Beckman recipient of President’s Community Excellence Award

Zach Beckman took a look at the award his father, Dr. Dean Beckman, had just received at the Jasper Chamber of Commerce Annual Luncheon held Tuesday at the Calumet Lake Events Plaza.

As Dr. Dean Beckman heard he was named the recipient of the Jasper Chamber of Commerce’s President’s Community Excellence Award, he saw his children standing at the entrance to the Calumet dance hall.

His daughter, Dr. Allie Beckman Sadowitz, her husband, Matt, and the couple’s two children, Holland and Cooper, as well as Dr. Dean Beckman’s son, Reece, had quietly gathered at the entrance to witness the honor. They had all driven down from Indianapolis to be there when Dr. Beckman received the award.

After accepting the award, Beckman’s comments were short and emotional. He pointed to his parents’ influence in his life and his father’s many years of work with the Boy Scouts for his own service-oriented efforts.

He then asked his oldest son, Zach, up to stand with him. Zack was born in 1992 with Down Syndrome. Dr. Beckman pointed to the tribulations Zach experienced in his early life. Motioning to his son, Dr. Beckman said “This guy really teaches you about service.”

He spoke about attending the Special Olympics each year since Zach was eight years old. “One of the best weekends of the year is the Summer Games,” Beckman said. “There are 4,000 special needs young people there that do things that you’d be amazed.”

“I tell people that if you ever feel sorry for yourself, spend a little time there. You never will again.”

He added he was so grateful to have Zach in his life.

The Beckman family gathered for a photo over the lake at the Calumet Lake Event Plaza.

Dr. Beckman was nominated by his daughter. In her nomination letter, she listed his many achievements and accolades.

Dr. Beckman is an Eagle Scout and received a Presidential Commendation Award from President Gerald R. Ford for saving the life of a Jasper citizen. He continued the tradition by leading his own sons in Boy Scouts. They also both became Eagle Scouts.

After medical school, Dr. Beckman served as a physician in internal medicine and pediatrics. He served on the board of directors for Memorial Hospital for several years.

He acts as the sports medicine physician for the various sports teams in Jasper. “You will often see him on the sidelines of every football game (home and away), as he has done for the past 30 years,” she wrote. Dr. Beckman was inducted into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame in 2014 in recognition of that service.

He received the Memorial Hospital Physician of the Year in 2020. He is also a member of Holy Family Church in Jasper and the Knights of Columbus. He serves as a eucharist minister there.

In 1998, Dr. Beckman developed the Dubois County AED program that placed defibrillators in key areas in Jasper city buildings. Afterward, Dr. Beckman and his wife, Vickie, were nearby when a student went into cardiac arrest at the Jasper High School auxiliary gym and he was able to use one of those devices to resuscitate her.

“What makes this nomination so timely is his relentless service and dedication to his patients during the COVID-19 pandemic,” she wrote in the nomination letter. “As a physician, he has taken care of hundreds of COVID patients both in the hospital and in his clinic. As any healthcare worker will tell you, this job is taxing. It takes a huge emotional toll to see patients that you have known for 30-plus years become sick with this virus, and he has worked tirelessly to help as many patients as he can in the community. He cares so deeply for his patients and their families.”

Dr. Beckman said he was honored by the award but it was an even larger honor to see his family take the time to come from Indianapolis to be there when he received it.

Every year, someone who exemplifies service to the community is surprised with the award.

Nominations are judged by a committee drawn from the current Jasper Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Dr. Beckman joins a long list of individuals awarded the special honorific. The first President’s Award was presented posthumously to Alvin C. Ruxer in 1991. This was followed by Bob Siebert, Anne Heeke, Jim Stenftenagel, Ed Rumbach, Bob Gramelspacher, Patty Cox, Bob Steffe, Rich Eckerle, Norbert Eckerle, Leon Fleck, Dave Buehler, Dan Mundy, Lynn Krodel, Ken Sendelweck, Ken Sternberg and Maureen Braun, Donnie Lichlyter, Dr. Nancy Otte, Gervase Schwenk, Joe Rohleder, Bernie Vogler, John Siebert, Becky Beckman, Mike Jones, Mike Ackerman, Dan Fritch, John Seng, Dean Vonderheide, Bob Bleemel, and Kim Lottes.

Governor Eric Holcomb was the guest speaker at the annual luncheon. He and VUJ Dean Christian Blome held a “fireside” chat on stage for the audience. Blome’s questions to the governor ranged from infrastructure needs to President Biden’s recent executive order regarding vaccinations.

To a round of exuberant applause, the governor assured the audience the State of Indiana would fight the mandate requiring businesses with 100 or more employees to abide by the vaccination mandate.

“It is, I believe, unconstitutional,” Gov. Holcomb said. “It is unprecedented.”

Besides the lawfulness of the executive order, Governor Holcomb mentioned the difficulties this would put on the state’s department of labor as well as the impact it would have on businesses already having problems filling jobs.

A group opposing the construction of the Mid-States Corridor gathered on Mill Street near the entrance to the Calumet Lake Events Plaza. The peaceful protestors held signs announcing their opposition to the proposed corridor. A study to determine the best route is being conducted by the Lockmueller Group at this time with plans to make their recommendations public in the future.

“My job is to make sure the state continues to grow and has the resources and organization to accommodate the public will,” Gov. Holcomb said after recognizing those exercising their right to free speech.

He added the “review and scrutiny” were still to come in regards to the corridor study. He said that he thought the results of the ongoing study would be made public in the early part of 2022.

He added that safe and adequate infrastructure is important to continue supporting the growth of logistics and manufacturing in the State of Indiana.