News release from Northeast Indiana Works:
LaGrange’s Jac Price Awarded Sagamore Posthumously
LaGrange, IN (September 8, 2015) – Longtime workforce and economic development leader John (Jac) Alan Price of LaGrange was awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash posthumously during ceremonies Tuesday at the LaGrange County Board of Commissioners meeting.
Sen. Sue Glick, R-LaGrange, presented the award to Price’s widow, Madonna, on behalf of Gov. Mike Pence. The Sagamore of the Wabash is the highest honor bestowed by an Indiana governor and is given to citizens who have made significant contributions to the state.
Price’s widow also accepted two other awards Tuesday for her late husband: A Lifetime Achievement Award from the LaGrange County Economic Development Corp. and the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, and an award from the LaGrange County Commissioners recognizing his service to the community.
Price. 76, succumbed to cancer Sunday.
“Jac’s service to LaGrange County and northeast Indiana was an inspiration to those fortunate to serve at his side,” said John Sampson, president and CEO of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. “The Sagamore of the Wabash award is emblematic of Hoosiers of his distinguished service. His was a lifetime of commitment to the community he loved; an example for all to follow.”
Price was the epitome of a stellar public servant, devoting nearly his entire adult life to workforce and economic development in LaGrange County, northeast Indiana and the state of Indiana. He also provided leadership in the arenas of health and education.
At the time of his death, he was a member of the region’s workforce development board (Northeast Indiana Works), where he served for more than 15 years, including two three-year terms as president. He was also a LaGrange County Commissioner, where he served as president, and was a member of the Northeast Indiana
Mayors/Commissioners Caucus; the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership Board of Directors; the Regional Opportunities Council; the Region III-A Development and Regional Planning Commission; the LaGrange County Economic Development Corp. Executive Board; and the Parkview LaGrange Hospital Board of Directors, including three years as president.
He was a past member and president of the State Workforce Innovation Council. He also was a former member of the LaGrange County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, serving two three-year terms as president; the LaGrange Chapter of the Jaycees; the LaGrange County Council; the Lakeland Board of Education; and the Parkview Health Board of Directors.
In 2008, he was given the Governor’s Distinguished Hoosier Award.
Price was a native of LaGrange, an Army veteran, and longtime owner of Price’s Laundry, which serves health care institutions, schools and restaurants. Colleagues and family described him as honest, tenacious but fair, respectful, and thoroughly committed.
Price earnestly shared those values with others he encountered – people like Keith Gillenwater, former executive director of the LaGrange Economic Development Corp. and now president and CEO of the Economic Development Group of Wabash County.
Said Gillenwater: “He gave tirelessly of his time, talents and resources to support not only his home community of LaGrange County but also the greater northeast Indiana region and the state. I was honored to be able to call him both a friend and mentor. He had a servant’s heart. He was a great man.”
Said Ryne Krock, president and CEO of the LaGrange EDC: “Jac’s impact on economic development can be seen in every corner of northeast Indiana. He defined what it is to be a true leader and LaGrange County was fortunate to have him call our community his home.”
In an interview two weeks before his death, Price said one of his greatest hopes for the region is creating enough quality education and work opportunities for young people so they will stay in northeast Indiana, particularly in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) fields.
“I understand people leaving,” he said then, “but there’s a good share we ought to be able to keep.”
Achieving that talent retention, he said, will happen through the burgeoning collaborative spirit of leaders throughout northeast Indiana.
“Jac was a steady, thoughtful and dynamic leader in helping guide the region’s workforce development efforts,” said Kathleen Randolph, president and CEO of Northeast Indiana Works. “Moreover, he was one of the first leaders in northeast Indiana to recognize the critical importance of collaboration in ensuring successful workforce and economic development planning.
“I greatly valued Jac’s counsel in his time on the workforce development board,” she said, “and I especially marveled at his ability to lead through sometimes difficult times with unwavering good cheer.”
Price exhibited that same character in his final days.
“I’ve pretty much done what I’ve wanted to do, when I’ve wanted to do it, where I’ve wanted to do it, and with the people I’ve wanted to do it with,” he said. “Am I disappointed that (the end is near)? Yes. But I think I’ve had a pretty good life.”
About Northeast Indiana Works
Northeast Indiana Works, the region’s workforce investment board, provides public and private financial and employment resources to businesses and individuals for education and skills training to meet the needs of regional industries. The nonprofit sets policy for how public and private funds are utilized to support talent development. It also operates and staffs the 11 county-based WorkOne Northeast career centers in the region. Individuals and companies may access resources and services by visiting or calling WorkOne in their county. To find your local WorkOne, log on to www.workoneworks.com.