(La Porte, IN) - "God love her-- there's a special place in heaven for somebody like Jane Bernard." County Commissioner Rich Mrozinski waxed theological praising former animal shelter Jane Bernard. Perhaps "Saint Bernard" is a glib title to bestow on her, but to many people it's appropriate.
In honor of the woman who transformed it, La Porte's animal shelter was named after her Thursday. The shelter on West State Road 2 is now the Jane Bernard Animal Adoption Center. A crowd gathered there Thursday afternoon for a ceremony in which a new sign was unveiled.
After taking over a dilapidated facility, Bernard oversaw its tripling in size, as well as the addition of a treatment center. Now, it’s a model shelter.
County Commissioner Rich Mrozinski spearheaded the effort to rename the facility. "Compared to what this place was when I got on the advisory board in '07 to now," he said, "it's state-of-the-art, and it's all a reflection of Jane's leadership." He said her recent departure is bittersweet. "On the one hand I'm really sad that she doesn't work here anymore, but on the other hand I'm so glad for her that she can finally get out and enjoy life."
Bernard retired in February. In 31 years of running the shelter, she cared for animals ranging from stray cats and dogs to an abandoned tortoise.
Thursday she was dealing with a different kind of critter. "My stomach is in butterflies," she said right after the unveiling. "It's just absolutely amazing to look up and see your name on a sign. I'm truly honored."
Bernard says she’ll continue to volunteer at the shelter. Otherwise, she hopes to enjoy life by playing more pickleball.