2021 Maxine Rippe Award Recipient: Chaplain Leslie Haines
The Maxine Rippe Award recognizes an individual whose past and present service to the Allen County community exemplifies Christian compassion. Administered by The Lutheran Foundation, it is one of four monetary awards given annually through the Raymond Rosenberger Award Foundation. Scroll down to read more about selection criteria.
2021 Maxine Rippe Award Recipient: Chaplain Leslie Haines
Chaplain Leslie Haines, executive director, principal counselor and operating officer for Lutheran Military Veterans & Families Ministries (LMVFM), has been selected by The Lutheran Foundation as the recipient of the 2021 Maxine Rippe Award. The Maxine Rippe Award is given annually to recognize an individual whose past and present service to the Allen County community exemplifies Christian compassion by alleviating human suffering.
A military police officer by training, Haines gave 33 years of faithful service in the Army and was injured during one of her two deployments in Iraq. She founded LMVFM 13 years ago because, as a veteran returning from Iraq, someone demonstrated care to her. “If the chaplain hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t be here today,” said Haines. “He realized the wounds you couldn’t see were the worst wounds.”
Haines is the principal counselor and operating officer for LMVFM, an organization that deals primarily with veterans (including but not limited to WWII, Korean and Vietnam Vets and recently a few local police officers) and their families, assisting in all facets of their lives. This includes free counselling for the veteran and the veteran’s spouse, as well as family counselling when beneficial.
Haines’ commitment to LMVFM and the Lutheran community includes being ordained into word and sacrament ministry through the North American Lutheran Church (NALC) in 2016 and graduating as an LCMS credentialed Deaconess from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne in 2017.
In 2011, Haines began LMVFM’s Paws and Effect Ministry Program that trains British Cream retrievers as therapy dogs that help heal soldiers’ mental and physical injuries. Many of the therapy dogs are trained specifically to help with psychological/emotional struggles that go along with PTSD. The dogs can detect when a panic attack is happening and help stop it. Other therapy dogs are trained to help wounded veterans’ physical needs including mobility support and daily tasks.
Some initiatives that Haines has coordinated over the years:
- Coordinated free dental care for needy veterans who lack the means to pay for it.
- Arranged for free legal services for those unable to pay.
- When a military family needed a vacation but couldn’t afford it, she coordinated a free timeshare offered by a donor to the ministry.
- Regularly helps veterans and their spouses apply for and work their way through the
- complex process of obtaining government benefits including securing survivor benefits for a warrior’s widow.
- Received four brand new bicycles as a donation for two boys and two girls in the age range of 4-10 years. These veteran families with small children greatly appreciated receiving their first bicycle.
- Arranged for the repair of a donated semi-functioning vehicle and offered it to a veteran who had walked to work every day.
- Coordinated free repairs to a veteran’s costly plumbing issue.
- Provides weapons safety training for spouses left at home while their spouse is on active duty.
“No call, no visit, no question is inconvenient for Chaplain Haines,” said her co-workers in their submitted application. “Leslie is always eager and willing to help. She strives to find creative ways to solve unique and uncommon situations. In her counseling, Leslie draws from a variety of resources to help our veterans who so desperately want to function in civilian life.”
For Leslie Haines, the work is who she is, what she’s meant to do. “When you do what God asks you to do,” she said, “you receive his blessings.”
History of the Maxine Rippe Award
A longtime member of St. Peter’s Catholic Church and a Kunkle Valve employee, Mr. Rosenberger lived frugally and invested nearly all of his income. At his passing, his estate established a foundation that funds four individual service awards, each granted by a different local northeastern Indiana organization. The Rosenberger Award Foundation funds The Lutheran Foundation’s Maxine Rippe Award, along with annual awards given by Parkview Hospital, St. Joseph Community Health Foundation, and the United Way of Allen County. Each of the four awards recognizes an individual who has demonstrated outstanding community service on behalf of a local charitable organization.
This award was named in memory of Maxine Rippe to honor those who are dedicated to serving their community and alleviating human suffering. Maxine was a student at the Lutheran School of Nursing when she died of polio in 1940. She was a graduate of South Side High School and a member of the National Honor Society. A member of Trinity English Lutheran Church, Maxine sang in the choir at the church, was a past queen of Fort Wayne Bethel of Job’s Daughters, and served several local civic organizations. The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Roy Rippe, she was engaged to Dr. Lad Zeman of Chicago. Maxine was just six months shy of graduating and a few months from becoming a bride when she passed away at the age of 20 at Riley Hospital in Indianapolis.
Qualified Maxine Rippe Award nominees have demonstrated exceptional service—either as a volunteer or as an employee—to a local Allen County charitable organization that alleviates human suffering, promotes wellness, or enhances quality of life for those suffering from illness or injury. In keeping with the goals of the Rosenberger Award Foundation, the annual award typically exceeds $10,000 and is meant to encourage lifelong community involvement. The recognized recipient is selected from the submitted nominees to receive the cash award. Qualified nominees:
- Have performed diligent and faithful service on behalf of a tax-exempt, charitable Allen County organization that works to alleviate human suffering, enhance the quality of life of persons afflicted with illness or injury, or promote wellness through the prevention of illness, disease or injury.
- Have displayed extraordinary devotion to furthering the organization’s objectives.
- Have encouraged others to serve the organization and further its objectives.
- Have served or currently serves the organization either as an employee or a volunteer.
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