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Officials praise efforts of Shepherd’s House

October 3, 2018

Shepherd’s House, a shelter for homeless military veterans, earned praise and encouragement Tuesday from state and local government leaders.

“This is an organization that needs to be here, that fills a gap in our community,” Mayor Tom Henry said at an open house ceremony at the Tennessee Avenue shelter.

“To have an organization like this that can reach out to veterans in our community in need of comfort, that are in need of help, I think speaks volumes” about Shepherd’s House, its staff and its directors, Henry said.

Shepherd’s House provides temporary housing for 40 veterans. Attorney Steve Shine, chairman of the Allen County Republican Party, told the gathering that his son, Evan, had been a shelter resident 10 years ago.

“Were it not for having the love and attention that Barb and Lonnie gave him, he would not be the success he is today,” Shine said about shelter founders Barb and Lonnie Cox. Evan Shine attended Tuesday’s ceremony.

Steve Shine commented later that his son is a freight logistics broker in Indianapolis who had lived at Shepherd’s House when it offered substance abuse rehabilitation services to the public at large.

State Rep. Denny Zent, R-Angola, noted that “the community just stepped up big time” to raise money for the nonprofit Shepherd’s House last year when it appeared the shelter might lose a nearly $500,000 federal grant that later was approved by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Zent, a member of the shelter’s board of directors, said the General Assembly has passed legislation that provides more money for veterans programs such as those that curb homelessness and improve job skills.

Gov. Eric Holcomb singled out the “heroic efforts” over two decades of Jane Surbeck, president of the Shepherd’s House board.

“To have someone like Jane front and center always, that’s what makes this such a special state. It really makes me so proud to be a Hoosier : it’s about neighbors helping neighbors,” Holcomb said.

Holcomb presented Surbeck with the Circle of Corydon, an award given to Hoosiers who have made remarkable contributions to the betterment of Indiana.

The Republican governor also honored Surbeck’s husband, retiring Allen Superior Court Judge John Surbeck. Holcomb presented him with the Sagamore of the Wabash, the state’s highest honor for distinguished service.

Holcomb said Judge Surbeck “defines what a role model should be and is.”

In accepting the award, Surbeck said: “This is not about me; this is about the community. Everyone here has contributed to this award.”

bfrancisco@jg.net

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