Date: May 1st, 2013

2013 Leadership Awards Presented

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Nearly 70 people gathered at Century Hall in Wauzeka to honor five Crawford County residents and four businesses/organizations for their volunteer efforts at the 3rd annual Crawford County Leadership Awards Reception, hosted by the Crawford County Community Fund.

Eric Frydenlund, chair of the Crawford County Community Fund, a component of the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin, was the emcee for the recognition program. In his opening remarks, Frydenlund noted, “The number of nominations for Leadership Awards has been growing each year. It’s really gratifying to read the nominations and learn about all the great things accomplished around the County by volunteers.”

Carol Roth, rural outreach specialist with the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation, consultant with Starfish Consulting, and proprietor of The Roth House Bed and Breakfast, The Old Oak Inn and Acorn Lounge, was the featured speaker. Her presentation, entitled Wearer of Many Hats, focused on the importance of small businesses to our economy and the many skills required of small business people.

The Crawford County Community Fund presented awards in five categories:

The Community Leadership and Service Award recognizes an individual, business, or organization that has demonstrated a commitment to the Crawford County area through public service that enhances the economic, cultural, or social well-being of the community.

Two awards were presented.

The Prairie du Chien Jaycees, represented by Regina Minary, Tarah Marx, Jamie Stram, were recognized for their outstanding civic service and particularly for their commitment to developing leadership skills in youth and providing leadership development and civic
involvement training for its membership. The Jaycees organize Operation Santa, consistently assisting over 200 families from the Crawford County area. Additionally, they sponsor the Punt, Pass & Kick and Hit, Pitch & Run events. The Jaycees also award multiple scholarships, donate to Reality Check, sponsor a team for Relay for Life, and offer monetary support to numerous organizations and events focused on youth.

The Wauzeka American Legion and Auxiliary and their bingo project were recognized for their tremendous impact in the community. Not only does their monthly bingo project raise thousands of dollars to fund local projects, this event provides an evening of entertainment for elderly and local residents and positively impacts the economy of Wauzeka. The organization, operated solely by volunteers is held in high esteem. From 2009 through September of 2012, this organization donated in excess of $43,000 to community projects and organizations including area churches, the school, emergency service providers, youth programming, the
fireworks display (yearly from 2008 through 2012), flood recovery, the renovation of Century Hall, and scholarships. Gloria Thompson, Auxiliary Secretary, and Dan Pitzer, Post Commander, were among those in attendance to accept the award.

There were also two recipients of the Tourism Award which is presented to an individual, business, or organization that has demonstrated a commitment to the enhancement of Crawford County tourism development and promotion.

Tom Nelson (Prairie du Chien) was recognized for his extraordinary commitment to showcasing Crawford County. Nelson has been instrumental in organizing and supporting events including the Droppin’ of the Carp Celebration, Cajun Fest and Oktoberfest. Additionally, Nelson volunteers full-time during the summer to care for the St. Feriole Memorial Gardens. He was instrumental in developing Lucky Park, installing the riverfront pavers and park benches. Nelson is the founder/chairperson of the Heart Telethon which raises over $30,000 annually. He serves as Park Board Chair for the City of Prairie du Chien, is a member of the city’s Plan
Commission, and is a Prairie du Chien Chamber Ambassador. Nelson is an outstanding leader who channels his energy and commitment to enhancing Crawford County and attracting thousands of people to the region.

Established in 2008, the Ferryville Tourism Council is a high-energy group of volunteers that has brought new events to Ferryville – Eagle Day – and to the Mississippi River Parkway – Rummage on the River. This Council partners with the Mississippi River Parkway Commission, the Crawford County Tourism Council, and the Friends of Pool 9 to co-plan and co-sponsor events. They publish a quarterly newsletter promoting tourism opportunities to the Village’s businesses, have successfully funded new “Welcome to Ferryville” signs, and are currently raising funds to replace the Village’s 25 banners. The Ferryville Tourism Council has parlayed a
shoestring budget into an outstanding program. Members include Chair Jeanne Rutter, Kristy Fisher, Kay Campbell, Amy Wichelt, Sherry Quamme, Anja Miller, Joanne White, and Lori Lachman Gilman.

