here - Porter County Aging and Community Services

Non-profit Org
U.S. Postage
Valparaiso IN
Permit NO 134
Porter County Aging &
Community Services Inc.
1005 Campbell Street
Valparaiso, IN 46385
Winter 2015 issue
Valparaiso man honors late wife
with donations to PCACS clients
We are very fortunate to have caring Energy Assistance
Program staff. Carol, Tracy and Marilyn and our
dedicated volunteers Inge, Pat and Mary keep the
program running efficiently and effectively as possible!
We recently received thank-you cards from clients who
expressed gratitude for our assistance. We are very
appreciative of their thoughtfulness and pleased that
they took the time to send along hand-written notes.
From Christina:
“I have come here for 4 years now for energy assistance
and I have not experienced anything less than exceptional
service. The staff has proven to be professional, knowledgeable, courteous, and caring."
“After years of working in social services myself and doing
my best to be the same, it’s nice to receive the same courtesy, now that I have become disabled and need social
services myself.”
For more information on the services
provided by PCACS, contact:
Bruce Lindner, executive director,
via phone at 464-9736 or
via e-mail at [email protected]
PCACS is proud to be a member agency of the United Way of Porter County.
Gary James, of Valparaiso, felt propelled to honor his
late wife, Michele, during the holiday season.
It was while helping his parents fill out paperwork at
Porter County Aging and Community Services that he
saw an opportunity to fulfill both his wish and hers.
“She always liked helping others and it is something
she always wanted to do: to find a family to help or pull
kids’ names off a (giving) tree to be able to do
something for the kids,” he said of his wife who died on
June 26, 2014.
While at PCACS’ offices, he asked PCACS Section 8
Housing Director Valerie Martinez if she could help
connect him with a family in need.
“I helped identify families who would need assistance
during the holidays,” Martinez said. “One family had
lost its only vehicle and the other woman had surgery
and was out of work for some time.”
“Valerie gave me the names and ages of the kids and
told me I could pick a family,” James said. “I told her, ‘I
will take them both.’”
The two women had a total of seven children
between them. James started shopping right away
using their wish list, picking out toys for the
youngest kids, gifts cards and presents for the older
children, and gift cards for the women.
James spent a total of $1,000 on the holiday gifts.
“It’s money I would have spent on my kids, nieces and
nephews that I used for those who need it. My kids
totally thought it was great. They get everything they
need,” he said. “I wanted to give somebody a decent
Christmas since I knew I wasn’t going to have a great
Christmas since my wife wasn’t there.”
“It did help me some, too. It was something she would
have wanted me to do. We had talked about doing it
(last) year … it didn’t work out, so I wanted to make
sure to do it.”
Family photo
Gary James with his late wife, Michele.
James had the opportunity to meet one woman when
he dropped off the gifts at her apartment.
“After a car accident, she didn’t have transportation so
I drove the gifts to her house,” he said. “From the other
family, one of the kids wrote a card to thank me.”
He is also helping both families through his employer,
BP, where he works in operations. Through BP’s Easy
Match Program, he will have the opportunity to extend
his generosity.
“The program will match what employees are
doing out in the community,” he said.
James hopes to make assisting families in need a
tradition during future holiday seasons.
“I want PCACS staff to give me a call every year,” he
said. “If anyone needs anything, I don’t mind helping.”
Board Member Profile
Portage Library leader brings passion
for senior community to PCACS role
Kimberly Wiseman seeks to impact the region’s
senior community through her roles as a Porter
County Aging and Community Services board
member as well as branch manager of the Portage
Public Library.
PCACS Executive Director Bruce Lindner discusses the agency’s new bus facility.
New home for bus fleet
PCACS is pleased to be able to store its buses in the
city’s former public works facility on Don Hovey Drive.
“My grandparents were remarkably vibrant people,
larger than life and incredibly generous. Working at
Banta Center years ago, I was amazed at the
resilience and beauty of the members there — after
living through the Depression, World War II, cancer
or strokes, the loss of a spouse or even children —
these people came in every morning, smiling, joking,
complimenting everyone … brightening my day!”
she said.
This new location has numerous advantages by
being a heated facility to freeing up parking spaces
at the Campbell Street offices location.
“The heated facility is especially appreciated at this time
of year. Our bus drivers are now able to perform their
daily inspections indoors,” said PCACS Executive
Director Bruce Lindner. “Fluid checks, light inspections
and so forth can now be accomplished without battling
the wind, snow and cold temperatures."
This was not able to be done in the parking lot on
Campbell Street during the months of the year the
freezing temperatures could cause the bus mechanisms
to freeze up and render the buses unusable.
Having the buses stored in a secured garage also helps
reduce the damage done to buses by extreme weather
and possible vandalism.
“As our nine buses and/or our bus drivers’ cars are no
longer parking in the PCACS building’s parking lot,
“It’s helpful and inspiring to meet with a group of
caring, intelligent community members who are
dedicated to learning about these issues and
helping resolve, or at least relieve, them.”
Wiseman was inspired by her grandparents and
the seniors she developed relationships with while
working at Banta Senior Center.
Leasing this space became possible after the city
vacated the garage and moved to its new facilities on
Joliet Road.
“We are also now able to have the buses
power-washed when necessary.”
“I’ve always loved working with seniors. I figured
that PCACS would help me get in closer touch with
the senior community here in Porter County. Also,
PCACS and the library both help people throughout
the county from all walks of life who may be
struggling with any of a variety of problems: low
income, health problems, job loss,
underemployment, or all of the above,” she said.
Having a heated facility is a main benefit of the new
space for the buses, said PCACS Executive Director
Bruce Lindner.
much needed parking spaces are now available for
people utilizing our building” Lindner said. “And with
no buses in the parking lot, snow plowing has
become even more efficient and effective.
“Our neighbors living on Bond Street are appreciating
improved visibility as they turn onto Campbell Street.”
“I thought: If these people are able to bring so much
happiness and light to the world — having
experienced all that they have — the rest of us
simply have no excuse not to try, too.”
Wiseman looks forward to strengthening her ties to
the community through both organizations.
“I hope that I can support both the mission of
PCACS and the library in a richer, more informed
way through my involvement with both organizations
and populations,” she said. “There’s a definite
overlap in the patron base for the library system and
PCACS; I feel that I’m better able to meet the needs
of my library patrons as I learn more about some of
their circumstances through my involvement in
In her free time, Wiseman enjoys volunteering and
recently moved into her “beautifully restored 1899
“I also love art, nature, food, music and reading nonfiction,” she said. “In past years, I’ve volunteered at
the Art Institute of Chicago’s Senior Celebrations
day in the fall and with the Sons of Union Veterans,
demonstrating period-correct 1860 Civil War
widow’s mourning attire and customs.”