Noblesville Mayor John Ditslear was in for a surprise Nov. 9, the evening of his annual Mayor’s Charity Jubilee that raises thousands for local nonprofits each year. Following a video commemorating Ditslear for his service as mayor, mayor-elect Chris Jensen presented Ditslear with the Sagamore of the Wabash Award on behalf of Gov. Eric Holcomb, who was unable to attend.
The Sagamore of the Wabash Award is the highest honor bestowed on a citizen by Indiana’s governor. It serves as a tribute to those who have rendered a distinguished service to the state.
Jensen announced Ditslear has raised more than $1.08 million from the jubilee during the past 16 years. He then went on to present the award.
“I have to bring a message from a good friend of both of ours. There is a gentleman who wanted to be here tonight but couldn’t be, and it’s someone we both know very well, Gov. Eric Holcomb,” Jensen said. “He couldn’t be here tonight, but you know him well and he knows you well, and your service to the state did not go unnoticed by him. And he wanted to make sure you were awarded something that honored your service.”
Immediately following Jensen’s presentation of the Sagamore of the Wabash Award, the crowd erupted in applause and cheers and Ditslear’s jaw dropped in surprise.
“I was surprised, humbled and honored that Gov. Holcomb thought of me for this distinction,” Ditslear said. “I’m proud of the work we have done, the progress we have made and the outstanding reputation that Noblesville has earned. I truly love this city and the people who make up our community, and I thank the citizens for entrusting me with this honor for 16 years as their mayor.”
The award states Ditslear is “… distinguished by his humanity in living, his loyalty in friendship, his wisdom in council and his inspiration in leadership.”
During Ditslear’s 16 years as mayor, Noblesville’s population has grown by 57 percent to more than 61,000 residents. Outside of his terms as mayor, Ditslear was elected to three terms on the Noblesville School Board and served as a board member for several organizations including the Noblesville Chamber of Commerce, the Noblesville Boys & Girls Club, the Riverview Hospital Foundation, the Hamilton East Public Library and United Way of Hamilton County.