Since arriving in Fort Wayne nearly 30 years ago, Jan Sarratore has lived an active Jewish life with her family. In fact, her husband, Steve, said they bought a house near the Temple so distance would never be a reason to say “no.” Jan has been involved in just about every activity at Achduth Vesholom for as long as she’s been a Hoosier – and she shows no signs of slowing down.
Jan was honored for her service to the congregation in June at the Temple’s Annual Meeting with the William Brosler Award for Outstanding Volunteerism. A few days later, she also was recognized by the Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne with the Goldie DuBow Award for her many volunteer contributions.
“I don’t do any of the things I do for recognition,” she said. “I enjoy every organization I work with and hope that I’m contributing positively to their mission in some small way. I’ve learned so much from each one and have met so many interesting people.”
A member of the Temple board and chair of the Adult Education Committee, Jan also creates the educational items for Thoughtful Thursdays and works regularly with the Temple Head Start parents and staff. She is involved with the Rifkin Campus at 5200 project as director of the new Madge Rothschild Resource Center.
She organized our popular Yiddish class, represents the Temple on the Northeast Indiana LGBTQ Coalition and Habitat for Humanity, and has worked on joint projects with the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fort Wayne, including the Faith & Politics series. And those are just her recent contributions to the Temple.
Those who work closely with Jan know that she’s even busier now that she’s retired from teaching. She’s usually dashing from a Temple meeting to another volunteer commitment wearing a nametag or t-shirt for the next event.
In addition to serving as secretary of the Jewish Federation board, Jan volunteers with the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, the Embassy Theater, Women United, Fort Wayne Association for the Education of Young Children, and Little River Wetlands Project. She recently was nominated for the 2015 YWCA Peggy Hobbs Service Award.
Steve, her husband of 40 years, explains that the biggest impact from Jan’s involvement at the Temple and in the community is that she’s a “connecting force,” someone who gets involved, assists with communications, and links people to people, organizations to organizations.
Her daughter Alana, who lives in New Jersey with her husband Greg Mulford and 3-year-old son, Austin, calls her a “real role model.” Jan’s son, Andrew, who lives in California with his wife, Lindsey, calls his mother “an inspiration. Both say they were taught the value of volunteering from a young age and “shown what it meant to be part of something bigger than ourselves.”