Community service is one of the main pillars that makes Cripe what it is. There is an expectation, from senior leadership to interns, that everyone should serve the communities we build. It’s very important to “walk the talk” at Cripe. Recently, you may have seen our community service highlights on the website and social media featuring just a few of our employees who are making huge impacts and practicing servant leadership.

It would be remiss of us not to highlight the woman who made community service at Cripe what it is today. Ila Badger was so influential in her community and at Cripe during her time employed with us, that we named our community service award after her.

Ila was Cripe’s event planner when she worked with us and she also acted as an informal Cripe ambassador. Anyone who walked into our office during her tenure was greeted warmly and with a smile (and often with a homemade sweet treat). She was known to walk into the most important of meetings, without knocking, to hand out her delicious baked goods. Even those she had just met caught her contagious energy and enthusiasm for life.

She wasn’t only known for her treats, though her ice cream soda cart “Ila Cart,” a pun on a la cart, was certainly a welcome sight on any given afternoon at Cripe. Ila has recently been called a “force of nature” by those who knew her and worked closely with her.

The Cripe community service award is named after her because she was dedicated to Carmel where she lived. She and her husband, Jack, were consummate volunteers in their community, very involved with the Carmel United Methodist Church, and Ila sat on the Plan Commission for Carmel. Later in her life, Ila has gone on to volunteer at the Palladium in Carmel as a greeter and seater.

While serving on the Carmel Plan Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals, Ila met our CEO and Chairman, Al Oak, who was then an engineer performing zoning cases in Carmel.

It was after that when Ila began working at Cripe.

Her office celebrations were legendary and there are still reminders that exist today. 

It has jokingly been said that “Ila could exceed an unlimited budget.” For that, many people are grateful to her for the memories they share with coworkers and the tributes that still stand honoring our team.

It might be easy to assume that Ila led an easy life and so was able to contribute so much of her time and energy to community service, but that isn’t true. Ila is a breast and liver cancer survivor. The latter resulted in a liver transplant, but that didn’t slow her down. In fact, it only added to her causes as she went on to become a spokesperson for organ donation, after receiving her new liver.

Ila and Jack understood the importance of physical activity and the impact that playing sports can have on young people. With that understanding, they helped to create the Carmel Dads’ Club.

In gratitude for the support of the Badger family, The Carmel Dads’ Club purchased farmland for a sports park and the board voted to name the park in honor of Mark Badger, the son of Ila and Jack who passed when he was very young. Jack and Ila were fully involved in the development of this beautiful facility that benefits so many young athletes and their families in Carmel. And Cripe was a happy to support throughout the process.

Community service has always been important at Cripe and we’re lucky to have many inspiring examples of giving back, but Ila Badger stands out among them. She never let life get her down and instead found many ways to transform her challenges into opportunities to serve her community and bring a smile to the faces around her.

When the first Ila Badger Community Service was awarded, Ila herself was present to give a speech. In it, she proclaimed the importance of making the world a better place to live for all its inhabitants and how we can each work to achieve that. Even the smallest of contributions of time, resources, and energy can make a huge impact.

At Cripe, we take those words to heart­­ every day.