Journal Entry: Kris Mertins-Elliott, Enterprise Risk Management Officer
Additional Contributing Employee(s): Noah Campbell, Credit Analyst; Christina Rowntree, Universal Banker; Nicole Kurhajec, Retail Manager; Molly Krause, AVP Cash Management; Bill Fliess, Credit Analyst; Melody Kowalczyk, Universal Banker; Colin Hennessey, VP Business Banker; Jody Vollmer, Retail Manager; Sherri Gorecki, Universal Banker
There are many deserving organizations that exist simply due to the kindness and generosity of others. For this year’s Community State Bank #Gift2Giving Employee Gift Program, I chose Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin. I believe that serving in the military, regardless of the branch of service, is one of the most noble and selfless professions one can engage in. However, in modern times, serving for the United States military does not always come with the level of respect and support one might assume.
Many of our US Veterans have fallen on hard times for numerous reasons, whether it be due to financial, medical and/or mental health and substance abuse issues. There are men and women of all ages who, in the line of duty, have suffered physical injuries, and who endure emotional scars, now struggling with their disabilities to try to make a living and have a normal, happy life. Some are lucky enough to have family who have helped support them and get them on their feet. Others aren’t so lucky. Some may have no job, no home and no family to lean on. Some have families of their own but cannot provide them with the basic necessities that we take for granted such as food, clothing and shelter.
Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin (VOW) is non-profit organization that is committed to helping those Veterans who are homeless and at-risk. They offer food, clothing, shelter and other basic needs, as well as services, support groups and programs. One of their most notable programs being the James A. Peterson Veteran Village.
From the VOW:
“Our program is much more than just a shelter for homeless veterans. We bring them into a welcoming, warm environment with all the amenities they need, including a full-sized kitchen, recreation area, showers, bathrooms, and a laundry room. In addition, they have their own unique tiny home, which has a bed, small storage areas, a microwave, Keurig machine, refrigerator, and a television. A large part of the program is working closely with each resident to bring all the tools necessary for success and well-being. These tools include group therapy for PTSD and AODA, assistance with work search, Veterans benefit search, financial advice and guidance, and housing placement. We also offer alternative classes from cooking to yoga to art therapy. We want each Veteran to have a well-rounded experience so they may grow and adapt.”
Last month, shortly after CSB announced that we would be continuing our #Gift2Giving program for 2019, a story was published in a local newspaper stating that several Racine County nonprofits will be affected from reduced or cut funding in the 2020 Racine County budget. One of those non-profits is the VOW, as they were cut out of the 2020 proposed budget.
I decided to send a plea to my fellow coworkers, hoping to find some who had not dedicated their gifts yet. I was fortunate to find 8 others who had not and one who is contributing their own personal funds.
We all have family members and friends who have served our military and this donation is just one small way for us to say “thank you” by supporting their brothers and sisters who aren’t as fortunate as they have been.
To make a personal donation donation and/or volunteering information, please visit their website at: vetsoutreachwi.us
“Be a Hero to a Hero!”
Journal Entry: Natalie Strasser, Administrative Secretary
Additional Contributing Employee(s): Rachael Crane, AVP Retail Manager & Ag Banking; Barb Blazina, Universal Banker; Mandy Sekey, Universal Banker; Becky McClelland, Business Banker; Miranda Swirth, Universal Banker; Tracy Waldron, Universal Banker; Peter Schumacher, Chief Financial Officer; Natalie Strasser, Administrative Secretary
I chose to donate my $100 to VetsRoll.org this year. It’s a 4-day trip of a lifetime to Washington D.C. for US veterans and Rosie the Riveters, once a year, at no cost to the veterans and Rosies. It’s a visually striking caravan of 10 luxury Badger buses traveling halfway across the country, to give these deserving folks the opportunity not only to see war memorials around D.C., but to make many more memories along the way, sharing stories, sights, laughs, fun, meals, time, life.
This is a trip that has touched many lives in numerous ways, and will touch many more to come. I believe in the power and the blessing of this opportunity.
My journal entry is a call to veterans who feel they’re not deserving of a trip like this, or it’s ‘not for you’.
To these folks I say, set your reasons aside. If you are able to go, do it.
Take this trip for three reasons:
You have earned these 4 days.
Just take the trip.
Learn more at www.vetsroll.org.
For this special donation Community State Bank has chosen to feature this story through a podcast. Click on the "play" button below to start listening!
Journal Entry: Pam Hegemann, Human Resource Specialist
Additional Contributing Employee(s): Scott Huedepohl, Bank President & CEO; Sandy Lompa, Sr. Business Banking Loan Coordinator; Shanandoor Kanter, Cash Management / Loan Services; Pam Hegemann, Human Resource Specialist; Marilyn Sorensen, AVP Loan Document Manager; Deb Lois, Loan Document Specialist; Karen Badtke, Deposit Operations Specialist; Denise Engelhardt, IT Specialist; Ginny Bower, AVP Deposit Operations
We chose to give our #Gift2Giving Donation to Transitional Living Center (TLC) in Burlington. TLC provides many services to families and individuals who are facing homelessness. Homelessness is a complex problem. As TLC’s mission states, they are able to provide temporary shelter and basic necessities, while assisting in gaining skills to become self-sufficient, employed and independent. Whether it’s emergency shelter, counseling, mental health treatment, mentoring or parental education, TLC makes a difference in the lives of the families they assist. TLC was founded in 1993. They provide compassionate care to the homeless in Western Racine County. Their staff works tirelessly to help their residents achieve independence and rise out of poverty. We support their mission and are proud to play a small role in the vital services they provide in Racine County. "For it is in giving, that we receive." St. Francis of Assisi
“Many people don’t think that the problem of homelessness exists right here in Western Racine County...but it does. TLC helps women and children learn the skills they need to someday help others. Great cause!” – Scott Huedepohl
“I love supporting a place that not only shelters the less fortunate and provides for them, but also teaches them skills to move forward and be successful members of the community.” – Sandy Lompa
“I am donating to TLC because they are able to help & support individuals who are in need of care and shelter.” – Shanandoor Kanter
“I gave to TLC because of what they do for those who are homeless. There is a very real need for the services that TLC provides. Not only do they assist people by giving them a place to live, they also teach/coach them by providing them with the tools to become an independent citizen in our community again. Great Job TLC!” – Deb Lois
“As a mother of 5 myself, my heart goes out to those struggling to provide food and shelter to their children and TLC is helping them do that.” – Denise Engelhardt
“It is with great pleasure to give this donation to TLC, but money alone will not sustain the program. I want to also thank the dedicated staff, the Board of Directors and the volunteers who work every day with the clients toward their success.” – Marilyn Sorenson
Below is a short video that Community State Bank assisted Transitional Living Center with to explain the mission of the organization and the dramatic impact that they make on the communities of Western Racine County. For more information or to make a donation to Transitional Living Center please visit TLCBurlington.com.
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