12/6/2012 AMY ENGLE: Cambridge City Citizen of the Year
Jim Cohen (right) congratulates Amy Engle (center) for being named Cambridge City Evening Kiwanis Citizen of the Year on Tuesday. Engle’s daughter Katie watches. Cohen and his wife, P.A. Cohen, received the honor in 2011.
By DARRELL SMITH email@example.com
CAMBRIDGE CITY - A wife, mother, teacher, park board member, church volunteer and community supporter joins a long list of men and women who have made the western Wayne County community a better place to live by being named Cambridge City Citizen of the Year.
The Cambridge City Evening Kiwanis Club named Amy Engle its 52nd Citizen of the Year on Tuesday during the annual banquet at the Golay Community Center.
"We are celebrating the bonds that connect us and what it means to be a community," said Club President Julia Henderson prior to the ceremony. "We are celebrating those who give back to the community and celebrating the spirit of service that is the guiding principle of the Cambridge City Evening Kiwanis Club. We are celebrating the life of someone who represents the best of our community."
Jody Johnson, 2006 citizen of the year, presented the award to Engle by reading a long list of accomplishments.
The Hamilton, Ohio, native graduated from Ball State University with a bachelor's degree and then a master's degree from Purdue University, Johnson said. Engle arrived in the Western Wayne School Corp. in 1999 with her husband John Engle and two children. She teaches algebra, geometry and precalculus. She earned Teacher of the Year from the local school in 2003.
Among activities at the school, she has repaired torn football jerseys, treated the school faculty with many desserts every other Friday over the years, chaperoned proms and dances, served as class sponsor and is an academic coach, she said.
Outsideof school, she is a member of the Milton Park Board working on the new play park and helped with the gazebo decorations in the town. During Cambridge City's 175th anniversary celebration, she served on the planning committee as secretary. She works two days a week in the summers at the lunch program in Creitz Park. She is an active member of St. Elizabeth Catholic Church.
"Whether it's the school, community or the church, our winner is always ready to give," Johnson said. "Her husband notes she has always had a lot going on and has more plans for the future but not plans to stop. From the classroom to the lectern, from the garden to the football field, our citizen of the year has touched the lives of so many in our community."
In thanking the club, Engle said it's just a matter of trying to do what people need her to do.
"My daughter is here and when she grew up, there were a lot of times when her mom had to be a mom to an awful lot of other kids," she said. "I appreciate that you loaned me to other kids to make their lives better."
She credited her mom and grandfather for helping her gain the values exemplified by the award.
Growing up in a family with eight people, there was not a lot of extra financial resources, Engle said. She gave a nickel for milk that cost four cents, expecting a penny back for milk on Friday.
"She showed me that even if you don't have financial resources, you can give of yourself, so I learned at an early age to give of myself," she said. "Now that I have financial resources, I try to help. I give my time which is limited and give it to you with my personal best."
Her grandfather dropped out of school in 1929 to support the family. His life's ambition was for his children to graduate high school and a college degree, she said.
"I take that passion with me to my classroom every day," she said. "I learned from him that you need to do your personal best, not just enough to get by, but your personal best at all times. Some day, long in the future I hope, I will be told by God, 'I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. Welcome faithful servant.'"
Daughter Katie, a senior at Purdue, and mother Barbara Schmidt-Fuersich and sister Beth Hegedus from the Cincinnati area surprised Engle by showing up Tuesday.
"If anyone is deserving of the award, it's her," Katie said. "She makes time to do things for the community but she comes up and visits me so much at school. If I need anything, she drops what she's doing to come up and see me. I think she deserves it."
Husband John, Lincoln Middle-High School administrator, admitted to a "white lie" to get his wife to attend the meeting.
"I told her I needed to be there to represent the school and I needed a date so you've got to come," he said.
He said keeping the award a secret became a little difficult because emails to his school account making plans for the night also showed up on the iPad at home. So there were a couple close calls with Amy nearly discovering the secret.
"With her busy schedule, she just went about her business and stayed busy. She didn't know anything about it," he added.