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For Release: May 22, 2012
Contacts: Molly Link, United Way, 260.422.4776 or 260.418.7218 (cell)
Bob and Irene Walters Honored with
United Way Bill Latz Award for Leadership
FORT WAYNE (May 22, 2012) – Fort Wayne business people and community volunteers Bob and Irene Walters were honored with United Way’s Bill Latz Award for Leadership on May 22, 2012. The award was presented during United Way’s annual leadership reception at the Lincoln Financial Event Center at Parkview Field.
Bob Walters is Partner at Barrett & McNagny LLC and Irene Walters is Executive Director of University Relations and Communications at IPFW. Both Bob and Irene have served the community in many leadership positions. Bob is currently a member of the Fort Wayne Downtown Development Trust, the Advisory Committee to the City of Fort Wayne Community Trust Fund, and the Hospital Authority of the City of Fort Wayne. Irene is a co-founder of Francine’s Friends and still serves on their board, as well as currently serving on the board for Turnstone, Artlink, Downtown and RiverFront Development, Visit Fort Wayne, Tower Bank, and Parkview Hospital, among other involvements. Bob was included in the 2012 edition of Best Lawyers in America as the Fort Wayne Best Lawyers Corporate Law Lawyer of the Year and, in 2011, the Allen County Bar Association awarded him the Niemann Citation for Excellence and Professionalism. Irene has received many honors as well, including the Athena Award in 2010, the Monsignor Thiele Award in 2008, and Indiana’s highest civilian award, the Sagamore of the Wabash in 1994.
The Walters began giving to United Way of Allen County when they first moved to Fort Wayne after college in the late 1960s. Both have served on the Board of Directors; Bob from 1987 to 1994 and again from 1996 to 2001 and Irene from 2005 to present day. Bob was Campaign Vice Chair in 1997 and has been a Real Men Read volunteer since the program’s inception in 2009. He is also a School Buddy at Forest Park Elementary with a child in the second grade. During his tenure on the Board, Bob was a leading voice who worked with local law firms to raise the profile of United Way of Allen County in the community and, in turn, increase fundraising efforts. Irene started her work with United Way in the early 1990s, serving as Day of Caring Chair and on the Campaign Cabinet. She has served on nearly every committee within United Way, including the Finance Committee, Executive Committee, Governance Committee, Marketing Committee, and Women United Steering, Mentoring, Events, and Initiative Voting Committees. She saw United Way through a transformative period when she was Chair of the Board from 2007 to 2009 and led efforts to change the bylaws to allow the Chair to be in office for at least two years to enhance their knowledge and, therefore, effectiveness in that role. Currently, Irene leads efforts to grow leadership giving and participation in Women United, which focuses on United Way’s early childhood education initiatives.
“United Way and our larger community have benefited enormously from Irene and Bob Walters' leadership,” said Marilyn Moran-Townsend, who was the recipient of the Bill Latz Award for Leadership in 2011. “I can't think of an aspect of community life they haven't positively impacted; and I can't imagine what Northeast Indiana would be like without their drive, their compassion and their vision. We are so lucky that they have chosen to call Fort Wayne and Allen County their home.”
“Irene and Bob’s time as volunteers for United Way of Allen County has been one of immense growth; they help spread the message of United Way and work tirelessly to make lasting changes in our community,” said Todd Stephenson, president and CEO of United Way of Allen County. “On behalf of United Way and the many people our agency has served over the years, I want to thank the Walters for their outstanding leadership and advocacy.”
The Bill Latz Award is given only when a volunteer has provided extraordinary leadership and service to United Way of Allen County. Recipients will have provided 20 or more years of service to United Way, will be major donors for many years, and will have made other exemplary contributions to the organization. Previous winners include Marilyn Moran-Townsend, Harriet and Richard Inskeep, Dick Doermer, and Ian and Mimi Rolland.
Bill Latz’s service to United Way of Allen County was extensive, including volunteering for the organization from 1942 to 2007. Latz served in almost every United Way volunteer capacity; he was the Board Chair, Campaign Chair and an Account Executive. He held the distinguished title of Board Director Emeritus and stepped in as Interim Director prior to the hiring of a permanent President and CEO in 1994. Latz and his wife, Danny, were Diamond Donors for more than 20 years; Danny continues to contribute at a leadership level. Latz passed away in December of 2007.