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Wisconsin Community Hall Of Fame


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Wisconsin community Hall of Fame

Barbara Knopf, Springfield Wisconsin, Winning Citizen: Barbara rescues and provides ongoing care for abused and abandoned Morgan horses on her small farm outside the Town of Springfield. Animals such as Secret, a blind Morgan Mare whose owners threw fire crackers at her feet as a training method, and Odessa, who was left to starve on an Illinois farm, have all been taken in by this caring woman despite Barbara’s own physical disability due to a barn accident. Her story is a compelling story of sacrifice and love. By Carole Roche

Carol Ann Schneider, Grafton, Wisconsin, Winning Merchant: She started a very successful employment agency at the age of twenty-seven. She now is seventy-two and arrives at one of her offices everyday. Should you choose to write a full article about her, how/why she chose this field and how she grew it to be a very prominent mid-western and now national employment agency, called Seek Inc., is a story that would inspire your readers. By Patrice Hale

Dave R. Young, Elkhorn Wisconsin, Winning Merchant: The term “serial entrepreneur” brings Mr. Dave R. Young to mind. He has established the nation’s largest Craftsman-Direct mattress retailer as a solid franchise opportunity. Young was only 18 and just out of high school when he joined Verlo as store manager in Crystal Lake, Ill., in 1985. Three years later, in only six months, he tripled the business of a Verlo store in Wheeling, Ill. He joined the company’s home office as a general manager in Whitewater, Wis., in the early 1990s before being named president in 2001. He attributes his success to having a good instinct for business and a knack for making the right moves at the right time. Young has contributed to the development and success of 30 franchises across the nation. Young is also very generous in supporting community causes through all of his stores, including Habitat for Humanity, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, numerous social services and homeless shelters. The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina prompted him to ship futons and mattresses to needy families as well as offering matching funds to individual stores who collected donations. Most recently, Young took on the role of developer and revived an historic building in Fort Atkinson, making it his company’s headquarters. He has breathed life not only into a building but into an entire community. As a CEO, Young challenges all of his employees to better themselves and doesn’t expect anything less. He is an outstanding individual who really has proven that you can do anything you set your mind to. By Julie Henningfield

Deb Wolfe, Milwaukie Wisconsin. Winner against the Odds: Her tenacity to endure and challenge the beast that grew within her is what makes this woman special.  When breast cancer knocked at her door, she slammed it closed and refused to allow it to stop her from living life to its fullest. The journey has not been without its valleys of despair as Deb has found that her life is as full now as it was then, when the beast knocked..  While the beast multiplied itself within her, her life’s dearest riches seemed to vanish with the creeping fingers of metastatic cancer.  Divorce and denial by those she loved most dear became the challenge she took.  Deb never wavered in her journey, her new life’s mission, to battle and to win. With hand in hand support and guidance from women who also fight the fight, she took up dragonboat paddling. She faces the race of her life. By ElLois Betts

Reverend Bob, Wisconsin. Winner Against the Odds/Winning Father: My“Dear Old Dad” lives in a small Wisconsin town and is a retired pastor who served ten churches over his fifty year ministry. At the young age of 64 he had a sudden heart attack that required an emergency six way bypass surgery. That is twice as much as a triple way bypass! When he was being rolled into the operating room he said to me, “if things don’t work out the way we want them to never shed a tear for your father, for I have had a wonderful life and have been blessed with a wonderful family”. When I go through those doors it’s in God’s hands!” He is now 87 and has undergone numerous other surgeries, including a valve replacement. I have learned so much from him and admire him greatly. He taught me that as the body may show signs of weakness, the human spirit continues to grow even stronger. He believes in God, and I think it’s safe to say, God believes in him! By Dexter Everhart

Shannon Kenitz, Madison, Wisconsin. Winner Against the Odds: Soon after Shannon gave birth to Grace she noticed something was wrong with her baby. Her doctor told her everything was fine but he was wrong. After fighting for an elusive diagnosis for nearly 2 years, Shannon was told by an outright hostile medical system that Grace would soon die and she should “let her go”. Doctors laughed and told her not to waste her money when she told them of a controversial treatment she had found for Grace. Refusing to give up, Shannon drove Grace cross-country for the treatment, hopping from one hospital to the next along the way to stabilize her daughter. The transformation of both of their lives will amaze and inspire you as Shannon and Grace prove that sometimes hardship produces true heroism and that there is hope for thousands of people traditionally deemed untreatable. By John R Forcier