The Outstanding Youth Leadership Award recognizes a young person (age 13 to 22) living in Crawford County who has shown outstanding leadership on a project or campaign with positive environmental, economic and social impact.

Mattias Dworschack (Soldiers Grove) is a senior at North Crawford High School who has been accepted at UW-Madison where he will study bio-medical engineering. The salutatorian of his class, he has been the team captain of both the cross country and track teams, is an active member of the National Honor Society, has been a mentor to elementary students, and has worked in the implementation of the Carol M. White Physical Education Program Grant awarded to North Crawford. Dworschack has been a leader in the region. He was very active in assisting with the Gays Mills flood recovery efforts in both 2007 and 2008. Dworschack’s leadership has extended beyond the borders of the USA. He has been to Guatemala 5 times working with the Mayan Hope organization, helping to fund and maintain a school for special needs children. There he also served as a translator. He has also spent time in Sierra Leone, working at a clinic to improve its infrastructure. Dworschack is a natural leader without the need for an identifying title.

The Above and Beyond Award is presented to an individual, business, or organization that has demonstrated “out of the box” thinking that promotes regionalism, cooperation among communities or organizations, creative strategies or innovative approaches to long term problems, or diversity awareness.

Bob and Diane Witt (Prairie du Chien), through their involvements and the projects described, have certainly gone “above and beyond.” Bob Witt is a board member for Prairie du Chien Downtown Revitalization. He and Diane have spent countless hours promoting downtown Prairie du Chien. Whether it is volunteering with the City Parks & Recreation Department’s youth fishing program, staffing the city’s “Eagle Appreciation Event” or helping at the Spooktober event, the Witts are cheerful volunteers helping behind the scenes as well. The Witts are also volunteers with the “Friends of the Villa.” Regionally, the Witts have been very involved with the Driftless Area Arts Festival and the Ferryville Tourism Council. Bob and Diane Witt are invaluable volunteers in Crawford County, serving in whatever role is required – going above and beyond for many organizations, events, and activities.

The Business Development Award recognizes an individual, business, or organization that has demonstrated a spirit of community involvement toward the improvement of business and economic development in Crawford County.

Royal Bank – Gays Mills and its manager Rick Busch epitomize the involvement that is essential to the continued development of the county and its business community. Royal Bank – Gays Mills has been an incredible leader and community partner for Gays Mills, Crawford County and the Kickapoo Valley. Among other projects, the Bank has supported the work of the Mississippi Valley Conservancy and its Kickapoo Bottomland project, which laid the basis for the trail system and improved recreational access to the river. Additionally Busch and the Bank were instrumental in securing the site for the Gays Mills Marketplace. Crediting his parents for instilling his dedication to and involvement in community service, Busch is active with the Gays Mills Economic Development Association and the Gays Mills Lions Club. Under his leadership the Bank has supported special events in Gays Mills as well as county events including the Crawford County Fair, the Driftless Area Art Festival, and the Applefest.

The Crawford County Community Fund Awards program is in its third year. Nominations are solicited, county-wide, in the first quarter of the year with the annual recognition event held in April. Sponsors of the 2013 Leadership Awards program include 3M; Ameriprise Financial; Building Automation Products Inc; Community Development Alternatives, Inc; L&M’s BP in Wauzeka; Prairie du Chien Area Chamber of Commerce; Peoples State Bank; River Bank; Royal Bank; and Scenic Rivers Cooperative.

The Crawford County Community Fund, a component of the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin, Inc.  is a tax-exempt public charity. The mission of the Crawford County Community Fund is to create stronger communities by matching generosity with economic need. That mission is accomplished by building an endowment to fund our grants program, through the continuation of the Crawford Market Cares initiative, and through this recognition program.

For more information, contact Eric Frydenlund, Crawford County Community Fund chairperson, at (608) 326-6658,, or Barb Daus, donor services representative with the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin, at (608)778-3344,