Our Local Nonprofit Community…
Benefiting From Your Stories of Hope!

The following nonprofit organizations have each received a donation in appreciation of the volunteers highlighted in the stories below. The Volunteer Center, and the Stories of Hope gift recipients, would like to thank our sponsors for helping us celebrate just a few of the many dedicated volunteers that give back to our community every day.


The Help Corner of Washington County | nominated by Kayla Bieszk

Kayla Bieszk submitted this nomination, saying: “Do you ever have one of those parenting moments where you find yourself asking, “How in the world did we get here?” I did at the end of this August when my 3 year old daughter, Lia, gained a spiffy new accessory: a full leg cast. Our lives did a quick 180 as we adjusted to caring for a rambunctious toddler who suddenly couldn’t walk, run or jump.

Thanks to a health equipment lending program run by a handful of Washington County nonprofits, we had one less thing (and expense) to worry about. The h.e.l.p. Corner borrowed us a like-new pediatric wheelchair and small shower seat to make our day-to-day lives just a little easier. Plus, the volunteers we worked with brightened our day with incredibly kind and helpful service.”

Kayla sends a huge thank you to our friends at the h.e.l.p. Corner and encourages you all to keep this lesser known service in mind if you or a loved one find themselves in need of a helping hand.

Thanks to some amazing community sponsors, this story will help us gift $1,000 in donations to local nonprofits.

We can’t wait to hear your Stories of Hope!

Share it with us today:

Barbara Prust & Laura Salcido | nominated by Ruth Henkle

Let’s take a moment to recognize not one, but 2 winners for this week’s 100 Stories of Hope 🙌

Barbara Prust & Laura Salcido have provided translation services at the Albrecht Free Clinic for a combined 17 years. When Covid-19 temporarily closed the clinic, Barbara & Laura offered to volunteer remotely to break down language barriers & meet patients’ needs. Today, they have special phones that clients can call when they need to access medical or dental care, including insulin & medications for other chronic conditions.
Ruth Henkle nominated the duo, saying: “These two very special, longtime volunteers have formed a great rapport with our patients over the years. Those relationships are the primary reason we’ve been able to care for the Hispanic community during the pandemic. Patients feel confident & comfortable sharing medical concerns with these amazing bilingual volunteers.”
Thanks to some amazing community sponsors, this story will help us gift $1,000 in donations to local nonprofits. They’ll each be receiving one-year Museum of Wisconsin Art memberships as a token of appreciation, too!

Pat Katisch | nominated by Noelle Braun

Masks can’t cover up these smiles 😁! Today, we’re honored to recognize the person who made them possible. A huge kudos to Pat Katisch for her dedication to the education (and cheeky grins) of these two young students, Adriel and Tino.

Our friend Noelle Braun with Casa Guadalupe Education Center submitted this nomination, saying, “As a volunteer with our Read to Succeed program, Pat brings a servant heart and optimistic outlook on life that makes our students feel special, cared for, and important. Early in the school year, Pat discovered she really enjoyed working with two kindergarten students in particular, and it has been a joy to watch their rapport and relationship bloom.” Even since the onset of COVID-19, they remain connected through personal letters and specially made learning activities.

Thanks to some amazing community sponsors, this story will help us gift $1,000 in donations to local nonprofits. Pat will be receiving a Museum of Wisconsin Art membership as a token of appreciation, too!

Rick DuDevoire | nominated by Lisa Starke

If we know one thing, it’s that the quarantine didn’t slow this guy down! 🏃‍♂️🏃‍♂️🏃‍♂️

Here’s what Lisa Starke from Blue Lotus Farm & Retreat Center had to say about Rick: “Because we have a very small staff, we truly rely on our volunteers to ensure that our grounds and facilities are well maintained, which is very time consuming. Rick quietly and humbly does the behind-the-scenes work with great enthusiasm. We truly feel that we can ask Rick to fill any need, and he says “yes” without a moment’s hesitation every time.”

This “yes man” shares 3-5 days each week as a volunteer, doing everything from building firewood racks, to supervising workday groups, to stuffing envelopes. He’s even braved angry wasps and poison ivy to do good…and we’re here for it! Congratulations, Rick!
Thanks to some amazing community sponsors, this story will help us gift $1,000 in donations to local nonprofits. Rick will be receiving a Hub – Social Good Brews gift card as a little token of appreciation, too!

