Retired teacher receives state service award

Daily Reporter staff reports


Cindy Hiott, a member of the Hancock County Retired Teachers Association and the Indiana Retired Teachers Association, has been selected as the recipient of an Outstanding Community Service Award and named a 2015 Cabot Community Celebrity.

The award, which honors the achievements and contributions of volunteers from every part of the nation, was announced by AARP and the National Retired Teachers Association. The award is sponsored by the owners of Cabot Creamery Cooperative.

Hiott was selected for her long-standing commitment to community service with local and state retired teachers’ associations. After working in the classroom for nearly 30 years, Hiott continues to serve her community through the associations. She was the IRTA Community Service Chairman for 10 years; she helped to generate more than 1 million service hours for each of those years.

“I was surprised and honored to be selected as a winner,” Hiott said. “Community service is just part of who I am, and I didn’t expect this recognition. I’m only one person among a whole team of retired teachers in Indiana who make our community service work possible. It is only through all Indiana retired teachers that we receive recognition. I thank all of them for their work and dedication.”

During her tenure as service chair, the state association won multiple national awards, including the 2013 State Excellence Award. Hiott also played an important leadership role with the Hancock County With Our Youth! Local Excellence Award from the National Retired Teachers Association.

That award recognized retired educators who made it their mission to help those in need in their local communities while also helping children in families beyond their borders. In collaboration with a local shelter and another nonprofit, World Mission, retired educators in Hancock County took on a shoe collection effort. Shoes were collected and donated to a local thrift store and World Mission. Eventually, more than 1,000 pairs of shoes were donated. It was a winning proposition for local families and families in Africa who received shoes, in some cases for the first time in their lives.

The award includes an all-expense paid eight day cruise for Hiott and her husband, Walt, on Celebrity Cruise Line’s Reflection. They will join the other new community celebrities from throughout the nation for an eastern Caribbean cruise.