Born and raised in Gary, IN. Terry Hardin is this week's Portage Life in the Spotlight. He attended Gary Edison High School and then moved to Portage his senior year to finish out his high school career at PHS.
It was a great education at GEHS. I had a teacher named Adam Benjamin and he taught math at GEHS. He was a dynamite individual. He ended up being a congressmen," Hardin said. "My brother and I both had lots of friends. We did well in school."
After high school Hardin worked in the steel industry for many years. He then opened a paralegal consulting business in 1996. He left the steel industry in 2000 and worked full-time at at his paralegal consulting business until 2007 when he sold it to Stephanie Pierce. Now, Hardin is semi-retired, still working with Pierce and devoting much of his time to volunteering in his local community.
"I've volunteered since 1990 when I was part of the Portage Jaycees, I then joined the Board for the Portage Township YMCA. I served there for 11 years and I was the board president for two years," Hardin said.
But that is just the tip of the iceberg for Hardin. He got involved with the Portage Economic Development Corporation (PEDCO) when the Portage Chamber of Commerce reactivated it (it used to be named COIL). Hardin was one of seven people involved in PEDCO and in 2001 he was elected the President of PEDCO and served in that position for seven years.
Concurrently, Hardin along with his wife, Linda, served with the Portage Township Life Entertainment Association beginning in 1989. This is an organization that provides a series of concerts in Portage every Tuesday during the summer. Linda is still on the board for the association.
"We enjoy music and love to put on concerts for the community," Hardin said. "We started with three concerts the first year. This summer we have 15 concerts coming up. All the Tuesdays from June to August and the first two Tuesdays in September will have concerts for people to see."
Hardin met Linda at Indiana University Northwest in 1965. Linda continued her college career at IU Bloomington and he went into the Army Reserves. When Hardin got out of active duty he went to Purdue Calumet and obtained his degree in Management and Technology.
Here's a neat bit of trivia: Hardin has a twin brother named Larry. Larry met his wife Susan at IUN the same time Linda and Hardin got together.
"Linda and I do a lot of work together. We're partners in all of the volunteer work that we do," Hardin said. "My wife and I find volunteering very rewarding. We've been inspired by great people. Martha and Russ Willis for one. They started the Portage YMCA. Martha's one of the people that inspired me and Linda to volunteer. We like to do things in Portage because we love the city and we want to make the Community better."
In his free time, Hardin enjoys listening to music and sipping on a glass of dry red with his wife. They also love to travel.
"We have a 5th wheel trailer. We have over 50,000 miles of touring the country. We'll take a week or two or six and travel," Hardin said.
And his secret to leading a happy successful life:
"There isn't any real secret. The things that I felt gave me a happy life were things that I learned while volunteering," Hardin said. "The feel-good part of volunteering and when you're done with a project like a concert or helped gabriel's horn. When you do these things and see the people that you helped you can't help feel good. We are very proud of all the friendships that we developed while volunteering."