During the Winona Lake Family Festival Saturday, two awards were presented. Michael Peoples received the Limitless Award, and Dr. Terry White received the 2018 Bill Reneker Memorial Community Service Award. Pictured (L to R) are: Heather James, Winona Lake councilwoman; Judy Reneker Burd, wife of the late Bill Reneker; Peoples; Holly Hummitch, Winona Lake Parks director; White; and Dennis Duncan, Winona Lake councilman.

Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
During the Winona Lake Family Festival Saturday, two awards were presented. Michael Peoples received the Limitless Award, and Dr. Terry White received the 2018 Bill Reneker Memorial Community Service Award. Pictured (L to R) are: Heather James, Winona Lake councilwoman; Judy Reneker Burd, wife of the late Bill Reneker; Peoples; Holly Hummitch, Winona Lake Parks director; White; and Dennis Duncan, Winona Lake councilman. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union

WINONA LAKE – Both award recipients were surprised Saturday when their names were called during the program portion of the first annual Winona Lake Family Festival.

Dr. Terry White received the 2018 Bill Reneker Memorial Community Service Award; while Michael Peoples received the Limitless Award.

The Family Festival replaces the annual Winona Lake Community Appreciation Banquet, which was held for about the last 20 years. Town Coordinator Craig Allebach said the festival is more family friendly and includes all generations “where we can come together for a time of fun, fellowship, games and, of course, food. More importantly, free food! And a free event for the Winona Lake residents.”

Before Allebach presented the Reneker award to White, he gave a little background on it. Bill Reneker was president of the Winona Lake Town Council when he died in 1993 at the age of 57.

“He was always one of those persons who was always giving back to this community and the business of bettering Winona Lake was a high priority for him,” Allebach said of Reneker.

“... After his death, it seemed only fitting that the annual Bill Reneker Community Service Award be presented by the Reneker family and the town of Winona Lake.”

The award is given to an individual who has a spirit of giving back and works toward bettering the community.

White was born in a small western Pennsylvania town in 1942. His family had a tradition of traveling to their annual church conference for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, which was held every summer in Winona Lake. “So Terry grew to love the town in his early teens year,” Allebach said.

In 1960, White enrolled as a music major at Grace College, where he met his wife. The two were married in 1965. Both graduated Grace in 1964, and White spend the next year earning his master’s degree at Indiana University.

After one year of public school teaching, he was invited to join the Grace staff as the director of public relations. He also taught in the journalism department until 1977.

After the journalism department was eliminated due to budget cuts, White moved to Minneapolis for 15 years and then to Virginia for 12 years.

“But the heart’s desire of the couple was always – during those 27 years – to return to Winona Lake,” Allebach said. That dream was fulfilled in 2002 when the Brethren Missionary Publishing Co. hired White to resurrect their Brethren Communication publication.

“Terry jumped right back into town involvement after attending the November 2003 town banquet where Steve Grill gave an enlightening update on all that had transpired to renew the vibrancy of the town during the Whites’ time away,” Allebach said. “Totally enthralled by what he saw Brent Wilcoxson and Dane Miller had done  to transform the Village, he, along with his project manager, Ann Myers, did an amazing updating, transformation and landscaping of the Herald Bookstore on Kings Highway.”

White returned to Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church where he and his wife had members since 1960 and quickly became involved in several areas of service.





In 2013, White began searching for who was chronicling the town’s history as the town approached its first 100th birthday. Longing for a comprehensive history of the town to be completed, White wrote the 300-page “Winona at 100” in time for the town’s centennial.

With his knowledge of the town’s history, White volunteers four days a week at the Winona Lake History Museum. Some of his other interests and club memberships include Wagon Wheel board, Symphony of the Lakes, town board, the local ministerial association, the Winona Lake Arts Commission and the publicity committee. He updates the Winona Lake Facebook page. He teaches at Grace College and writes for various publications.

White called it a surprise, and was otherwise speechless.

Holly Hummitch, Winona Lake Parks director, presented the Limitless Award to Peoples.

“The Limitless Award is an award we started last year, and that award is honoring a community member who goes above and beyond the limits of the everyday citizen,” she said.

Before announcing the recipient of the 2018 award, she said he works for the town office and Kelainey’s in Winona Lake.  He also works at the YMCA and helps at the Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts in Warsaw. He and his family have lived in Winona Lake for over 20 years.

“He has an awesome family, including his mom, his dad, one brother, two sisters and a dog,” Hummitch said. “He loves being around people and watching WWE wrestling. He loves dancing, singing and his favorite food is hot dogs.”

He performs as a member of the Soul Brothers, a dance troupe that has performed in Northern Indiana including at the Fort Wayne Mad Ants basketball games.

She then announced the award recipient was Peoples, who then ran up to Hummitch to accept the honor.

He said, “Thank you so much. I am honored to be working at the town. I’ve been working six years. Thank you.”

Hundreds of people attended the festival Saturday, which was from 3 to 7 p.m. Allebach said that while the community dinner was barely breaking 100 attendees the last few years, over 350 plates were used at Saturday’s festival prior to 6 p.m. The free festival meal included hot dogs, potato salad, baked beans, chips and a cookie.

“So that kind of goes to show you the kind of participation we have in our first year. We are glad you are all here,” he said.

Meghan Lincoln, deputy clerk-treasurer who organized much of the festival, said planning started back in January and the committee met throughout the months to get things set up.

“We had a good response from the vendors the town uses. We had a good response from the donation letters we sent out three months ago. We couldn’t have done it without the sponsors,” Lincoln said.

Among the many sponsors were A&Z Engineering LLC, The Straight Path Marketing, 1st Source Bank, OrthoCity Brewery & Smokehouse, Esther Pfleiderer Charitable Trust and Silveus Insurance.

Activities at the festival included corn hole, frisbee golf, yard darts, giant Jenga, peddle cart obstacle course, inflatables, free Kelainey’s ice cream, door prizes, a dunk tank, petting zoo, face painting and more.

“I think we had a pretty good turnout,” Lincoln said.