Ed Merrion is honored with Ned E. Kalb community leadership award


Monica Komasinski and Ed Merrion

Ed Merrion’s longtime service to the homeless and vulnerable in La Porte County was recognized recently by the county’s Purdue extension office.

Merrion was presented with the ninth annual Ned E. Kalb Community Leadership Award at the recent annual meeting at the Silver Palace in La Porte. He was given a plaque and will have his name added to the permanent plaque on display at the extension office.

The permanent plaque was donated by Dick Reel, who served as the extension director for many years. The award is named for former extension director Ned Kalb, who had a tremendous impact on La Porte County.

Merrion was nominated for the award by Jim Musial, executive director of Citizens Concerned for the Homeless, Inc. (CCH) and Harrison Holtkamp, executive director of Interfaith Community PADS, Inc.

“Ed is a selfless and tireless advocate for the homeless and for our community generally.  His humble leadership style is complemented by his dogged determination and ability to get things done.  Everything Ed does contributes to the well-being of the community in a quiet, behind-the-scenes fashion. He does not seek recognition or the spotlight and his silent compassion inspires others to get more involved in the community,” the two nominators said.

Merrion is former director of Catholic Charities. He facilitated the “Self Sufficiency” workshops to teach homeless and at-risk-for homeless citizens the basics of banking, budgeting, local resources and landlord-tenants’ rights and relationships.   He has also been instrumental in developing the Interfaith Emergency Men’s Overnight Shelter, Keys to Hope Community Resource Center and, most recently, the CCH Food Rescue Initiative. The Food Rescue Initiative brings together Feeding America, Food Bank of Northern Indiana, CCH, five major local food retailers, Michigan City soup kitchens and food pantries as a major tool against food insecurity.

He is also working to make the former Sacred Heart Church in Michigan City into a permanent homeless shelter.

Merrion currently serves as board president of CCH and the Michigan City Housing Development. He is a board member of Homeward Bound and the La Porte County Park Foundation.  He is a former board member of the Boys and Girls Club of Michigan City, past President of the Michigan City Chamber of Commerce Board, and a graduate of Leadership La Porte County, from which he received the Bob Hiler Outstanding Alumni Award.

“Ed is very deserving of this honor, and we are proud to recognize community achievement that honors the legacy and spirit of Ned Kalb,” said Leadership La Porte County Executive Director Monica Komasinski.

Ned Kalb served as extension director for many years and was a catalyst for the formation of Leadership La Porte County.  He died in November 2011, and the award was created soon after to honor his memory.

“Ned served La Porte County in so many ways.  He saw needs and brought people and resources together to solve the challenges, not only locally, but across Indiana and the world,” said Mary Foell, extension educator of community development.

Previous award winners include: June Lenig (2019), Elaine Shurte (2018), Herb Higgin (2017), Cynthia Hedge (2016), Diana Werner (2015), George & Dory Morley (2014), Dr. James Dworkin (2013), and John Coulter (2012).


Nominations for the next award will be taken beginning in January 2021.  For more information contact either the Extension Office or Leadership La Porte County.

One Response to “Ed Merrion is honored with Ned E. Kalb community leadership award”

  1. Marge Skwiat Gloy

    Apr 02. 2020

    Congratulations Ed. such a well deserved award to a great humanitarian! Take care much happiness to you..

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