Impress Jewelry Creations has teamed up with News Talk 95.3 MNC to recognize and reward our local heroes. These heroes included police, first responders, medical workers, military, and teachers. 

Hometown Heroes will be awarded a white gold Hometown Heroes pin, exclusively designed by our team at Impress with our heroes in mind. The service pin features the rising sun from the Indiana state seal and the 19 stars from our state flag symbolizing the hope, commitment, and service dedicated to making our community a better place to live. They will also receive a gift bag that includes an Impress jewelry cleaning kit!

See our latest recipients below, or click here to see everyone who has been awarded.


Download the IJC Podcast to hear a little more about it.

Dr. Lisa Booth

Dr. Lisa Booth and her nurses are amazing! They saw clients during the whole peak and scariness of the pandemic. They always take time to listen to your problems and are first in line to make you feel better! They zoom met or called patients for appointments if they were high risk, and not able to come in. Dr. Booth & her nurses make sure patients needs are always taken care of. They make you feel safe and go above and beyond the call of a duty. I have seen them stay late and arrive early just to meet patients scheduling needs. I am high risk and was pregnant with twins and they made sure I was healthy. They called and checked on me and watched my blood pressure & growth of the babies very closely! I delivered two healthy baby boys during a pandemic with my longest, best pregnancy due to their care and support! They are very loving individuals and it shows in the compassion they provide to their patients! True hero’s in my book!!

Shelby Coppens is a great teacher and her students love her.

Rachel Clements serves her Community day in and day out as a Dental Assistant at Afdent Dental in Mishawaka. She has been tirelessly working through the COVID-19 Pandemic making sure her Patients receive the care they need. When she is not working, Rachel is a devoted wife and Mother to her 4 children and 1 year Grandchild. Selflessness and Commitment to others is what impresses onto our Community and the reasons Rachel is my Hero.

Tammy Ludwig is a hardworking single mother of a teenage boy. If that's not hard enough she works for the St Joseph County 911 dispatch center. Working long hours dealing with a large amount of calls. Shes been a dispatcher for fifteen plus years.

Serving our community is a South Bend Police Department, Kayla Miller is one of the sergeants in the Major Crimes unit in charge of shootings as well as director of Michiana Crime Stoppers and a full-time mother she does so much to help our community and I would really love to see her recognized she is a true hero to me and all

This picture is Dr. Rebecca Rockers in the “battle gear” she has worn since the beginning of the pandemic. She has worked hour upon hour treating and testing patients, risking her own health as so many other first responders have done. Dr. Rockers commitment to her patients has always come first. I have always been impressed with how intently she listens and her sympathetic nature. Even when she is exhausted, she takes the time to post helpful information on Facebook which keeps those of us in the high-risk category safe. Her positive, diligent, and dedicated nature makes a huge difference in the lives of so many people! And, on top of that she rescues greyhounds!

Nicole Waldron has touched so many lives around St. Joseph County. She has put her passion of photography on hold to pursue and help others standing on the front line as a travel nurse and helping those who need it most right now. Even with putting her life before others and countless hour, she always seems to find a way to put a smile on her face. She is beautiful inside and out.

Shad Rithruff is a front-line worker working as a local fire fighter. He has given up free time to pick up extra shifts when needed before and during these tough times. When he’s not working at the station he is working at his parents family business and helps out when and where he can.

Working as unit assistant at Beacon ICU which as included working on Covid unit. Abigail Hooton has worked 50+ hour weeks to help out on the floor all while going to college.

Kenny Holmes is a 12 year, medically retired Army veteran who runs two non-profits supporting veterans and active duty military, one in Texas and the other right here in Elkhart! He is a family man and is constantly helping those in need!

Kathleen Matuszak started serving our community almost 30 years ago as her Senior Class President in 1983 at Washington High School and as a 4-leader for Warren Township. She then went to college and served as a Police Officer at Indiana University in Bloomington. She came home to South Bend and served as a Police Officer and Detective with the St. Joseph County Police Department, specializing in crimes against children. She went on to receive 2 master’s degrees and has served our community in running a foster care agency and working in mental health for more than 20 years serving children in adults struggling with mental health issues. She now serves the living and the dead at St. Joseph Funeral Home and Cemetery as their General Manager. She is also passionate about educating our community and is the host of Rest in Peace (a weekly radio program about the death care industry and community education). But the most important job she has ever done is being my mom.

My husband Dominic Zultanski is my hero for several different reasons but the biggest reason is because after serving his community as a South Bend Police officer he retired, which was a great relief for me, however this year my husband decided to return to the South Bend Police Department as a patrol officer. My husband said the only way to help the community is to get involved. Dominic is a man who would do anything for anyone. Dominic is also the President of Mishawaka East End Baseball/Softball. The park consumes our lives for half the year but he is always looking for ways to make the park better for our families. Dominic will always be my hero and he deserves to be recognized for everything he has done and will continue to do.

Ist Sargent James D Messer has been serving in the US Army since 9/11. 2 Tours in Iraq, 2 tours in Afghanistan, and awarded the Purple Heart for wounds sustained in battle. and he is my Son.

Jason Baxter is my hero because he is an amazing person. He is a volunteer firefighter when he’s not working the railroad or being an amazing father. He recently was driving down the road and seen a man lying on the side of the road. He stopped to check on him and it turns out he was injured and try to harm himself. Jason help keep the man safe until medics and police arrived on scene. He actually became a firefighter a few years ago after he seen a ladies barn on fire while he was driving home. He stopped and helped her save her animals. I think he is someone that people could look up to and a true hero.

Jess Fisher is a dedicated police officer in New Carlisle. On August 15th, he responded to a burning vehicle that had crashed. He was injured while rescuing the driver from the vehicle. Jess does not know that I am nominating him for this recognition.

