a place to interact and express themselves. . . . She does all of this without drawing a salary from the organization for which she works countless hours.”

“It’s a blessing that God has blessed my life so much and that I can help young adults,” Hensell-Hicks said.

The second Humanitarian of the Year: Bud Flick, a Chesterton resident who since 2005 has been working with the Porter County Chapter of the American Red Cross and serving on its Disaster Response Team. Although Flick has “answered many calls for aid right here in our own community,” Anton noted, he has also responded to 10 national disasters and logged 236 days away from home.

Anton then read a selection of comments from Red Cross supervisors across the country:

* “He arrived a stranger and left a brother” (Kentucky, 2009).

* “He will excel in any task you put in front of him’ (Baton Rouge, La., 2008).

* “His attention to detail makes this team exceptional” (New Jersey, 2012).

“I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve done with the Red Cross,” Flick said. “It’s a wonderful organization.”

The third and final Humanitarian of the Year: Tim Rice, who worked with Housing Opportunities when it split from Opportunity Enterprises in 2008 and oversaw a seamless transition thanks to his comprehensive marketing, communications and fundraising plan. The need for planning was “amplified,” Anton said, when Housing Opportunities purchased Spring Valley Shelter in 2011.

Rice’s “efforts have produced incredibly positive results and his passion and skill for fundraising have helped not only Housing Opportunities but many other organizations with which he has been affiliated,” Anton said.

Rice was also named the 2012 Porter County Community Foundation’s Advisor of the Year and is currently chair of the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Porter County.


Posted 7/19/2013