Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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November 21, 2012

Goshen nurse Kathy Turco honored for service

GOSHEN — Kathy Turco, a registered nurse with IU Health Goshen, was recently awarded the 2012 President’s Values Leadership Award from Indiana University Health. Turco was one of 71 nurses nominated for the honor across the entire 18-hospital IU Health system.

Turco attended a recognition dinner in Indianapolis earlier this month. She will receive a $3,000 award to further her “development as a values leader.”

A nurse with IU Health Goshen for 29 years, Turco volunteers at the Center for Hope and Healing, teaches second-grade Sunday school and helps with the high school youth group at her church. Yet it’s her longtime  dedication to Catholic HEART Work camp, in combination with her excellence in the workplace, that led to her winning the system-wide award.

Turco plans to use the award money to help more youth attend Catholic HEART Workcamp, which costs $325 per person for food, lodging and transportation. Every summer, hundreds of students in grades 8 through 12 and their chaperones participate in one of more than 40 Work camps across the country. Each group divides into teams to assist area nonprofit organizations with any job on their list, from refurbishing homes with fresh paint and new flooring to sorting food at a food pantry or assembling donated playground equipment at a homeless shelter.

“We never begin a job we can’t finish in the four days that we’re there,” said Turco, who organizes a Workcamp in Mishawaka every summer in addition to taking teens from her church to a Workcamp in another part of the country.

Turco has been managing the Mishawaka Workcamp for 13 years. The nonprofit beneficiaries of her efforts include LaCasa of Goshen, Habitat for Humanity of Elkhart and St. Joseph Counties, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Nappanee, Goshen and Middlebury, the Center for Hospice and Palliative Care in South Bend, and REAL Services of St. Joseph and Elkhart Counties.

“Kathy Turco works tirelessly to make sure that our volunteers have a good experience,” said Bonnie Martin, vice president of development for LaCasa. “Under Kathy’s leadership, Catholic HEART volunteers have accomplished much for us, including painting, landscaping, building a terrace, cleaning out apartments, building a fence and numerous other jobs.”

Turco said her reward is the transformation she notices in the teens who participate.

“You get to see kids who are in their shell at church, who might be shy or moody, and they get excited and motivated about helping others,” Turco said.

According to Martin, that motivation translates to far-reaching, long-lasting impact on the community.

“The work of Kathy and her volunteers,” Martin explained, “has advanced the mission of LaCasa to provide safe, attractive and affordable housing in Elkhart County.”

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
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