La Porte County Sheriff John T Boyd is one of the best sheriff's La Porte County had in a while, besides Kenneth Layton, John seems to me that he gets things done.

Jon Wohlford, my son, is my hero. He was in the 82nd airborne and after a bad fall was asked to leave the army. He came back and jumped into nursing school. He is going to school full time, working at a hospital, and helping raise 6 kids. In his free time, he does photography and offers free sessions for foster families.

In the summer of 2009 Ryan E. Schrader received a sketch to build a device to locate and detonate a certain type of improvised explosive device. The Taliban had used these hidden IEDs to harass, injure, and kill US troops in eastern Afghanistan. Ryan, along with Dan Greene Sr. engineered the sketch to a working model and with his own money built two of these defeating devices. Ryan then collaborated with Government officials and US Air Force to ship both of these devices to his son serving in Afghanistan. Days after arrival, one device was installed on a mine seeking vehicle. It's first mission out, the driver deployed Ryan's device and inadvertently found and detonated an IED exactly as intended. Direct hits from IED's of similar size cause complete destruction of the mine seeking vehicle and usually kill or injure the driver. Ryan is my hero because although he's too old to serve, and half a planet away, Ryan seized an opportunity to fight with us and saved the life and limbs of at least one US soldier.

Sara Hoover works hard & extra hours to be the best she can be & teacher to her students.

Serenity Whiting is an amazing wife, mother, friend, nurse. She works in the ER and is so kind to her patients. She also does home care and makes her patients like family. Often checking on them on her off-hours. She would give you the shirt off her back. Hope you have the honor of meeting her one day.

Beth Mondschein, NP, but in her hometown, she is best known as Beth Archer

Beth is MY hero for many reasons. First and foremost, she is a natural-born caregiver and a purely altruistic soul. Although she may not always see it, she wears a superhero cape proudly. Beth has held many hats in the community, spending many years as a hospice and critical care nurse before going back to school to obtain her Master of Science in Nursing right here at IUSB. She has also left a mark as a professor, and looks to resume educating nursing students in the future. Beth has proceeded to leave an indelible mark on EACH and EVERY patient fortunate to be under her care. After her time as a Family Nurse Practitioner in St. Joseph, MI, she found her true calling at Michiana Hematology Oncology, PC. Under Dr. Bilal Ansari (, Beth has embraced this new challenge and has brought her 25+ years of outstanding healthcare experience to continue to provide her patients the most caring, clinical, and educational care one can ask for. When a patient complete's their care, she often receives a card from them. Each and every time, these kind words demonstrate the impact Beth has on the lives and well-being of others. This is how she lives outside the workplace as well. Anyone with the privilege of knowing her personally can attest to the fact that if you ever need advice, someone to talk to, or simply a hug, she does it all. Oh and not to mention all of this while raising 2 upstanding gentlemen (the youngest of which is a member of the Class of 2020). Beth puts 110% into EVERYTHING she does. In preparation for her son's graduation, she wanted to clean up the yard 'a bit'. This notion turned into a complete transformation of the entire property (in the span of 3 weekends no less)! Beth is truly an amazing person, my hero, and anyone who is blessed to meet her will quickly know why!

Jody Sommer is a Daycare Provider. Some of the children she cares for have parents that are essential workers, health care providers and first responders. Throughout the pandemic, Jody has kept her Home Daycare open, so that these front line heroes can go to work. That makes her a Hero in my book.

Pam Watson works at Martin's Supermarkets. She has been on the front lines since day one. She treats the customers as family. She is a very hard worker and does a fantastic job every day she works.

David Simanton, best big brother and contributor to the Niles Community. Tool and Dye maker for over 52 years in Michiana area. Played Trap Drums in local Church Bands and taught youth to perform. Private Pilot for many years taking friends and family on many flights over the lakes of Michiana. Now taking on Stage 3 Cancer without complaint. My Hero!

My grandson Sametreius Gipson is only 11 years old and he collects donations and assembles cancer comfort bags and delivers them to local cancer patients. He includes things like socks, tissues, hand sanitizer, chapstick, drinks and snacks, reading books, and puzzle books. Bags will differ based on donations. He delivers them and takes a few minutes to visit and is a great listener.  Which is important when a person is going through their cancer journey. He started his project a year ago when he was 10 and has delivered around 100 bags.

Amy Troyer has two wonderful sons.  She was a kindergarten teacher for over 20 years at SBSC.  While raising our two sons she used all her child development and whole-brain learning tricks.  It was amazing to see Ace and Jack's brainpower expand and grow.  She is my hero because she directly contributed to Ace and Jack's intelligence.  They are both in High Ability programming at Mishawaka High School and both have G.P.A.'s hovering around 4.4.  It is a prime example of how a mind can grow when it is groomed correctly with rich learning opportunities.  It has been amazing to watch the impact Amy has had in giving our Ace and Jack, and hundreds of students in her kindergarten class an authentic and highly effective teaching and learning experience.  She is truly a gift to all children she interacts with. A few years ago Amy decided she could have more of an impact on students, teaching, and learning by going into administration.  She is currently the Principal of Swanson Elementary.  So as the Principal, she now gets to be the hero of a whole building, not just a single classroom.  She pours her heart and soul into affecting and improving lives and learning.  She works countless hours.  Works until she can't stay awake.  Wakes up at crazy early times and starts working again, because she can't sleep and she wants the Scottie Scholars to have the best school experience ever.  Amy has had an impact on thousands of young lives, she is a true Hero.  I am thankful and fortunate, that my two sons could have this Hero as their Mom!!  Thank you Mrs. Troyer from all of your former Kindergarten students, all of your Scottie Scholars, and your 2 sons.