After 20 years of organizing candidates’ nights for the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, Sister Charles Van Hoy is stepping down.
But the Vigo County Democratic Party wanted to provide her with an award for all of her service.
On Thursday, Oct. 30, Vigo County Democratic Party Chairperson Joe Etling presented Sister Charles with the Robert H. Lawson Service Award.
Sister Charles received the award at the 33rd annual Harry S. Truman Dinner, which took place at the Holiday Inn of Terre Haute.
Etling – who has served as Vigo County Democratic Party Chairperson for 18 years – said Sister Charles is the first sister to receive the award.
“She’s a real gem,” Etling said. “We felt it was appropriate to let the sisters know she was going to be awarded.”
The award is named after the now deceased Robert Lawson, who worked in various capacities within the State of Indiana. He also served as secretary/treasurer for the Harry S. Truman Club and was from Vigo County.
“The award is given to people who volunteer to not only advance the interest of the Democratic party throughout this community, but to advance the civic responsibility throughout the area,” Etling said. “Those are the things that Sister Charles has exemplified.
“She’s gone above and beyond with regard to her involvement with the civic and political process in Vigo County.”
Etling said he has known Sister Charles for several years.
“My mother, my aunt and all of my sisters are graduates of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College,” Etling said.
Etling added the candidates’ nights Sister Charles has coordinated have always been well done.
“She is known for her fairness and treating all equally, regardless of political affiliation,” said Sister Ann Casper, director of Mission Advancement for the Sisters of Providence. “She lets the candidates speak in the order they are listed on the ballot and allows three minutes to each.”
“The candidate night has always been a special night for the candidates. I know for Democrats. I can speak for them,” Etling said. “I think that they have always valued the opportunity to speak directly to the sisters, and their neighbors in the surrounding area. It’s a very worthwhile event. It harkens back to some old-school campaigning, getting to speak directly to the voters.”
Sister Charles was unable to attend the event. However, Sister Adele Beacham accepted the award in her place.