Sunday, April 18 2010
Confusion reigned for Jack and Sue Schriber in the moments before they accepted the Rotary Club of Evansville's 2009 Rotary Civic Award on Tuesday.
Sue Schriber showed up at the Coliseum, unbeknownst to her husband, and ducked behind a door out of his line of sight. Tipped off that he would win the prestigious annual award, she was poised to make an entrance to help him celebrate when his name was called.
When the Schribers' names, plural, were called, Sue Schriber wasn't sure what she'd heard.
"(Rotary member) Mark Miller had me behind this door," she recalled afterward with a laugh. "Mark came over and said to me, 'Did you hear all of that, Sue?'"
Jack Schriber recalls being locked in on Niel Ellerbrook, Vectren Corp. chief executive officer, convinced that Ellerbrook's name would be the one called.
"His wife wasn't here, but the rest of his family was, and I felt, 'Well, she's probably said she couldn't be there, and she's hiding out there with the people and she's going to come in and surprise him,'" Jack Schriber said.
Even when Rotary member Donna Leader came to his seat as everyone watched to see who would be tapped, Schriber still wasn't sure exactly what was going on.
"When Donna said, 'Congratulations, Jack,' I looked behind me because there was another Jack there," he said, chuckling.
Once it sunk in to the Schribers that they had won the award together, the Rotary Club's Tuesday luncheon became a full-scale celebration of their contributions to the local arts community.
"Who could better light up the stage as Santa Claus in the Peppermint Pops concerts than Jack Schriber?"
Rotary Past President Matt Volkman told the luncheon, "Who could better guide high school students through the process of presenting professional summer musicals than Sue Schriber? The answer to both questions is 'nobody.'
"Jack and Sue have placed their imprint on practically every worthy arts endeavor in the community, whether the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, Evansville Civic Theatre, Reitz Home Murder Mysteries or the Evansville Museum."
The Rotary Civic Award publicly recognizes winners for their civic, charitable, humanitarian and cultural services to Evansville and its residents.
Jack Schriber, a teacher of public speaking at the University of Southern Indiana, retired three years ago as the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp.'s supervisor of fine arts. He later returned to EVSC as a community outreach consultant.
Sue Schriber is Oak Hill Middle School's counselor to students. She taught vocal music from 1973 until 2000 at Columbia Elementary School, then at Oak Hill Middle School. She is the drama director for the Public Education Foundation and EVSC's annual summer musical project, where she is directing her 17th production, Irving Berlin's "White Christmas."
The Schribers called the Rotary award a high honor.
"The real honor is looking at the list of people who won it in the past," Jack Schriber said of the annual Civic Award, first given to E. Mead Johnson Sr. in 1927.
Sue Schriber said accepting the award with her husband made it especially sweet.
"To be able to serve the community in any way that we can, and do it having a good time with each other, and then to be recognized for it, is just wonderful," she said.