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2024 Angels of Grace Recipients

Angel Michael Recipient

Dawn Whalen

Born and raised in the heart of Central Indiana, Dawn embodies the values of hard work, resilience, and compassion that define the heartland spirit. As a child, she harbored dreams of serving a higher calling, initially aspiring to become a nun. However, the winds of change blew in during her formative year,  the allure of newfound experiences and opportunities led her to alter her path, setting her sights on a different journey.


After navigating the  teenage years, Dawn embraced adulthood with gusto. She embarked on a journey as a medical assistant, driven by a desire to make a tangible difference in people's lives. Her compassionate nature and unwavering dedication garnered respect among colleagues and patients alike. One of her favorite doctors referred to her as the A-Team when requesting her as an assistant in his procedures.  She eventually transitioned to surgery scheduling and then onto the billing department for the group of physicians she worked for.

Yet, life is an ever-evolving tapestry, and Dawn found herself drawn toward new horizons.


 With an entrepreneurial spirit burning brightly within her, she explored various ventures, each one adding depth to her skill set and wisdom to her character. Through these endeavors, she honed her business acumen, discovering the thrill of charting her own course in the vast sea of possibilities.


In 2006, Dawn found her true calling in the dynamic world of real estate. Embracing the role of a full-time Realtor, she brought her signature blend of empathy, integrity, and tenacity to every transaction. Guiding clients through the intricate process of buying or selling a home, she became not just a trusted advisor but also a steadfast ally in their journey toward realizing their dreams.


Beyond her professional pursuits, Dawn is a devoted wife, mother of two, and grandmother of four, cherishing the joys of family life and the bonds that tie generations together. Her fierce love for her country burns bright, fueled by a deep-seated gratitude for the freedoms she holds dear.


Driven by this passion, she found a way to give back to those who safeguard the liberties of all Americans. Recognizing the sacrifices made by military personnel and first responders, she dedicated herself to supporting and honoring their service. Through various initiatives and endeavors, she strives to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those who selflessly protect and serve. She, along with her remarkable Board of Directors founded Whalen’s Heroes Inc.


As Dawn continues to write the next chapters of her life's story, she remains guided by the values instilled in her by her Midwestern roots: integrity, compassion, and a steadfast commitment to making the world a better place, one act of kindness at a time. In her journey from heartland dreams to patriotic ventures, she embodies the spirit of resilience and service that defines her remarkable life.

Angel Raphael Recipient

Nancy Elbert

Nancy Elbert set out to make a difference in the teenage mental health crisis when she walked the journey with family members a few years ago. Understanding the complexities of the mental health industry, she was committed to forming an organization with integrity, compassion and professionalism; surrounding herself with experts in the medical, mental health, and animal therapy fields. Her vision for The Chris Center, named in honor of her brother who unexpectedly passed away in 2019 at the age of 55, is a place where teens can come to take a break from everyday challenges of life, and find joy in simplistic presence of animals and nature.


Nancy is an experienced entrepreneurial professional with over 25 years in corporate and nonprofit recruiting and management, Human Resources, and investment properties.

Nancy started her career with Electronic Data Systems in Dallas with the campus recruiting team. After moving from Dallas, Nancy worked in the field with EDS for clients such as General Motors and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maryland. While raising her family, Nancy became involved with investment properties and oversaw the marketing, upkeep, and financial management of Yellow Dog
Investments LLC. Nancy joined the team of Talbott Talent in 2019 as their Executive Recruiter, hiring CEO’s for nonprofits.

Nancy’s involvement with The Chris Center was a vision as far back as 2016, but was granted a 501c3 status in 2021. Nancy officially retired from The Chris Center in January of 2024, but remains on as an ex officio board member. Nancy has a degree from Ball State University and 12 hours toward a Masters degree from Loyola College in Counseling, and is certified in Mental Health First Aid.
An advocate for education at all levels, she is a Board of Trustee member for University High School

of Indiana.

Nancy lives in Carmel and has three amazing young adult children who inspire her everyday.

Angel Gabriel Recipient

Donna Kelker

Donna Kelker was born and raised in Michigan.   Following high school, Donna attended Hurley Hospital School of Nursing, becoming a nurse in 1973.  She worked as a registered nurse in hospitals in Coronary Care, ICU, and Recovery Room.  Donna then worked as an office registered nurse for 12 surgeons for 17 years.  She retired from nursing in 2013.  She was also a CPR instructor for several years retiring from that work in 2021. 


Donna married Timothy Kelker in 1975 and moved to Indianapolis.  They were blessed with a daughter, Lisa Kelker Shipp.  Donna and Timothy are proud grandparents of four.


When not with her grandchildren, Donna spends much of her time as a volunteer.  She has been working with the St. Francis and Clare Catholic Church Gabriel Project since 2013.  She served as a Fetal Ultrasound nurse on the Gabriel Project RV for several years.


The mission of the Gabriel Project is to protect and honor life by providing immediate and practical assistance to needy pregnant women and to families with infants and young children.  Through their tangible, compassionate support they help women give their child a healthy and safe start in life.


Since 2014, the Saint Francis and Claire Gabriel Project has provided material and spiritual support to hundreds of expectant and new moms and their children, including 10,000 diapers last year.  The ministry has grown and works with local agencies and nearby parishes.  We have also formed an active partnership with ProVida of St. Patrick’s Parish in Indianapolis.  Donna is a member of the ProVida (Pro-Life) Board.  She is happy to share any information about Gabriel Project and ProVida. 

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