Desiree Rahmlow | nominated by Amy Keliher

Amy Keliher nominated Desiree for her strong, positive personality and contributions through the Slinger Kiwanis Club (which she created and currently leads). “Desiree is incredibly positive and puts her words into action. She comes from a family with a strong service background, and Desiree embodies this today. She makes everyone around her a better person.”
COVID-19 hasn’t slowed her down, either. Desiree organized a new free little library at the Polk Soccer Field (coming soon!) and continues to stock a small food pantry within Slinger High School for food-insecure teens who want to discreetly grab a snack throughout the school day. These are just a handful of the ways she’s creating change in the Slinger community.
Thanks to some amazing community sponsors, Desiree’s story will help us gift $1,000 in donations to local nonprofits. She’ll be receiving a one-year Museum of Wisconsin Art membership as a token of appreciation, too!
Pictured: Desiree and her family at a Slinger Kiwanis fundraiser at Fill n Chill in Slinger. Keep up the sweet work!

Barb Robertson | nominated by Jodi Brown

Have you ever visited the West Bend Labyrinth Garden Earth Sculpture in Regner Park? This 90-ft. diameter Cretan Labyrinth was a dream of Barb Robertson’s, our next 100 Stories of Hope winner!

Jodi Brown nominated Barb for creating & maintaining this place of beauty for all to enjoy. “Barb inspires me because I have never met someone who had a dream, took their dream and created it. There is not a day that you don’t find Barb working in the garden, helping new volunteers or taking the time to interact with the many visitors to come to enjoy the Labyrinth!”

P.S. did you know that the Labyrinth Garden is maintained solely by volunteers? Amazing!

Thanks to some amazing community sponsors, Barb’s story will help us gift $1,000 in donations to local nonprofits. She’ll be receiving a Consider the Lilies gift card as a token of appreciation, too!

Sherry Mcelhatton | nominated by Michelle Spettel

Sherry is a gifted musician who uses her talents to lift up our community. Among Sherry’s many volunteer hats, she’s the Music Director for Spotlight Productions and leads a monthly Ukulele Strum In at The Hub. When COVID-19 pulled the world apart, Sherry found her own way to bring us back together by creating weekly ukulele videos for community members to enjoy. Her song choices are happy, full of hope, and brighten the day of many people. Thank you, Sherry!

Thanks to some amazing community sponsors, Sherry’s story will help us gift $1,000 in donations to local nonprofits. She’ll be receiving a Consider the Lilies gift card as a token of appreciation, too!

Forest of Hope Volunteers | nominated by Leona Knobloch

How do you plant 5,000+ native trees during a pandemic? Careful planning, extra safety precautions and a limited crew of hardworking volunteers…of course!

“This area we are standing in will someday be a beautiful forest that we can say was planted during the pandemic of 2020, ” said Josh Schlicht, Stewardship Coordinator with the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust. The “Forest of Hope” was funded by a grant from the Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium and was featured as a “Delivering the Mission” initiative by the U.S. Forest Service.

Pictured: Josh Schlicht, Spencer Henkel, Rachelle Ketelhohn, Stephanie Krausert.

Thanks to some amazing community sponsors, the crew’s story will help us gift $1,000 in donations to local nonprofits. They’ll be receiving an Eaton’s Fresh Pizza West Bend gift card as a token of appreciation, too!

Nina and Mae Evans | nominated by Sue Millin

Nina and Mae wanted to spread some love when so many things in the world around them were changing. Their family has a longstanding tradition to talk about their family values of being STRONG, KIND & GRATEFUL. In the spirit of sharing this message, Nina and Mae braided bracelets and passed them along to anyone nominated. We thank these two inspirational young girls for reminding us all to be strong, kind & grateful!

Follow #strongkindgratefulevansgirls on Instagram!

Thanks to some amazing community sponsors, Nina and Mae’s story will help us gift $1,000 in donations to local nonprofits. They’ll be receiving an Eaton’s Fresh Pizza West Bend gift card as a token of appreciation, too!

