Ann Berkemeier and Joan Miller were among 16 Indianapolis residents who received Mayor’s Community Service Awards during a ceremony Sept. 22 at the Indiana Historical Society.
The awards honor those who volunteer their time to strengthen Indianapolis communities,” said Mayor Greg Ballard. “Indianapolis is filled with a strong volunteer spirit. These awardees represent the very best of our community. It is an honor to recognize them for their endless work to make our neighborhoods better places in which to live.”
Berkemeier, a 36-year member of St. Mark Catholic Church, has volunteered for almost every activity at the parish. She and her husband, Art, donate time at St. Vincent de Paul’s Food Pantry, which is among the largest in the Midwest. The center serves an average of 3,000 households weekly with an all-volunteer staff.
She is responsible for organizing a group of about 20 parishioners who work at the center for about four hours every Wednesday morning. They repackage food and sort the good from the bad.
“Oh, we’re a lively, enthusiastic group; everyone thinks we’re having a party, and they want to join us,” said Ann in a 2014 interview. “The group is a fantastic bunch of people. Not only do they volunteer here, but they also help with funeral meals and sing in the choir,” among other things. “Some of them probably volunteer close to 40 hours a week. They live their faith.”
Miller has been a constant voice for the betterment and beautification of Perry Township for the past 10 years. She has served multiple years as president of the Greater Southside Business/Community Alliance and was instrumental in the creation of Gray Park. She has also established programs to aid the growing Chin community.
Following tradition, a brick will be engraved with each recipient’s name and placed at the Mayor’s Volunteer Plaza at the 11th Street canal basin.