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Life in the Spotlight

A Portage Life in The Spotlight: Gary Germann


If there’s one thing Gary Germann loves, it’s the thrill of a new challenge. A licensed criminal defense lawyer who’s been in practice for 45 years, Germann enjoys rising to the occasion when facing down difficulties. Thankfully, though, Gary Germann loves a great many things, and his devotion to his family announces itself in the tone of his voice.

Since graduating from Valparaiso Law School in 1973, Germann has remained steadfast in his commitment to the Porter County region. He grew up along the banks of the Ohio River in Evansville, Indiana, while his wife, Beth, grew up in the state of Ohio. Having met as undergrad students at Purdue University, Germann and Beth relocated to Valparaiso in 1970. Germann studied law while Beth, a board certified microbiologist, began working for Porter Memorial Hospital. With the seeds already planted, the two realized there was no place they’d rather set down roots.

“You know, it’s one of those things where you’re getting through school and you’re thinking, ‘This is probably the last place I’ll ever end up!’” laughed Germann. “But by the time we got married [in 1971] and I graduated from law school, we’d been here for a couple of years, and we realized, ‘Why would we leave? We love this place!’”

Germann lives in Valparaiso, but has been running his private law office in Portage since 1982. He is quite reputable in the area, for both his skill in his profession and his compassionate nature. Germann likely wouldn’t offer up this insight himself; he’s far too down-to-Earth, although he shies away from false modesty. Always searching for ways to further challenge himself and make the most of his expertise, Germann is running for Porter County Prosecuting Attorney this year. He once served as Prosecuting Attorney for five years, so he’s looking forward to stepping back up to the plate under fresh circumstances.

“I like the new challenges of what it means to be a Prosecuting Attorney in these times,” Germann explained. “Our community is facing an opioid problem, school safety issues, and rising criminal and gang activity. All of this presents a whole new set of challenges, not only for our law enforcement officers, but for everyone else as well.”

Germann stressed community impact.

“The way to solve these issues is through everybody working together to combat them,” he insisted. “The opioid epidemic, for instance, is not just a problem for law enforcement to handle—it affects me and you, too. It affects everyone.”

Complications aside, Germann notices promise in the Porter County community that he appreciates and embraces.

“I told [Mayor Jon Costas] before, one of the true testaments [to Valparaiso/Porter County] for me is that my children actually want to come back here,” Germann said. “They’re very proud of their community, and I am, too.”

Germann spoke highly of his family, revealing a warm balance between his passion for his work and his affection for his loved ones. His four children and their families are scattered about at the moment, the closest living in La Porte and the farthest in Brooklyn, New York. But the troop rallies together at least once a year, usually around the holidays. Germann cherishes these times above all else.

“We’re quite a bunch,” Germann laughs. “We’re all over the place! But the best thing for me, when we’re all together, is that I get to watch everyone having fun with one another. Everyone is so happy and in sync. I just love that.”

When he’s not doting on his family, providing his skills as a criminal defense attorney, or running for election, Germann can be found on the basketball court—sometimes in places like Italy, along with a national basketball team at his side.

“Well, hey, I’ve got a picture of myself shooting a layup in Italy last summer…but we’ll use a more professional one for this article,” he joked.

Whether he moves in professional circles or casual ones, Gary Germann knows the value of congregation.

“Look at all of our resources,” Germann said of Porter County. “The resources are our people.”

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