La PORTE — For 20 years, Maria Fruth has been working either behind the scenes or as a board member for Healthy Communities of La Porte County.
As President/CEO of the Healthcare Foundation, Fruth will no longer be serving on the board of directors for Healthy Communities, but Executive Director Jennifer Olson stated her presence would be missed as Fruth helped shape not only Healthy Communities, but Olson herself.
"I cannot say enough how much I've appreciated your advice and your wisdom from over the years," Olson told Fruth as she presented the long-time board member an award recognizing her 20 years of work for Healthy Communities.
"You've really helped me grow as a leader and I just appreciate everything," Olson added.
Begun in 1996 in Fruth's office, Healthy Communities grew into the 501c3 it is today thanks to the help of Fruth, who didn't join the board officially until 2001, but helped secure early funding and assisted from behind the scenes before then. Olson said over the years many things change, but Fruth's resolve of improving resident's health and long-term life in the community, the same goal of Healthy Communities, never wavered.
"Her leadership and dedication to our mission allowed for many success in nutrition, obesity, car-seat safety and literacy just to name a few, along with her support of our current programs," Olson said.
Fruth said it had been a great experience serving as a board member for Healthy Communities, which was an opportunity for her to further get into the community and bring together area leaders to join in her mission of bettering health.
"I wish and hope Healthy Communities continues to identify needs in the community and bring the stakeholders around the table who can assist," Fruth said. "I wish them the best and a lot of growth. Our community is going through a lot of exciting times right now and it would be fantastic to see a very successful healthy community of La Porte."