(BLOOMINGTON) – The City of Bloomington Volunteer Network (CBVN) and the Office of the Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch are honored to announce that Bloomington residents David White and Elizabeth Mitchell were selected as 2019 recipients of the Golden Hoosier Award.
Twenty-three seniors from all over Indiana were honored with this award at a presentation Monday, June 24, in the Eli Lilly Hall at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center in Indianapolis.
The Golden Hoosier Award was established in 2008 to acknowledge and recognize outstanding seniors for their lifetime of service to their communities and is the highest honor that the State of Indiana bestows upon a senior citizen. The Golden Hoosier Award is a collaboration between the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, Suzanne Crouch, AARP Indiana, and the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s Division of Aging. The award recognizes previously unsung heroes for the impact of their lifelong service and dedication to bettering the community. CBVN nominated White and Mitchell for the award.
“Our community has been deeply enriched by the values, dedication, and hard work of both Elizabeth Mitchell and David White,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “I have the greatest respect and appreciation for their lives of generous and selfless service, which have lifted others up and inspired others still to follow in their footsteps. Congratulations, and thank you, Elizabeth and David.”
Historian and documentarian Elizabeth Mitchell, 66, has long been valued as a member of the Monroe County History Center for her efforts to celebrate the unacknowledged contributions of African-Americans in her beloved Bloomington. Her determination to re-tell the forgotten stories of once-thriving African-American communities in Indiana has led to the restoration of an important church landmark in historic West Baden and broadened the understanding of the unheralded service workers—the nannies, bellmen, maids, porters and waiters—that provided the labor needed to make the early 20th-century West Baden Springs Hotel a lavish, world-known resort. Mitchell, leading a small army of volunteers, has dedicated countless hours to saving the First Baptist Church, once one of Indiana’s most-endangered historic places. As Mitchell says, it’s not just about preserving a church, it’s about preserving the legacy of the people that made that town.
Longtime Indiana University biology professor David White, 83, decided before he retired 19 years ago to make his volunteerism impactful, telling friends he’d decided that vulnerable people’s voices should be heard, especially by those in the agencies created to help them. It’s been a guiding principle since he started volunteering his time and talent working to help lift people out of poverty, homelessness, and the despair of incarceration. Editor and publisher of the Safety-Net free community services newspaper, which connects people in need to people with resources, White’s volunteerism has also benefited the South Central Community Action Program, the Community Kitchen, Harmony School, the Shalom Center, the Interfaith Winter Shelter, New Leaf/New Life and the Puck Players Puppet Theater—to name a few. “He sees a need and starts a grassroots movement,” says a friend. “It is really impossible to determine how many hundreds — even thousands — of people David has affected both directly and indirectly.”