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Journal & Courier on 12/28/2021 by Noe Pdilla
LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Just after lunch on Dec. 22, Joe Hooker walked into the Circuit Court at the Tippecanoe County Court and was greeted by friends and his former colleagues.
Hooker wasn’t sure why everybody had gathered.
Perhaps they were there to convince him to return to his old position as a Tippecanoe County probation officer.
To his surprise, Hooker was being awarded one of Indiana’s highest honors, the Circle of Corydon award, which was presented by John Burgett, with the Tippecanoe County Bar Association.
“Joe served as a distinguished county probation officer since Jan. 3, 1978, until his retirement on March 31 of this year. During which time his caseload includes moderate to high-risk offenders. During those years he worked with David Kuebler, and together they established the Tippecanoe County Community Corrections Program, which Joe then served three terms as the chairman of the advisory board,” said Burgett.
Other accomplishments listed in the speech included:
- Corrections Manager of the Year in 1993 by the Indiana Correction Association
- Order of Augustus honor, which recognizes a recipient whose commitment and dedication exemplify the ideals and philosophy of John Augustus, known as the nationwide founder of probation
- Chief Probation Officer in Tippecanoe County for 11 years
- Three terms as the District Six representative for the Probation Officer Advisory Board, including two terms as the chairman
- Three years on the Indiana State Legislative Study Committee on Probation
- A member of POPAI since 1987, serving on the POPAI board.
The Circle of Corydon was established in 2017 by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, and it honors Hoosiers who have made remarkable contributions to the betterment of Indiana and its people, demonstrating through life and service qualities exemplified by the state’s greatest citizens.
Burgett also shared with Hooker a letter that Indiana Sen. Ron Alting had written to celebrate the occasion.
“I want to send you a very special note of congratulations regarding your recently received Circle of Corydon award. This award highlights your dedication to Tippecanoe County and finding meaningful ways to serve the state of Indiana. Your active involvement in the Indiana Study committee on probation, probation officer’s professional association of Indiana for many years is a true reflection of your hard work. It’s a great pleasure that I commend you for your outstanding performances as a county probation officer for 43 years. I’m proud to have individuals like you working so diligently for the County, State and community. Your dedication is greatly appreciated does not go unnoticed,” wrote Alting to Hooker.