Don Wolf earns Sachem Award

The Hoosier state's highest honor goes to the former Do it Best exec during a ceremony in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Wolf, left, with Gov. Pence.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence presented the Sachem Award to Don Wolf, the longtime president and CEO of Do it Best Corp., at an event in Fort Wayne last week.

As Indiana’s highest honor, the Sachem Award is presented to only one resident of the State of Indiana each year and it recognizes its recipient for displaying an exemplary, sustained combination of virtue, moral example, business success and career achievement. Pence presented the award to Wolf in front of 300-plus family, friends and community leaders at a ceremony at the Grand Wayne Center in downtown Fort Wayne. 

“Don exemplifies everything the Sachem Award stands for and, just as importantly, what it means to be a Hoosier,” Pence said. ““It is more than his notable achievements in business that make Don Wolf worthy of Indiana’s highest honor – it is his character, his selflessness, his generous nature and his unwavering commitment to serving his neighbor. He lives the traits that we Hoosiers hold dear, and he personifies the principles of servant leadership.” 

Wolf served as president and CEO of Do it Best Corp. for 25 years and is one of Indiana’s most renowned and accomplished philanthropists and community supporters of numerous non-profit and charity organizations, including the founding of Big Brothers Big Sisters and Study Connection in Fort Wayne. Other dignitaries at the event included Do it Best Corp. President Emeritus Mike McClelland and current President and CEO Bob Taylor.

“It is a humbling experience to be recognized by the governor with this award and to be joined by so many in doing so today,” added Wolf. “I worked to set an example for others in both my professional and personal life, and it is a wonderful feeling to see that those efforts have a lasting impact on our community and our state.”

The governor personally selects the Sachem Award recipient each year. The award traces its origins to 1970, when then-governor Edgar D. Whitcomb created the “Confederacy of the Sachem,” in 1970, an organization comprised of a group of business, industry, publishing, banking and legal leaders, who served as state hosts, welcoming visitors and promoting the state’s culture and economy.

The Sachem project dissolved in 1989, but was revived in 2005 by Governor Mitch Daniels, who recreated the Sachem to underscore the importance of moral example; achievement alone without exemplary virtue does not qualify a person for the award. 

Previous recipients include legendary basketball coach John Wooden; Ian M. Rolland, former chairman and CEO of Lincoln National Corp.; Bill Cook, leader, innovator and philanthropist; and Carl Erskine, former Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers baseball player.


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