Mr. Speaker: It is with great pleasure that I stand before you today to recognize the Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce business award winners for 2010 and to congratulate the 2010 Distinguished Community Leader Award recipient, Mr. Bruce Leetz, and the 2010 Legacy of Service Award recipient, Mr. Larry Klemz. These outstanding recipients were honored during the Chamber’s annual “Salute to Leadership” dinner that took place on Saturday, January 15, 2011, at Strongbow Inn in Valparaiso, Indiana.
The Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce utilizes members of the community in order to improve the quality of life within the community of Valparaiso through business development and community service. Each year, Chamber members and friends gather together to honor the recipients of the Distinguished Community Award and the Legacy of Service Award.
This year, the Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce honored its 2010 Business Award Winners. Peoples Bank and Urschel Laboratories were honored with the 100 Years in Business award. The 75 Years in Business award was given to Lincoln Office, L.L.C., and the recipient of the 50 Years in Business award is G.E. Marshall, Inc. Each business is dedicated to providing excellent business to the community and for that reason, they are to be commended.
The 2010 Distinguished Community Leader Award recipient is Bruce Leetz. A graduate of Valparaiso High School and Ball State University, Bruce is the President and Chief Executive Officer of North Coast Distributing and has been employed with the company for over 45 years. A local, family-owned beer wholesaler since 1939, North Coast, formerly Valpo Beverages, Incorporated, has become one of the premier distributors in the Midwest under Bruce’s leadership. In addition to his successful career, Bruce has continuously been an active participant in his community, having served on the boards of the Northwest Indiana Forum, the Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce, and the Northwest Indiana Entrepreneurship Academy. He is also a past president of the Porter County United Way and the Valparaiso Rotary Club, and he is a Ruling Elder at First Presbyterian Church of Valparaiso. For his outstanding dedication to serving his community, Bruce is worthy of the highest praise.
Larry Klemz is the recipient of the 2010 Legacy of Service Award. Larry received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business from Valparaiso University. During school and following graduation, Larry worked for Home Mountain Publishing, which he purchased in 1978. He previously bought a small printing company in Valparaiso named the Herald Press and merged the two businesses together. Larry serves as President of his company, which is known today as Home Mountain Printing. Larry’s leadership and dedication to his company has made Home Mountain Printing an industry leader in Northwest Indiana. Additionally, Larry spends much time and effort giving back to the community. He has served on numerous boards including: the Family and Youth Services Bureau, Porter County United Way, Valparaiso Rotary Club, Valparaiso YMCA, and the Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce. Currently, he serves with the Porter County Museum Advisory Council and the Public Education Foundation of Valparaiso. Larry’s continuous devotion to his community is to be admired.
Mr. Speaker, clearly Bruce and Larry have not only been wonderfully successful in their chosen endeavors, but they have lived selfless lives. They know, aswrote “the common welfare was [their] business; charity, mercy, forbearance, benevolence, were all [their] business.” At this time, I ask that you and my other distinguished colleagues join me in honoring the Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce 2010 Business Award Winners, as well as Bruce Leetz and Larry Klemz. For their dedication and commitment to the community of Valparaiso as well as Northwest Indiana, they are all worthy of the honors bestowed upon them.