VALPARAISO — The multi-agency university cooperative honored Porter County Commissioner Jeff Good with its first Excellence in Public Service Award.
The MAAC Foundation also took the opportunity to present new initiatives.
During the awards presentation Thursday at the MAAC facility, Good was cited as an honest person, a leader who values efficiency, public service, fiscal responsibility and collaboration.
“I’m very proud of what this group has done,” Good said of the commissioners and Porter County Council. “It’s all about teamwork.”
Valparaiso resident Good said local leaders have been working on Porter County’s finances since the county has the lowest tax rate in Indiana.
“You create a plan, bring people together, and you work to make it happen,” Good said.
MAAC is a non-profit foundation that provides free training opportunities to first responders. MAAC also offers classes for the public on its five-acre property, including CPR and women’s self-defense.
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The purpose of this award is to honor a distinguished individual in public service or volunteer leadership who has made outstanding contributions to public service, particularly contributing to the first responder community.
The recipients’ service will exemplify MAAC’s mission and values such as inclusiveness, collaboration, integrity, respect, fiscal responsibility and customer service leadership.
Porter County Commissioner since 2014, Good, 61, is a former board member of Porter-Starke Services and the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority. As President/Owner of Good Hospitality Services Inc. of Valparaiso, he owns 21 hotels in six states.
MAAC founder Stewart McMillan described Good as a Level 5 leader, someone “who can tell you to go to hell and enjoy the ride.” McMillan said Good has mastered the art of dealing with disappointment.
“He’s run Porter County well and he understands he’s not going to make everyone happy,” McMillan said.
Noting how Porter County’s finances are in good shape, Good said, “Porter County has a very, very bright future. We just have to work together. If there is a problem, we work together to resolve it. We have a bright future ahead of us. Let’s not spoil it. »
Bill Hanna, executive director of the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation, introduced Good and the foundation’s support for an upcoming MAAC project.
The foundation is committing $1 million to MAAC’s Residential Tactical Village, a $2.2 million project designed to better prepare first responders for potentially dangerous situations at home.
Valparaiso Police Chief Jeff Balon cited the example of police responding to a domestic call or other violent situation. Officers would receive training on how to approach these calls without putting themselves in danger.
Balon said MAAC is the “best way for police, firefighters and other first responders to work together on-site, and it allows for a better response overwhelming for communities.”
Celina Weatherwax, president of the MAAC Foundation, said that with funds from the White Foundation, the facility has $2 million for the tactical village and is working on the remaining $200,000.
Plans are for construction to begin next month, with completion expected in time for MAAC’s open house in August.
Weatherwax said MAAC’s sole purpose is “to support first responders.” This, she said, includes “improving the quality of life and public safety in general.”
Another ongoing project is Bedford Falls, a facility that would provide indoor training for first responders, even in inclement weather, and provide additional training space. Named after the village in the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life,” the project would cost around $5.5 million. Weatherwax said a fundraising campaign for this project is underway.
Weatherwax also reported that MAAC has exceeded expectations, with class attendance increasing 25% annually.
McMillan called MAAC “a sandbox where everyone is welcome. No one dominates it; everyone likes it.
Noting that the facility originally opened to help volunteer firefighters, McMillan said, “It’s become something special.”
PHOTOS: Excellence in Public Service Award – Jeff Good, Porter County Commissioner