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(l-r) Lyle Simpson (Lion), Lynn Henschen (Lion), Jim Springer (Lion), Gerret Swearingen (Lion), Dave Umber (Umber’s DIB), Donna Strahm (GMI Insurance), Therese Brown (Dist. 2 – Allen Co. Commissioner), Alex Cornwell (Waynedale News), Bernie Beier (Director – Allen Co. Homeland Security), Jason Arp (Dist. 4 – Ft. Wayne City Council), Loren Allison (Attorney), Jordan Cornwell (Waynedale News/ Chamber Pres.), Eric Lahey (Fire Chief – Ft. Wayne Fire Dept.), Nelson Peters (Dist. 1 – Allen Co. Commissioner), Don Patnoude (Fire Chief – SW Allen Co. Fire Dist.), Ellis McFadden (Board Of Trustees Pres.- SW Fire District)
On May 3, 2017 a check was presented by The Waynedale Business Chamber to City of Fort Wayne and Allen County officials for $5,000. The presentation served as a milestone for the Chamber’s efforts to procure the $26,000 Emergency Siren for the Waynedale area.

After nearly a year of discussions and meetings about if and how a siren could be installed, where it would be located and putting the over 1700 petition signatures in front of government decision makers, volunteers from the Waynedale Business Chamber couldn’t have had a larger smile on their faces now that the project, with this donation, is set to be installed within the next few months.

As with every service project there are funders and then there are volunteers who are on-the-ground knocking on doors and pursuing the ultimate project goal. The Waynedale Emergency Siren was no different, as many people came together to make this monumental project possible.

The Waynedale Business Chamber’s “Emergency Siren Committee” consisted of Jordan Cornwell (Chamber President & Waynedale News), Alex Cornwell (The Waynedale News Publisher) and Loren K. Allison (Attorney). These volunteers gathered their connections and donated hundreds of hours working together to rally community support and work with local government officials to create a solution that would work for all parties.

“It was no easy task.” Alex Cornwell commented, “There were many barriers. It has been decades since the City and/ or County have installed a siren. Since there is currently no set path for any community or organization to have a siren installed, beyond paying for it all themselves, there were many ‘hoops to jump through.’ We originally received many NO’s. However, after more discussions, we reached an agreement to ‘seed’ the project with $5,000; if the Chamber could raise it.”

After this agreement was reached and with only a few hundred dollars raised from public donations, the Siren Committee members knew they would need to work quickly to find funding to make sure the deal was not ‘taken off the table.” Or worse, a tornado sweeps through the community before the siren could be installed.

Luckily, some community ‘heroes’ took swift action to fund and ensure the siren’s installation.

Less than 48 hours later, the Siren Committee was meeting with The Waynedale Lion’s Club which was organized in 1938 and has been focused on the local needs and betterment of the Waynedale Community since its origination. During the meeting, the Lions vowed to fund $2,500; half of the money the Chamber needed to contribute to the project. It was clear that they immediately understood the public need for a siren and generously gave what they could, with little debate.

Lynn Henschen, Waynedale Lions’ Secretary, spoke on behalf of the group, “The Waynedale Lions felt the siren project was a great way to support and protect the many families in the Waynedale area of Fort Wayne. It is in the Lions’ code that ‘Our members do whatever is needed to help their local communities.’”

“The very generous and much needed donation from the Waynedale Lions jumpstarted our fundraising efforts. Our committee members were very encouraged and we began reaching out to other non-profits over the following week. But then, we thought maybe businesses would also want to get involved, so we sent an e-mail out to Chamber members.” Siren Committee Member, Jordan Cornwell recalls the process.

Within 1 hour of the e-mail being sent, to the surprise of the Siren Committee Members, the remaining funds were granted by two generous Waynedale businesses, GMI Insurance ($1,100) and Glosson Food Equipment ($1,000).

“At GMI Insurance, we are in the business of protecting the livelihood of our clients, helping them return to normal as quickly as possible in the event of a tragic property loss. An advanced warning system for Waynedale, a tornado siren, is the first step in safeguarding our neighbors, an obvious extension of our service to the community.” Kelli Richards, Agency Manager continues, “When we learned of the occasion to help with providing Waynedale this additional level of protection, there was no question about what to do! We are proud to be a part of this beloved community, and are passionate about preserving and protecting its heritage. We are grateful for this opportunity to invest in the future of Waynedale.”

John Glosson, Owner of Glosson Food Equipment, “Waynedale has been our home-base over 50 years. It’s home for our business and the area is important to us.” He continues, “The need to warn people of serious weather conditions can sometimes come down to minutes or seconds. The community needs to be protected. The community means the residents and employees and customers to area businesses, too.”

With the aforementioned large donations, it was also the financial support of the American Legion Post 241 and the Fraternal Order of Eagles #248; in addition to other smaller public donations that contributed to the goal of raising the $5,000.

In just under a week, the team efforts of The Waynedale Business Chamber’s Siren Committee Members and generous community donors came to fruition and the final check was presented the following week.

On a broader scale, this project serves as a true portrayal of what community is about. As residents and workers of Waynedale, we look after our neighbors, we work together and we aren’t afraid to ‘roll up our sleeves’ to make things happen. Certainly, many thanks are in order to all who helped to support and fund the Waynedale Emergency Siren.

If you would like to portray your thanks, The Waynedale Business Chamber encourages you to reach out to the following donors:

Waynedale Lions Club – Lion Lynn Henschen
“Waynedale Lions Club is an organization that is part of Lions Club International, which is dedicated to serving the needs of people. Empowering volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding through Lions Clubs.”

GMI Insurance – (260) 478-9405 – 6110 Bluffton Rd #110, Fort Wayne, IN 46809
“Proudly serving the Waynedale community, GMI Insurance offers both personal and business insurance protection. As an independent agency, we’re able to offer a range of companies and types of coverage, which means our customers can choose the best coverage at the best price for their individual needs.”

Glosson Food Equipment – (260) 478-1658 – 6110 Bluffton Rd., #208, Fort Wayne, IN 46809
“Glosson Food Equipment sells and services food equipment to the foodservice industry. Sales specifically to Food Retail Market and refurbished equipment. Services include repair to customer’s equipment and installation for kitchens. Sales of chemicals for dishwashers and kitchen needs.”

Loren K. Allison, Attorney – (260) 466-5205
“Loren prides himself and his practice on helping the small businesses that would otherwise struggle to find legal aid. He believes whole-heartedly that every man and woman deserve dedicated representation and strives to reach out to those who may not know how to navigate the sometimes complex waters of the law.”

The Waynedale News – (260) 747-4535 – 2505 Lwr. Huntington Rd, Fort Wayne, IN 46809
“One of the few remaining locally owned newspapers in Indiana, The Waynedale News’ mission is to sustain, unite and enhance the Waynedale community and surrounding areas. Advertising and donations not only go toward the support and future success of the newspaper, but also go directly back into the community in the form of area promotion and projects.”

The Waynedale News Staff
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