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Robert "Angel" Lange To Receive 2016 Citizen Of The Year Award
Updated December 1, 2016 6:41 AM
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(VINCENNES) - The Vincennes Civitan Club will present its 2016 Citizen of the Year award to Robert "Angel" Lange at a luncheon on December 15, 12 noon, at Vincennes University's Trailblazer Room in Governor's Hall. Tickets are $10 and the public is invited to make reservations.

"Angel Lange is a very dedicated volunteer who has contributed countless hours and personal resources to rehabilitate wildlife while providing valuable education for area children about nature. His good citizenship is exemplified through his long-time, hands-on service that is life-changing for wildlife and, given the importance of what he does, to us as well," said Jonathan Yochum, president of the Vincennes Civitan Club.

Civitan's Citizen of the Year award recognizes individuals who promote good citizenship through outstanding voluntary service to their community. Lange is the 57th recipient of the award since it was first presented to the late Isaac K. Beckes in 1954. The most recent recipients of the award include Scott Shipman, Helen Seirp, Jim Osborne, LaDonna Lane, Georgiann Leonard, Dale Phillips, Nancy Carie, Dr. Alan Stewart, Bernard Niehaus, and Char

With the goal of returning wildlife to their natural habitat, Lange has long provided care and a welcoming refuge for injured wild birds and animals. Conservation officers from a wide area of the state, as well as the public, bring a steady flow of injured and sick wildlife to Lange.

One of only a couple of licensed wildlife rehabilitators in this part of the state, Lange is a valuable resource for conservation officers working for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Although the officers are often the first to get the call about injured wildlife, they need his help in providing wildlife rehabilitation, and Lange is always there with that assistance, frequently paying the cost on his own.

Beginning with caring for farm animals, Lange soon began caring for buffalo, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, skunks, beaver and whitetail deer that were orphaned or injured. He has even cared for cougars, black bears, badgers, coyotes, minks, brown bats, vultures, and even an African lion. But it is care of injured owls, hawks and eagles that he is best known for. And he takes great pride in enabling as many as possible to be released into the wild again.

Part of what sparked Lange's interest in caring for injured wildlife was enrolling in the 1980's in classes taught by the late Pat Jennings, long-time chair of Vincennes University's Conservation Law Enforcement Program. Lange got his State Rehabilitation permit in 1990 and his Federal Rehabilitation Permit in 1993, a time consuming and demanding process.

Retired in 2012 after 31 years employed at the Vincennes Post Office, Lange is also known for his many years dressed as Santa delivering packages at Christmas and welcoming children as they entered the post office.

He was retired about one week from the Post Office when Bestway Express hired him to do general maintenance and other assignments for the company, which he continues doing today.

Caring for wildlife at his home is a family affair, with wife Joanne and son Robb having done their share. The legacy has continued with Lange's grandchildren, Kaylee and Maycee, helping out too. They have even assisted with care of cougars and a black bear. It's all part of Lange's lifelong respect for life for creatures large and small.

A native of Knox County, when Lange is not working and helping wildlife, he also pursues hobbies that include painting and building race car models that he enjoys getting autographed by appreciative Indy 500 drivers. He also owns a 1929 Roadster and a 1930 Model A Sedan that the family rebuilt together, labors of love that he enjoys sharing as part of Vincennes parades and other events.

But time for hobbies is limited as Lange handles a steady flow of creatures that are referred to him, providing care that even includes trips to veterinarians at Purdue University. To date, Lange estimates that he's welcomed more than 1,500 animals to his refuge in 26 years. So far this year, he has cared for 127 animals. And if those creatures could speak, they too would salute Lange as the 2016 Citizen of the Year.

To attend the December 15 luncheon honoring Lange, contact Duane Chattin at or by calling (812) 888-4164.

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