Year in Review: 2020 Silver Linings
Improving the quality of life
By Steve Barg
Marshfield City Administrator
In this challenging year with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s easy to feel disheartened with everything going on around us. But in times like this, I think that it’s even more important to recognize and celebrate the positive things happening here in Marshfield.
In 2020, one of those stories has been the successful fundraising campaign and start of construction on an exciting new amenity – Vandehey Waters Aquatic Center. The generosity demonstrated by this community, evidenced by private donations that have exceeded $3 million, is making this long-awaited project a reality. Located on the former Hefko Pool site, this beautiful facility will include three slides, two diving boards, a climbing wall, basketball hoops, a full concession stand, family changing rooms, a reservable shelter, and a party room. Expected to open in July 2021, the Vandehey Waters Aquatic Center will provide the opportunity for great summer fun, and it will be a source of considerable pride for Marshfield residents for many years to come.
So to everyone who made donations of any size, and for those who worked tirelessly to get this project off the ground, I say “thank you” for further improving the quality of life in this wonderful community.
The true meaning of serving others
By Shawn Becker
Wood County Sheriff
One of my favorite moments this year was in October. It involved Malcolm McGregor. Malcolm is 12 years old, suffering from cancer and had just returned home from treatment. Portage County Deputy Robert Krummel asked me if our department would be interested in making Malcolm an honorary deputy/officer for our departments. I told Deputy Krummel we would be happy to participate.
On Oct. 12, representatives from Portage and Wood County Sheriff’s Department, Grand Rapids Police Department, Grand Rapids Fire Department, and Wood County Rescue all participated in this wonderful event. Malcolm was escorted from his home to the Grand Rapids Fire Department with multiple emergency vehicles.
Once he arrived, Sheriff Mike Lukas, Chief Mel Pedersen, and myself swore Malcolm in as an honorary deputy/officer with each of our departments. After the ceremony, Malcolm participated in a K-9 scenario and spoke to those in attendance. He was so happy, and enjoyed playing the part of a law enforcement officer. We had a uniform and personalized badge for him. Check out the video on our Facebook page.
During the past several months, our community has requested our department to participate in special events and birthday party parades due to effects of the pandemic. As a department, we have been happy and proud to participate in them. Many local law enforcement agencies and fire departments, in true teamwork fashion, have worked together to make these parades happen.
Going through this pandemic has been hard on everyone. However, it has given our department and all first responders an opportunity to serve our communities in a very different and positive way. It has given everyone involved a “feel good” moment, a chance to be appreciated, and to be grateful for each other, all of which are needed in these most unusual times. It has also reminded me of the true meaning and value of serving others, helping those in need and making our community stronger, together.
By Bob Kulp
Wisconsin 69th Assembly District representative
This year has taken many unexpected turns as we are all well aware. I thought I’d reflect on a lighter moment from this past legislative session.
I introduced Assembly Bill No. 572 to designate Colby as the state cheese of Wisconsin. The cheese was developed in 1885 by Joseph Steinward and named after Colby, Wisconsin. Colby cheese started as a family recipe nearly 150 years ago and has grown to be one of America’s most popular cheeses.
This past January, a state Senate committee held a public hearing on the proposal.
As seen in the picture, Colby High School’s Choir Coalition performed “Colby Cheese” from the production “Coming Home, Coming Home to Colby.” This was a truly special moment and should be a point of pride for all those from Colby and the 69th Assembly District.
While the bill did not advance to become law this past session I remain optimistic that if we continue to share the rich history and tradition of Colby cheese with our fellow Wisconsinites perhaps a consensus will come about when designating a cheese for our great state.
The Phone Call
By Bob McManus
One of my best moments of 2020 was when Justin Casperson, the Director of Parks and Recreation, called to tell me he had just received confirmation of a major donor for the pool, the new Vandehay Waters. COVID had already struck, and I really didn’t know how it was going to impact the pool fundraising efforts. When we received the call that the major donor had committed officially, it was an absolutely incredible feeling.
It was so stunning to see how Marshfield just continued to respond to with generosity and support — supporting each other, supporting local businesses and restaurants, and truly working together to get through this horrible pandemic. When the chips were down, Marshfield stepped up. That one phone call really made my day, and reminded me that we are going to get through this together, and that brighter days are ahead.
By Stacey Schultz
Marshfield Area Community Foundation executive director
2020. A year many of us would like to forget. In fact, I had tried to forget this story. I decided early on in the pandemic to not sweat the small stuff. If my dogs barked during a Zoom meeting or I locked myself out of my office, I just needed to get through 2020 being safe and healthy.
Early on, which seems like eight years not eight months ago, the foundation decided to put together art bags for students at Marshfield Schools. We knew kids were going to start getting bored and many didn’t have access to art supplies. We received donor support to put together art bags full of supplies such as crayons, chalk, activity books, Play Doh, etc.
After several trips to the store, I had a good collection of receipts. I went to my desk the next day to see peppermint essential oil had tipped over onto the receipts. It not only got all over the receipts but had eaten the ink off of them as well.
I reached out to the Dollar Store. They said they could print out a new receipt but it would have to be on individual pieces of paper because the receipt tape was gone. I was just thankful they had a copy. So they handed my 100 pieces of copy paper. I was all set! I also walked out of the store with an additional three carts full of art supplies. When I stepped outside all of the papers flew out of the cart! I was starting to run after the papers when my carts started to roll into the parking lot. A woman yelled, “I’ve got your carts!” Meanwhile, two men saw me chasing after a pile of papers flying through the air and started to help. You can imagine the pile of papers I was handed afterwards. We managed to retrieve every piece of paper but one which made its way onto the roof. I could have chosen to break down in tears but I could only laugh and of course be thankful for all the kind people who helped me out. This will certainly be on the blooper reel of my life.
A shipment of hope
By Dr. Sue Turney
Marshfield Clinic Health System CEO
In a year full of unprecedented changes and challenges for all of us, the best moment of my year is unquestionably the delivery of the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Marshfield Clinic Health System locations and across the country.
It has been such a long year for our providers and staff and especially our frontline workers. Their lives have been turned upside down by the pandemic, which I know is true for so many of us.
Receiving the first shipment of vaccines was like receiving a shipment of hope.
While there is a long road ahead of us in distributing these vaccines, it was amazing to see how fast they were developed, and their arrival signals the beginning of the end of this pandemic.
There is good in everything
By Ashley Winch
United Way Executive Director
It sounds very cliché but there really is good in everything. We recently announced that our annual campaign has done better than what we planned for and we’ve had all 358 children in our NOW program sponsored for the entire year. For that, we (United Way) are so grateful.
Through changes and cancellations, disappointments and uncertainties, some frustrations and more separation than any of us are used to, we have witnessed widespread kindness and generosity that when we look back years from now, that’s what we will remember. We made new partnerships and built stronger relationships and feel so fortunate to call Marshfield home.