Champions of Change

 Recognizing the everyday people doing extraordinary things in Washington County.

Meet our 2016 Champions of Change

Nikki Busalacchi, Power of One

As a mom with twin boys on the spectrum, Nikki Busalacchi started a support group to connect with others raising children with autism. It was the first such group in Washington County. Nikki made it easy for parents of autistic children to form a local support network, for which previously they would have to travel to Milwaukee. Nikki also started the Autism Awareness 5K Walk/Run in Kewaskum. The event was such a success that its second year had to be held at Washington County Fair Park. Nikki always takes time to make each and every individual she works with feel special. Nikki was able to take a cause close to her heart and single-handedly created change in our community.

Award sponsored by the Prescott Family Foundation

Irv & Terri Schroeder, Dynamic Duo

Irv and Terri Schroeder are a couple who exemplify all the good things about living in a community. They reach out to enrich the lives of others in countless ways as they are dependable, mission-minded and always willing to serve and share their talents. Over the years, they have taken CERT training (Community Emergency Response Training) in preparation for a possible disaster, they helped the Volunteer Center move to its present location, they helped with many events and Terri has spent thousands of hours making handmade items for the Crafts for a Cause program. Irv has gotten in on the crafting action too, using his woodworking skills. When you don’t see them at the Volunteer Center you’re likely to see them in action with Interfaith Caregivers, Senior Citizens Activities, the Threshold, Holy Angles Parish, the History Center of Washington County and countless other organizations. Irv and Terri offer stability and purpose, consistency, kindness, and willingness. They do it all and have done so many, many times.

Award sponsored by River Shores Chiropractic

Albrecht Free Clinic Dental Team, Ziegler Team Spirit

Access to affordable dental care is a major problem for the uninsured and underinsured residents of Washington County. In 2015, a group of determined dental professionals decided to finally address the problem. The group orchestrated plans for services, secured equipment, and recruited dental volunteers to help staff the clinic operations. A property was purchased in fall of 2015, and in stepped three dentists, a dental hygienist, and a supplier who came together to see the project from its inception to completion. Services include emergency care, basic restoration, oral hygiene, and education. In March of 2016 the first dental patient was seen. Today, we have twelve local dentists, six hygienists and six dental assistants who are volunteering their time to help meet the unmet needs of our community.

Award Sponsored by Sharon Ziegler

Al Jung, Emerging Leader

Al Jung is a business owner that takes community involvement very seriously. He helps promote every community, nonprofit, and school event that he can and then personally attends almost every one with his family! Through his business, Dunn Bros. Coffee, he donates product and raffle prizes whenever he can and gives of his time whenever possible. Al was recently awarded the Threshold Employer of the Year award. He makes it a point to give all people the chance at being employed. He doesn’t understand why every business wouldn’t give people with disabilities a chance. He feels it is something you should just DO. Al isn’t just a business owner, he is someone who believes in the community in which he lives and works. He is truly involved in making Washington County a better place to live.

Award Sponsored by Pick Heaters, Inc.

Mary Beth Seiser, SOAR 55

Mary Beth Seiser is a quiet leader who inspires by bringing people together and developing a shared vision for our community. After the loss of her husband, Mary Beth got more and more involved in the community. She has been active on many boards including the American Heart Association, Citizen Advocates and has served on countless committees for West Bend Sunrise Rotary, St. Francis Cabrini, Rotary International, and many more. In addition to her work locally, Mary Beth has even volunteered internationally, traveling to India to provide polio vaccines for children and attending Rotary International conventions in Australia, England and Canada. Mary Beth’s leadership is never about her, rather what she can do to move the world forward.

Award Sponsored by Cedar Community

Savanna Bonlender, Rising Star

Savanna Bonlender is a phenomenal role model to other young adults her age. Just a high school sophomore, Savanna has championed many charitable causes through her musical talents. Last summer she performed at the West Bend Farmers’ Market and raised $630 for her teddy bear drive. With that money she purchased 100 bears, crayons and coloring books which she donated to Children’s Hospital. She used leftover money to purchase bingo prizes for seniors living at Samaritan. Savanna has also donated her time and talents to organizations like Life of Hope, the Volunteer Center, Elevate and Relay for Life. She also volunteers as a teacher’s helper each week at McLane Elementary School. Savanna is passionate about helping others and has already made such a positive impact in our community.

