By: Giavonni Nickson
Chuck Hughes, the executive director of the Gary Chamber of Commerce has been recognized by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb for a lifetime of work that has made a positive impact on the Gary community.
Hughes was presented the Reverend Charles Williams Award by the Republican governor during the annual Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.
Charles Williams, for whom the award was named, was the longtime president of the Indiana Black Expo. The award, established in his memory in 2004, recognizes achievements that have stood the test of time and left a lasting legacy.
Hughes has led the Gary Chamber of Commerce since 2007, after serving 34 years as a City of Gary fire official and with four terms of service on the Gary City Council.
Hughes also works to attract new business to Gary, and reshape the city’s image, with the creation of World Civility Day.
According to Hughes, the concept of observing World Civility Day in the Region developed four years ago when the different committees in the chamber and its public policy committee were looking for new initiatives.
“I suggested we do a civility campaign and stress that we treat each other the way that they want to be treated,” said Hughes. “The concept of community civility to be a lifestyle, not just an annual event.”
This year young people from various school districts in Northwest Indiana gathered to engage with individuals and groups from other states and countries in the 4th annual World Civility Day celebration.
The World Civility Day observance, a daylong event with workshops at the Indiana Welcome Center, is an initiative to encourage individuals to treat others with dignity and respect in all their interactions. The concept of community civility is that it is to be a lifestyle, not just an annual event.
The Gary Chamber of Commerce executive director said the event is like no other in Northwest Indiana. Dr. Clyde Rivers, founder and president of iChange Nations and honorary ambassador to the Republic of Burundi, traveled across the globe to conduct award presentations on civility. Each year this event helps to catapult the City of Gary into the spotlight and attract visitors through local and global community engagement.
During the Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration, Governor Holcomb acknowledged the outstanding achievements of African Americans throughout Indiana, especially those, like Hughes, who have made significant contributions to increasing collaboration and understanding between all Hoosiers.
Hughes said, “I would like to thank Governor Holcomb and Indiana Black Expo for an award that I will cherish forever.”
After accepting the award in Indianapolis, Hughes returned to make preparations for the August Gary Chamber of Commerce luncheon to host special guest Matthew Prine, the new President of Indiana American Water Company, the nation’s largest publicly traded water and wastewater utility company.
Giavonni is a passionate freelance writer native of Gary IN. She covers business, politics, and community schools for the Chicago/Gary Crusader.