Jackie Walorski Parkway officially dedicated in Elkhart County

Published: Apr. 6, 2023 at 8:06 PM EDT
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ELKHART COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - A section of the new County Road 4 now bears the name of the late U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski.

Her family, friends, and colleagues attended the Jackie Walorski Parkway dedication ceremony on Thursday at the road that is located between County Roads 17 and 19 in the Elkhart East Industrial Parkway.

“[Jackie would] be grateful. She was always grateful to be in her position in D.C. And she was always grateful whenever there was an accolade or something put upon her. But she was more about getting things done than worrying about who got credit or big thank you’s,” remarked Walorski’s husband, Dean Swihart, on how his wife would react to such a road-naming honor.

Walorski, 58, and two of her staffers died in a head-on collision that also killed a woman driving the other vehicle last August.

“Sometimes, we are faced with tragedies that cannot be explained, but they can be redeemed by naming this portion of the road in Jackie’s honor. We are giving a proper tribute to a good and faithful public servant,” noted Griffin Nate, a former field representative for Walorski and the current district director for U.S. Rep. Rudy Yakym.

Elkhart County Commissioner Brad Rogers (R-2nd District) said he and fellow commissioners faced the issue of possibly having to create an “Old County Road 4″ to avoid confusion with the newer County Road 4 that runs past the Amazon warehouse. They solved not only a renaming issue but Rogers said they wanted to commemorate Walorski and her service to the community.

“We rename buildings and roadways after people who have done significant things for our community, and Jackie Walorski is that true consummate servant, that we wanted to honor her memory,” said Rogers.

State Rep. Tim Wesco (R-Osceola), who considered Walorski a mentor and inspiration, spoke to the late congresswoman’s tenacity.

“Jackie will always be remembered for her passionate service to this community and district. But it wasn’t just for the people. It was an extension of her passionate service to the Lord,” said Wesco.

Walorski’s heart for serving others was evident as an award-winning local TV reporter in South Bend; serving as Executive Director of the St. Joseph County Humane Society; her work in higher education development; serving with her husband, Dean, as Christian missionaries to Romania; followed by her public service at the state and congressional levels.

“Everything that Jackie did she did so God would be glorified, so that people would come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ,” said Swihart. “She had a servant’s heart.”

Elkhart County Commissioner Suzie Weirick (R-3rd District) stated that Walorski Parkway encompasses Jackie’s vast love for others.

“Every time you drive on or here on Walorski Parkway, think of her efforts – her love, her love of a country, her love of Elkhart County, and her love for all of us,” said Weirick.

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