Age Of Excellence Awards nominations are now open

Attendees of the 2019 Age of Excellence Awards enjoy their meal while listening to opening remarks. (Photo Supplied/REAL Services)

REAL Services is dedicated to helping elderly and low-income people become and stay independent for life. Join REAL Services in celebrating people who give back to our community at the Age of Excellence Awards in April. 

By: REAL Services + Home Comfort Experts

Do you have a family member, friend, co-worker or even an acquaintance who goes above and beyond the call of duty to support a loved or someone in our community through daily acts of selflessness and kindness?

Over the last 24 years, REAL Services has made it part of our mission to celebrate those unsung heroes who make a major difference in the lives of others in northern Indiana by honoring them at our annual Age of Excellence ceremony.

This year, the luncheon is from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 21, at the Century Center in downtown South Bend. More than 1,000 people attended last year’s event, so we are expecting a great turnout this year.

To celebrate the members of the community who have given their time and energy to others in the community, several awards are given. Here are the requirements:

  • Business of the Year Award — a business that has a strong commitment to the elderly
  • Family Caregiver of the Year Award — someone who unselfishly provides care and support to a family member who is at least 60 years old 
  • The Wyatt Mick Volunteer of the Year Award — an adult at least 60 years old who is committed to volunteerism in service to the elderly
  • Professional of the Year Award — a professional who has demonstrated dedicated service to older adults (think nurses, police officers, home health aides, doctors, etc.)
  • The Les Fox Hoosier Lifetime Award — an adult at least 60 years old who has demonstrated a lifetime of service to his or her community (paid or unpaid)
  • Agency/Program Serving Low-Income of the Year Award — an agency or program that provides outstanding service to low-income people while supporting independence
  • Change Agent of the Year Award — an individual who has made a difference in the lives of low-income populations
  • Sgt. Shriver Lifetime Achievement Award — a person who has spent the majority of their life in service to low-income populations

REAL Services is still accepting nominations for each award through Friday, March 6. Nominees must live or work in REAL Services’ six-county service area (Elkhart, Fulton, LaPorte, Kosciusko, Marshall and St. Joseph counties). Winners will be chosen by a committee based on their nomination.

Each person or agency nominated will receive their lunch free at the Age of Excellence Awards Luncheon and a certificate acknowledging their valued contribution.

In addition to the awards ceremony, three well-respected members of the community will share their “aha moments” during this year’s luncheon and explain why they feel called to help others.

The speakers are:

Jason Lippert

Jason Lippert is the Chief Executive Officer and director of Lippert Components, one of northern Indiana’s largest employers and manufacturers. In total, Lippert Components donates more than $1 million annually to charities with money raised through fundraising events. 

The 9,000 team members at Lippert have also combined to spend more than 35,000 combined hours volunteering at non-profits and charity events.

Lou Nanni

As the vice president for University Relations at the University of Notre Dame, Lou Nanni oversees the Notre Dame Alumni Association, special events, the advisory councils and efforts in development. 

He is graduated from Notre Dame in 1984 and, prior to returning to the university in 1999, was the executive director of the Center for the Homeless in South Bend. Under Nanni’s direction, the center became a model for addressing issues related to homelessness for centers and non-profits throughout the United States.

Maureen McFadden

A news anchor and journalist for 40 years with WNDU, Maureen McFadden won two Emmy awards and still found time to give back to the community by serving on the board at area non-profits such as Big Brother/Big Sisters, Logan Center, the Junior League and the St. Joseph County Chapter of the Alzheimer’s disease and Related Disorders organization.

She also knows what it’s like to need to care for one of her parents as they got older and will share her experiences doing so.

Do you know someone who deserves to be recognized at the Age of Excellence Awards? Submit your nominations now through the REAL Services website or download the form and mail it in before March 6.


  1. VSS Security and Josh Gobel Have been so kind to my son Paul Oedekerk! Paul has disabilities and they have so graciously given him a job for the last four years. Thank you VSS security for continually to lift my son‘s spirits and making him feel like a viable part of this community.


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