Duneland Distinguished Woman is one whose passion is giving back creatively,
who leads quietly but surely by example, who serves this community in its
easily forgotten or overlooked nooks and crannies.
She is Meg McCarel.
year’s honor at the annual Duneland Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday at The
Spa was last year’s recipient, Amber Hensell-Hicks. “We tend to think that
leaders usually have their name in lights or who have lots of PR,” she said.
“But sometimes where things really happen is behind the scenes. You may or
may not be familiar with this year’s recipient.”
and friends were asked to describe Meg, they said she puts others and their
needs before her own,” Hensell-Hicks said. “She builds people up and brings
people together. As a special education teacher in the Duneland Schools, Meg
has dedicated herself to her students, sometimes even buying them breakfast
out of her own pocket.”
“But it goes far
beyond being a selfless teacher,” Hensell-Hicks added. “Meg’s dedicated
countless volunteer hours working on the Womanless Beauty Pageant and
Dancing Like the Stars. This is a woman certainly worth celebrating. Leaders
serve, they love to serve, and Meg is a leader.”
Humanitarian of the
Humanitarian of the Year recognition was Dawn Ruge. Presenting the honor,
Ruge’s daughter, Jackie Ruge-Perkins, who grew up watching her mother make a
habit of acting on her compassion.
“Dawn Ruge is first
and foremost a family-oriented woman,” her daughter said. “She is a
dedicated and loving wife, a caring mother of eight, and a grandmother and
great-grandmother. Yet throughout her time raising eight children, Dawn
still found time to volunteer.”
At St. Patrick
Catholic Church and School, the Porter County Mental Health Association, the
Westport Community Club in Burns Harbor, the Chesterton Lions Club, the
Duneland Exchange Club, the Chesterton/Porter Rotary Club, the Burns Harbor
Park Department, and Meals on Wheels.
And because that
list isn’t yet long enough, add one more: Dawn Ruge currently serves as
president of the Westchester Neighbors Food Pantry and in doing so “puts in
the time and effort equivalent to a full-time job,” her daughter said. “Dawn
Ruge has selflessly devoted time and money to help better the Duneland
community. Her generosity and dedication are truly remarkable. She has given
back to our community time and time again and is undoubtedly deserving of
And Mike Anton was
honored with the Golden Achievement Award, which recognizes outstanding
Duneland seniors who have demonstrated their commitment to the community
through service and leadership.
For the last 40
years Mike has played a major role in the Duneland community,” said