Summers in my home state of New Jersey were stifling. Without air-conditioning, pressed cotton wilted; we struggled to sleep. Walking through Prairietown, I imagine my early discomfort magnified twenty times. No indoor plumbing. No electricity. No supermarkets. No Tylenol.
People survived that time. Some did more than just survive. They innovated. They learned. They led others. It took courage and vision to persevere then, to imagine the world as a better place for their descendents.
At the Spirit of the Prairie Awards Dinner
held annually, this year on Saturday, September 11, we celebrate people today who demonstrate the perseverance and long-term vision of our ancestors. I’m pleased to share with you our 2010 honorees.
Julie A. Davis, an Indianapolis civic leader and community volunteer, has helped more than 30 nonprofit organizations. She co-founded the Presidents Roundtable that convenes the leaders of 11 local women’s organizations to leverage the power and influence of women.
John Pistole, born in Anderson, Indiana, now runs the Transportation Security Administration, overseeing security operations at airports, highways, railways, ports, mass transit systems and pipelines. Our safety is in the hands of a Hoosier!
Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, now rabbi at Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, Indianapolis, became the first woman ordained as a rabbi for the Reconstuctionist movement. She also writes children’s books, lectures at Butler University and is active in interfaith communities.
Max L. Siegel leads the sports and entertainment industry team at Baker & Daniels, Indianapolis, but is also CEO of a sports, entertainment and marketing firm. He made history as the highest-ranking African American executive in NASCAR.
Please join us as we celebrate the pioneers that live among us today.
P.S. If you think the evening will be boring, think again. The ceremony is enlivened with music and other entertainment, a cocktail party al fresco, balloon voyages
(weather permitting) and the September glory of the Conner Prairie landscape.
See you there.