Thomas Farris of Delaware County and John Clarke of Fayette County were two of 10 older adults to receive this year’s Golden Hoosier Award from the State of Indiana in September. The Golden Hoosier Award acknowledges outstanding Indiana senior citizens for the impact they have made on the lives of others and their entire community. The award is the highest honor given to a senior in Indiana.
Thomas Farris, John Clarke, and Carolyn Anderson of Wayne County were named the runners-up of the 2023 LifeStream Golden Hoosiers Award in the spring. Both Thomas Farris and John Clarke went on to win the Golden Hoosier Award at the state level.
About Thomas Farris
Tom Farris has spent more than 50 years dedicating his life to non-profit organizations, his community, his church, Ball State University and area businesses. When it comes to art and communication, he’s always been a creative genius, to the benefit of East Central Indiana.
As president of the Ball State Alumni Association and long-time member of the Alumni Council, Tom led over 200,000 BSU alumni to support university advancement, strategic plans and programs. He helped raise over $200 million for the Ball State University Bold Campaign, the most ambitious campaign ever completed by the university. These funds were invested in scholarships, endowed chairs and other projects that have reinvigorated the school. His volunteerism with Ball State covers over 50 years.
Tom has had a great impact over his many years of serving on the board of LifeStream Services and Yorktown Properties. He helped provide oversight as chairman of the board, supporting its mission to improve quality of life and maintain independence for older adults and those with disabilities. His volunteering with LifeStream covers over 30 years. Tom has also been a leader with other East Central Indiana non-profits. In 2001, he was named Outstanding Board Member by the Indiana Association of Area Agencies on Aging.
Tom has been an idea developer for the business community and city/county officials for years, looking for innovative options that will improve Delaware County and East Central Indiana. His expertise is appreciated as he works to make organizations more effective in strategically achieving their missions.
At age 79, Tom is an award-winning artist, photographer, sculptor, writer and inventor. He’s an avid pickleball player and fitness enthusiast. He encourages people of all ages to develop and share their talents and passions to make our communities better places for all, including seniors
About John Clarke
For 47 years, John Clarke has served with the Bentonville Volunteer Fire Department, where he is now captain. He provides assistance with all emergency calls, including those needing unusual rescues, and he engages in complex firefighting work to prevent and extinguish fires. Throughout the years, he has served in a variety of roles within the department, including treasurer, secretary, vice-president, president, assistant chief and chief. John has repeatedly gone into burning buildings, rescued people trapped in cars and offered assistance when lifesaving measures were required.
Serving on the foundation’s grant committee of the Fayette Community Foundation, John helps make policy decisions, develop endowments and supervise the Foundation’s activities. By supporting donors and attending to community concerns, the Foundation supports the entire county. John is the first to arrive and the last to leave Foundation events, nearly always assisting in set up and clean up. Members recall John delivering dozens of bricks to the Foundation’s first outdoor winter event to hold down the holiday decor. He had the foresight to consider that the bricks would be needed and the willingness to give his time and energy to make it happen.
John joins a team of volunteers each month in a tailgate distribution of commodities from the Fayette County Food Council. His work with the local emergency planning committee, through the Fayette County Office of Emergency Management, involves the development of a local emergency hazard material response plan. John’s dedication demonstrates his sincere desire to help others by contributing to the safety of his community. He is constantly ready to step in and help out wherever he is needed. In all of his interactions, his kindness and love for his community are evident.
Thomas and John are two of many volunteers who make a difference across the state of Indiana and beyond. LifeStream relies on volunteers to assist in a variety of ways, including passing out meals at the café sites, making calls and visits to lonely older adults, crocheting or knitting gifts for clients, conducting administrative office tasks, and more. Those interested in volunteering with LifeStream Services can learn more by visiting lifestreaminc.org/support/volunteer or contacting Laura Bray, Volunteer Services Administrator, by calling 765-759-3372 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.