Waynedale News owner, PFW lecturer receive Allen County community service award

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Alex Cornwell and Mariesa Rang (foreground) on Monday, Sept. 30, 2019, were awarded the 2019 Linda & Jerry Vandeveer Impact Award by the Allen County Board of Commissioners. Pictured along with the honorees are (left to right) Commissioners Nelson Peters, Richard Beck and Therese Brown, Jerry Vandeveer, and his son, Gerald.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The owner and publisher of the Waynedale News and a lecturer in speech-language pathology at Purdue Fort Wayne have been honored with a community service award.

The Allen County commissioners on Monday awarded Alex Cornwell and Mariesa Rang the Linda and Jerry Vandeveer Impact Award during a ceremony. The award was established in 2016 and is presented annually to a county resident who serves the community outside of their profession.

Cornwell, the owner and publisher of the Waynedale News, created the Waynedale visitor’s guide, and founded the Waynedale Business Chamber and the Waynedale Improvement Team. He also helped launch the Southwest Honey Company, an organization that works to bring pollinator education and awareness to children and adults in the community.

“Alex’s commitment, his perseverance and his willingness to serve over the last 10 years have created lasting change and positive momentum that have helped move the Waynedale community forward,” said Megan Ryan, who nominated Cornwell for the award.

Rang has worked to improve the quality of communication between emergency services and those with severe communication disabilities. The program she started in 2012 was the first of its kind in the nation, and nearly 2,000 first responders from 29 Indiana departments have been trained over the past 3 years.

“As a person with a physical disability herself, Mariesa realized that individuals who have disabilities are four to 10 times more likely to be victims of crime,” said Sharon Mankey, who nominated Rang.

Cornwell and Rang received personal plaques and their names were included on a permanent plaque that is kept in the commissioners’ office. Both also received $250 from Fire-Police City-County Federal Credit Union.

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