Fort Wayne & NE Indiana News

The latest positive news written by residents and organizations in our community.

The 2017 Charles D Smith Award Recipient – Ernie Wiggins

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana awarded the Charles D. Smith Award to Ernie Wiggins during the 4th Annual BIG Celebration on Thursday, October 26, 2017 at the Winona Heritage Room. Established in 2015 and named in honor of its inaugural recipient, this special accolade recognizes an individual or individuals who demonstrate passionate volunteerism, strong community leadership and a lifelong commitment to serving others. The 2017 Charles D. Smith Award was proudly sponsored by 1st Source Bank and the Esther Pfleiderer Charitable Trust.

Born and raised in Warsaw, Indiana, Ernie Wiggins is devoted to his family and community. After graduating from Warsaw Community High School, he went on to earn degrees from both Purdue University and Ball State University. He married Debra in 1980 and they have two children, Christopher and Elizabeth, and three grandchildren.

He began his career in 1975 working as a staff accountant for Dahms & Yarian, but it was clear early on that Ernie was destined to do much more. He became a Certified Public Accountant in 1980 and started his own accounting firm – Ramsey & Wiggins, Inc. in 1984.

With a successful career in accounting established, Ernie turned his focus to helping others. He is a lifetime member of the Warsaw Rotary, helping to deliver meals to homebound seniors and volunteering to ring the bell for the Salvation Army. He has also served the community as a city councilman for more than a decade. In 1997, Ernie became Mayor of Warsaw and held this office until

2011. He currently serves on the Aviation Committee and Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation, and holds a County Council seat. In his time in city and county government, he won several awards for professionalism and dedication to his community. His most notable recognition was in 2008 when he received the Russell G. Lloyd Distinguished Service award, given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to local government for the betterment of their community.

His support of Big Brothers Big Sisters as a donor and advocate has helped the Agency grow into the premier mentoring organization that it is today. It is with great honor that Big Brothers Big Sisters celebrates the many achievements of Ernie Wiggins with the 2017 Charles D. Smith Award.

About the Award and Charles D. Smith

The Charles D. Smith Award was established in 2015 and recognizes an

individual or individuals who demonstrate passionate volunteerism, strong community leadership and a lifelong commitment to serving others.

For more than 45 years, Charlie created a living legacy of civic service as an educator, mentor, leader and community advocate. Charlie’s life served as testimony to the incredible impact volunteers can have every day. As an avid supporter of Big Brothers Big Sisters and the children in his community, Charlie contributed to a 100% increase of children served in Kosciusko County. His altruistic gifts and his strong leadership skills provided the agency with invaluable resources to make Big Brothers Big Sisters one of the top mentoring organizations in the Midwest. Most of all, his genuine, down-to-earth nature and his contagious smile brought new light to the countless organizations and individuals he helped, and his presence is truly missed.

Charlie’s enduring dedication to family, faith, and community has earned him a place among

Northeast Indiana’s most cherished citizens and set a high standard for volunteerism in our

community. It is with great honor for Big Brothers Big Sisters to celebrate his legacy and establish the Charles D. Smith Award in honor of this remarkable gentleman’s achievements and lifetime of service. Last year’s recipient was Tom Roy, UPI.