Sponsored by the Kewaskum, Slinger & West Bend School Districts

West Bend Mutual Insurance, Community Partner

West Bend Mutual has created a culture of giving that extends far beyond their corporation. Employees are encouraged to take action in the community. Associates serve on nonprofit boards and committees, individually contribute to United Way, participate in Boys and Girls Club 5K for Kids, from Relay for Life teams, help on Habit for Humanity builds and MUCH more. During the Christmas holiday associates adopt families in need by donating money for toys, food and gift cards. West Bend Mutual associates don’t just know what it means to help a friend in need. They live it each day with their enthusiasm, creativity, compassion and generosity.

Award Sponsored by Aurora Health Care

Russell Hanson, Young at Heart

Russell Hanson has been deeply committed to the West Bend Community Memorial Library for more than 16 years. He does everything from stocking the coffee bar to organizing and cutting out materials for story time. He does all of this and more while manning the reference desk, helping patrons with internet problems, unlocking study rooms and upcycling old furniture. Russ is a tireless octogenarian whose passion and positivity are two of greatest assets.

Award Sponsored by Pick Heaters, Inc.

STAND led by Serenity Krueger, Real Hero

Although almost each of the students in STAND (Students Taking Action Not Drugs) has been affected by drugs, alcohol, bullying, or something that could have knocked  them down, they have turned these experiences into an opportunity to be stronger by their efforts to make the community a better place. They are led by president Serenity Krueger, a high school sophomore who has turned her sister’s struggles with addiction into a passion for helping others know they are not alone.

Together STAND has developed a program which they share with elementary schools on how to say “No” to negative influences.  Events like Battle of the Bands and Regner Jams provide STAND members an outlet to showcase their musical talents. STAND members volunteer at Take Back the Night, Party on the Pavement, the Turkey Shoot, and at the July 3rd festivities in Kewaskum. You’ll see them at West Bend’s 4th of July events, Riverfest, and Action in Jackson.  In addition, volunteering with for seniors and assisting the Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs are just some of the ways in which STAND says, “Sure, we can help!”

Award Sponsored by West Bend Mutual Insurance

Mary Beth Winkowski, Beyond the Board

Mary Beth Winkowski has been on the Kettle Moraine Symphony board of directors for more than 10 year, and board president for the past 8. During that time, the paid executive director position was eliminated and Mary Beth took on the bulk of the operational effort in order to keep the KMS active in our community. From mailings to grants, ensuring payments for musicians and vendors were made, to organizing and promoting events and meet and greets following performances, Mary Beth has done it all! Her passion for our community and the music the symphony provides shows in every action, with countless and tireless hours spent championing this noble cause.

Award Sponsored by Schreiber Foods

Sarah Follett, Judges’ Choice

Sarah Follett has been advocating on behalf of mental health in Washington County as part of NAMI for more than 15 years. Sarah has a vision that reaches far into the future, including not only those living with a mental illness diagnosis but those family members and friends of the affected individual. Sarah sees opportunity in every challenge and does not let setbacks swerve her from the desire to help Washington County’s citizens lead healthy and productive lives of hope and dignity. As a NAMI board member, Sarah is currently treasurer. She has taken on various roles over the years including purchasing, web development, volunteer coordination and support at the drop-in recovery center. She is part of the committee that works closely with our school system and helped developed the Teen Connections and Teen Art Expressions support groups. Through Sarah’s efforts, NAMI has grown from an organization primarily serving adults to an organization also focusing on children, adolescents and family members.

Award Sponsored by Manitou Group

John Duwell, Clifford A. & Elizabeth M. Nelson Volunteer Leadership Award

presented by the United Way of Washington County