Dick Van Mele
One indication of how much effort an individual expends in community service, and the value of his contributions, is the recognition he receives from his peers for his efforts. Dick initially focused on what he could do as a lawyer in the legislative arena, and from 1962 until 1968, he worked with the Indiana Legislature to pass legislation to help the needy and, in particular, to improve the conditions of migrant workers. His contributions were recognized by two different Governors of Indiana, each of whom designated Dick as the volunteer of the year, first in 1974 and later in 1981. In 2002, Dick received the Florida Homeless Assistance Award as the person that has done most to benefit homeless people in that State. In 2006, Dick received an award from the National Association of Charitable Fund Raisers for raising over $3 million for the benefit of the Homeless Family Center in Vero Beach, Florida.
Dick helped start the Notre Dame Club of Greater Vero Beach and served as its President for four years. He was elected to the Board of the ND Alumni Association in 2002 and, in 2006, he received the Notre Dame Man of the Year Award from that Club.
Currently, Dick chairs a project to raise $4 million to add 300 seats to a local mission church and build a separate facility for religious, education and vocational classes and counseling. Dick is also President of the local St. Vincent de Paul society, President of a three-county St. Vincent de Paul Council, a fund raising co-chair for his parish, a member of the parish council, and a member of the Board of the Homeless Family Center in Vero Beach, Florida. (Dick received the Unsung Hero Award this year from the National Association of Charitable Fund Raisers for raising over $3 million for the benefit of the Homeless Family Center.)