Jon Bohn & Travis Roell with Albiero Plumbing & HVACnominated by Jillian Clark

Right before the Safer-At-Home order was put into place, the good folks over at Chix 4 a Cause learned of a woman named Becky in the Hartford area who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Becky told their Gifts of Love team that the one thing she really needed was a new water heater. Hers had been broken for months, and with the rising cost of medical bills, she just wasn’t able to replace it. Plus as a single mom of four kids, the broken water heater made it difficult for the family to do laundry, dishes, and enjoy something as simple as a hot shower.

With the Chix 4 a Cause budget tightened due to the pandemic and a few leads falling through, Jillian over at Chix called Albiero Plumbing to see if they could help. They were on board right away. They offered Chix an incredible discount and came out to Hartford the very next morning (during an extremely busy time) to install the water heater for Becky and her family.

A huge thank you to Albiero Plumbing, Chix 4 a Cause and the incredibly strong, resilient clients they serve! The good folks over at Chix 4 a Cause will be receiving a $10 gift card to Eaton’s Fresh Pizza West Bend as a little token of appreciation for sharing this story.

Grazing Goats Crew | nominated by Leona Knobloch

Our next 100 Stories of Hope winner is…. Maryah the Goat! Yep, you heard that right! The Ozaukee Washington Land Trust and Mequon-Thiensville Sunrise Rotary Club teamed up to welcome the “Grazing Goats Crew.” These adorable goats are treated to some fine dining: buckthorn and other tasty brushy invasive species! This collaborative effort not only protects soil and water health by avoiding the use of herbicides, it supports farmers, keeps the goats happy with an abundant food source, and allows for some priceless community engagement.

And you guessed it: the Grazing Goats Crew portion of our $1,000 donation will go towards animals! The two-legged crew will be receiving a gift card to Eaton’s Fresh Pizza West Bend!

A special thank you to Connie Pukaite (pictured), an active member of both the M-T Sunrise Rotary Club and OWLT, for making this project a reality!

Emma Zimmerman | nominated by Anne Lemke

What happens when you’re required to do 40 hours of service learning to complete your practicum course and your college and community are in quarantine? You get creative!

Moraine Park Technical College student, Emma Zimmerman, found a volunteer opportunity to create cards for seniors at the Cedar Community and The Gardens of Hartford. She got to work creating beautiful cards with inspirational quotes and personalized messages. Emma reflected, “my community service is different from what others have experienced face to face. Nonetheless, it has enhanced both my career and the care I have for the communities around me!” 

Emma is planning to complete her practicum, graduate, and work in her community as a Medical Office Specialist. Thanks to some amazing community sponsors, her story will help us gift $1,000 in donations to local nonprofits. Way to go Emma!

Luci Degner | nominated by Dan Schultz

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, it quickly became evident that our local hospitals were severely short on PPE. This problem was especially concerning to Luci Degner, whose daughter works for a local hospital. So Luci got to work making masks for her daughter. She followed recommendations to ensure she was making the safest, most comfortable masks she could. It wasn’t long before her daughter’s coworkers began to request more of Luci’s finely crafted masks.

Dan Scultz submitted Luci’s nomination, saying, “Like many volunteers, Luci is modest and humble. She may even minimize her contributions. The truth, however, is that Luci is an incredible example of how impactful a single person can be during a community’s time of need. The world needs as many Luci Degner’s as we can get.”

Thanks to some amazing community sponsors, Luci’s uplifting story will help us gift $1,000 in donations to local nonprofits.

The Stew Crew | nominated by Priscilla Galasso

Cheers to our very first 100 Stories of Hope winner, the Stew Crew! Priscilla over at the Cedar Lakes Conservation Foundation submitted the nomination, saying, “Have you ever had those jobs that seem to linger on your to do list…for forever? Our newly organized group of stewardship volunteers have taken on some orphaned projects and finally retired them from that list!”

These volunteers were anxious to spend time destressing in CLCF’s natural spaces while tackling overdue tasks and adhering to COVID-19 safety guidelines. Beginning in April, the crew began the task of tending to tree tubes on multiple CLCF properties. In May, the crew planted 500 trees and shrubs to begin the restoration of a property on Big Cedar Lake back to a natural wildlife habitat. As of June, the crew had collectively contributed 300+ hours in support of CLCF’s stewardship goals.

They’ve truly helped to create a lasting legacy of woodland habitat for future generations. Thanks to their contributions and some amazing community sponsors, the Stew Crew’s story will help us gift $1,000 in donations to local nonprofits!

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