The 2017 South Bend Community Hall of Fame Banquet is scheduled for November 14 at Century Center. Four individuals, one couple, and one historic figure will be inducted. Also, special honors will be given to two individuals, a charitable organization and a local company.
“This is our 31st year of celebrating the people who have made our community great,” said James Kapsa, HOF chairman. “We have another outstanding class of honorees this year.”
The 2017 Community Hall of Fame inductees are:
Bishop Donald Alford Sr., pastor of Pentecostal Cathedral Church of God in Christ and local funeral director. Bishop Alford has won numerous awards for his civic engagement.
Greg & Mary Downes. As a couple they have contributed countless hours to worthwhile causes in the community. Greg is chairman emeritus of Gibson Insurance Company. Mary serves on the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County. Both are former educators. Mary served as chief of staff for Joe Kernan when he was lieutenant governor then governor of Indiana.
Billy “Stix” Nicks, legendary local musician who formerly was the drummer with Junior Walker and the All Stars. He has also served in several community outreach positions. Billy has devoted many hours to teaching his art to younger musicians.
William Przybysz, retired educator and long-time principal of Adams High School. He was a co-founder with Digger Phelps of the Mentoring Dream Team and served on numerous education and community boards, including Chiara House.
Mikki Dobski Shidler, long-time volunteer for events to raise funds for charitable causes. She formerly worked for the city of South Bend and organized may city events, including the former Ethnic Festival.
Horatio Chapin, historical inductee. He owned a general store on Michigan Street in the mid- to late-1800s and was the first president of the Board of Town Trustees. He chaired a meeting to change the town’s name from Southold to South Bend.
In addition to the Hall of Fame inductions, awards are given each year to recognize individuals and organizations who have contributed in some way to strengthening our community. This year’s honorees are:
Holladay Properties, the Corporate Contributions to Education Award. Holladay has been a major supporter of the Alumni Association, the Boys & Girls Club and other community endeavors.
Margaret Dobrowolska-Furdyna, Ph.D., Distinguished Achievement Award. Dr. Margaret is an associate dean of science and a physics professor at Notre Dame and was instrumental in organizing the Ace for Science tennis tournament. The tourney raised thousands of dollars to support STEM programs in SBCSC schools.
Christmas Commandos, Distinguished Community Service Award. This organization anonymously brightens the holiday each year for families who have lost a parent, child or other loved one.
Dennis Andres, the Ideal Baldoni Distinguished Public Service Award. Andres retired last year as the manager of the Morris Performing Arts Center. During his time there, he oversaw a major restoration of the historic theater and adjacent Palais Royale.
Invitations for the banquet will be mailed around October 1. An individual ticket costs $75, and a patron ticket costs $125. Various levels of sponsorship also will be available. Details about ordering tickets and sponsorships will be posted later.