It was a shock to Don Peslis when introducing state Sen. Tim Lanane and state Rep. Terri Austin at the Character Counts 10th anniversary block party Saturday that they really were there for him.
Peslis, who brought national character developing program Character Counts to Madison County and founded Anderson University’s Center for Character Development, had no idea that Lanane and Austin were about to present him with one of Indiana’s highest honors — the Distinguished Hoosier Award.
“Without Don Peslis, there would be no Character Counts,” Lanane said. “I myself have been proud to stand on the Senate floor and talk about Character Counts to every other senator.”
Austin presented the award to Peslis, reading from it that Peslis had made a significant contribution to his community and endeared himself in the hearts of Hoosiers for his work with Character Counts. He had earned the respect and admiration of Hoosiers across the state, read the award signed by Gov. Mitch Daniels.
Mayor Kris Ockomon expressed his pleasure at working with Peslis on Character Counts matters.
“Kids, this is your day, and this is the guy that made it happen,” he said to the crowd at the block party Saturday.
Peslis gave the credit back to the people of Anderson and those who have helped him with the program.
“This is your award,” he said to the crowd. “We just love Anderson, Indiana, and it’s been our joy to live, work and play in Anderson, Indiana, where character really does count.
“I’ve had the best job in this city for the past 15 years.”
Formed in 2000, the mission of The Center for Character Development at Anderson University is to recognize, enhance, teach and sustain positive qualities in the lives of persons in order to promote civility through character development. The intent of this initiative, now a part of the School of Education at AU, is to foster greater understanding and cooperation among individuals and organizations and help develop a positive environment to address issues that will shape the future. For more information about the Center for Character Development at Anderson University call 765-641-3861 or online at www.character-development.org.
—Aleasha Sandley is a reporter for the Herald Bulletin in Anderson, Ind. Story republished with permission.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2008, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the fourth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.