The Michigan City Human Rights Commission has selected Melvin Meriweather, Jr. as the 2024 Humanitarian of the Year.

Meriweather was nominated by Paul and Bunny Dimke, stating, “We nominated Melvin for the Humanitarian of the Year because he is a prime example of a person who is fully committed to the well-being and betterment of all the people in his community.”

Meriweather graduated from Elston High School in 1957, and was named Mr. Indiana in 1966 (a bodybuilding recognition). He has been married to his wife, Juliet, for more than 65 years, and has three children, Kristel, Doug, and Dana. He was an active member of the North Central Community Action Agency for 56 years, beginning with the organization in 1961. Meriweather has served two terms on the Michigan City Area Schools Board of Trustees and continues to serve as a Deacon for New Hope Missionary Baptist Church.

He retired from Midwest Steel, where he was the only minority millwright for 25 years.

“I come from a large family – my parents had nine children. We always got things from service organizations for Christmas and Thanksgiving,” Meriweather said, adding that this inspired him to give back to his community as an adult.

Meriweather will be presented with the Humanitarian of the Year Award during a reception on Thursday, June 13 from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm at Kruger Memorial Hall, 801 Liberty Trail.

This is the first time the Humanitarian of the Year Award will be presented by the Michigan City Human Rights Commission since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re excited to bring this award back this year to continue recognizing individuals who are making a positive impact in Michigan City,” said Jessica O’Brien, chair of the Michigan City Human Rights Commission.

Also recognized at the event will be Mike Kilbourne, PATH Coordinator with Swanson Center, and Jocelyn Colburn, Social Worker with the Michigan City Police Department. Kilbourne and Colburn will receive the Unsung Hero Award for their work in the community.

During the reception, the Michigan City Human Rights Commission will also present two $1,000 scholarships to graduating seniors in Michigan City – Anneliese Vasquez and Deia Mark.

Tickets to the event are $25 each, and are available at City Hall, or by contacting a member of the Michigan City Human Rights Commission: Albertine Allen, Sojourner Atwater, Derald Borton, Rev. Dennis Carroll, Police Chief Marty Corley, Bunny Dimke, Diana Gore, Jaime Llorens, Jessica O’Brien, Mary Ellen Quinn, or Tyra Robinson-Walker.

Sponsors of the Michigan City Human Rights Commission Annual Reception are Friedman & Associates, Dr. Vidya Kora, and State Rep. Pat Boy, as well as La Porte County Councilman Randy Novak, La Porte County Treasurer Joie Winski, and Mike Kellems. Special thanks to supporters The Beacher, Herald-Dispatch, WIMS, WEFM, and Reprographic Arts.