Date: May 5th, 2014

Crawford County Community Fund Presents 2014 Leadership Awards

Front row, from left:  Don and Mary Stirling, Bob Van Hoesen, Sherry Quamme.                  Back row, from left:  Katelyn Kay Gilman; Lorie Floyd; Allison and Jim Showen.  Photo by Rebecca Eby

Front row, from left: Don and Mary Stirling, Bob Van Hoesen, Sherry Quamme. Back row, from left: Katelyn Kay Gilman, Lorie Floyd, Allison and Jim Showen. Photo by Rebecca Eby

Nearly 100 people gathered at Century Hall in Wauzeka for the 4th annual Crawford County Leadership Awards Reception and Presentations, hosted by the Crawford County Community Fund.

Eric Frydenlund, past chair of the Crawford County Community Fund, a component of the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin, was the emcee for the evening’s program.  In his opening remarks, Frydenlund noted, “A lot of good things have happened in our region during the past year as a result of the work of the Crawford County Community Fund.  Our endowment fund continues to grow having surpassed the $100,000 mark.”

During the past year the Crawford County Community Fund presented grants to five (5) organizations for a total investment of $4000.  Frydenlund also noted the growing support from organizations including Couleecap, the George Family Charitable Fund, Mayo Health System, Gundersen Health System, 3M, the Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital and the Gays Mills Lions Club for the Crawford Markets Care program – an initiative that involves the Crawford County food pantries and farmer’s markets, as well as Crawford County UW-Extension, as partners.

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.

Lorie Floyd was recognized as the ‘driving force’ for many organizations, projects, programs, and special events in the county.  Described as a person who never gives up, never says ‘no’ and is always willing to roll up her sleeves and get her hands dirty, Floyd has been involved with the Crawford County Children’s Advisory Board for over 10 years and is currently the chair of the Prairie du Chien Skate Park Committee.  Her work has been instrumental in providing Crawford County with a new “destination point”… a $40,000 PDC SkateBoard Park!

Don & Mary Stirling, initiators of the Ridge & Valley Restorative Justice Program, were recognized for their commitment to learn and teach Restorative Justice practices and techniques.  The Stirlings have conducted yearly training and retraining sessions for over 50 volunteer and prospective volunteer facilitators. As a result, victims of all ages and from across Crawford County and beyond have had the opportunity to meet the individual offenders, and, in the experiences of many, finally put to rest some of their continuing fears of being victimized again.  Offenders, many of them sincerely impacted for the first time by how their actions have hurt individuals and communities, have offered sincere apologies, and made amends, often above and beyond court-ordered restitution.

The Tourism Award is presented to an individual, business, or organization that has demonstrated a commitment to the enhancement of Crawford County tourism development and promotion.

Sherry Quamme (Ferryville) was recognized for her steadfast advocacy for tourism promotion in Crawford County and the region.  Quamme currently chairs the Crawford County Tourism Council, where she has been a leader in strategic planning and bringing a renewed sense of purpose to the organization. She is also the newly elected chair of the Wisconsin Mississippi River Parkway Commission where she actively advocates for collaboration through the development of partnerships with other tourism promotion groups.  Quamme is also an active member of the Ferryville Tourism Council and was instrumental in securing the new Governor Lucey Historical Marker in Ferryville, bringing regional recognition to the area.

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.

Katelyn Kay Gilman (De Soto) is a senior at De Soto High School who stepped up and took action, on behalf of current and future students of the De Soto schools.  When the De Soto Area School District announced plans to improve the middle/high school facilities through a building referendum, Gilman became an active participant. As a student leader, she assisted with developing a student survey which identified facility needs from the student perspective.  As plans were developed, Gilman took it upon herself to understand the scope of the proposed referendum project and to inform students of the academic needs that could be addressed by an approved referendum. Gilman developed and maintained two referendum informational bulletin boards where she kept all informed of the project scope and needs. The referendum was successful.

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 Van Hoesen (Gays Mills), through his many involvements has certainly gone “above and beyond.”  Van Hoesen helps the Gays Mills Lions Club maintain the Lions Club shelter and supports the Gays Mills Farmer’s Market’s free use of it.  He has supported the Lions Club’s contributions to the Crawford Markets Care program and to the successful conduct of the Gays Mills Food Pantry.  Van Hoesen is the “go-to guy” for the Apple Festival Parade; doing what it takes to get the wider community involved in this yearly celebration that draws thousands of people from within and well beyond the area. Additionally, he was one of the initiators of the “Save Copper Creek” campaign.  Van Hoesen contributes his expertise, his resources and, often, his muscle and carrying power to “make community happen” in Gays Mills, Crawford County and the region.

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.

Allison & Jim Showen owners of the Stump Dodger Campground and Event Center were honored for their work to develop and produce the Stump Dodger Bash. Celebrating its 4th anniversary this 4th of July, this relatively new event brought approximately 10,000 people to Gays Mills and Crawford County in 2013.  The Showens’ work has been of great benefit to many businesses in Gays Mills and the surrounding area and has provided much needed funding to a number of local groups and organizations who have sold food and beverages at the Bash.  The Showens continue to assist in the county’s business development as they have agreed to work with the Crawford County Tourism Council in bringing back the Kickapoo BRAVE Ride, to be held August 24.

Current Fund chair Sharon Murphy, in commenting on the importance of the Leadership Awards quoted poet Corita Kent, who wrote in her book, Footnotes and Headlines, “Always there remains this need – to explain to each other that we are good.  We all have a constant need to be reaffirmed. The single man needs this. The whole human race needs a yea…needs the large, ceremonial pat on the back that says come on! Come on!   We can make it!”  Murphy noted that while this is, indeed, a “pat on the back” for the award recipients, these dedicated individuals are truly an inspiration to others to ‘Come on!  We can make it!’

The Crawford County Community Fund Awards solicits nominations, county-wide, in the first quarter of the year with the annual recognition event held in April.  Sponsors of the 2014 Leadership Awards program include 3M; Building Automation Products Inc; Howe Printing Company, publisher of the Courier Press; L&M’s BP in Wauzeka; Prairie du Chien Area Chamber of Commerce; Peoples State Bank; River Bank; Royal Bank; Scenic Rivers Cooperative; and Agent Dean Achenbach of the State Farm Companies.

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 Sharon Murphy, Crawford County Community Fund chairperson, at (608) 624-3409, smm@fsmail.bradley.edu, or Barb Daus, donor services representative with the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin, at (608)778-3344, barb@cfsw.org.