2000 Senior Hall of Fame
To read detailed biographies of all the 2000 senior hall of fame award winners scroll down the page
Thomas Brown, Jr.
Thomas Brown, Jr. has been an active volunteer in Milwaukee for over 40 years. A member of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul for 28 years, he has been President of the All Saints Conference for the past four years. He has also been a member of the Knights of Peter Claver for 15 years.
Mr. Brown's volunteer activities include working for the St. Francis Meal Program, Crossroads Interfaith, and All Saints Parish. He operates two food pantries in the Central City, coordinates a meal program at the Vincent Center, recruits new volunteers for St. Vincent de Paul and works with youth members to encourage volunteer service. All of these activities are in addition to visiting the frail, sick and disabled
Mr. Brown has been instrumental in improving the lives of many people in the most depressed neighborhoods of Milwaukee. One of his daughters stated, "as long as we can remember, our Christmas Eves have been spent delivering food and gift baskets to those less fortunate than ourselves." All Mr. Brown asks in return for his efforts is that the good deed is passed to another person.
Ruth M. Hana provides the Milwaukee community with a unique form of philanthropy. Her volunteer hours are spent collecting aluminum cans and selling them to provide a variety of services to individuals. Ruth has collected, cleaned, counted, crushed and sold over 500,000 cans and given over $30,000 in proceeds to various charity causes.
With her proceeds, she has helped cancer patients with their medical bills, purchased computers for cognitively disabled children, and provided emergency funds for food and clothing for child welfare clients.
Ruth's contributes proceeds in the names of children to support organizations specific to their disabilities. She has aided homeless shelters, the American Red Cross, the Easter Seal Society, the American Heart Association, the Mental Health Association and many others.
Thanks to Ruth, the City of Milwaukee has 500,000 less cans littering its streets, and as a result, good things have happened for others - some people not even knowing Ruth was the reason. Ruth has had the tenacity to ferret out the unmet needs of the community and fund them with the discards of society. Ruth serves as an example for all of us to follow.
Eldon Murray has provided many years of volunteer service to seniors in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Eldon has been a gay activist since the beginning of the Gay Liberation Movement and is recognized nationwide as a pioneer in that movement.
In 1994, he founded SAGE in Milwaukee (Senior Action in a Gay Environment), which was Wisconsin's first organization devoted to issues surrounding aging in the community. He was one of the founders of the Gay People's Union (GPU), the first major gay liberation organization in Milwaukee.
Mr. Murray has received numerous awards and recognition for his efforts in the gay community, such as the Pridefest's Stonewall Award for outstanding service to Milwaukee's gay and lesbian community and the Human Rights League's Cream City Brick Award. He was elected to the Cream City Business Association's Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1986. In 1998, the One Institute and International Gay and Lesbian Archives honored Eldon as one of 31 pioneers in the gay movement.
The dedication of his life to activism and service on the part of the gay and lesbian population, and now in his later years to their aging issues, has clearly benefited the Milwaukee community.
Peter Schaff is an active volunteer with St. Joseph's Hospital where he assists with fundraising for eight medical foundations and other organizations. He has received numerous awards for his community service endeavors.
After a hospital stay at St. Joseph's, Peter was so impressed by the excellent care and kind treatment from the volunteers, he decided to become a volunteer himself. He is assigned to the Intensive Care Unit and works closely with the patients and their families to help ease their minds and their visits.
Mr. Schaff has given many years of service to fund raising activities for organizations, such as the American Cancer Society, Leukemia Society, American Diabetes Association, Arthritis Foundation and others. He assists with fundraising for the Milwaukee Public Museum, United Migrant Opportunity Services, and Make A Wish Foundation. Peter also volunteers for the Special Olympics annual event. For ten years, Peter was a reader for WYMS radio station program for the visually impaired.
Twice selected as Auxiliary Police Officer of the Year in District 3, Mr. Schaff believes that there are many needs in the community that can be fulfilled by volunteers and that when he volunteers he feels he meets those needs.
Everlean Williams is an active volunteer who has contributed almost 2000 hours annually to older adult programs and children's groups. She has received many awards during her years of service to the community. Her love of service and commitment to community began during her working years and has continued during her retirement.
Mrs. Williams has been affiliated with the Seventh Day Adventist Church for 46 years and has assisted with the Soup Kitchen, hospital and home visits and respite care. Everlean also volunteers at the Westside Senior Day Center and Bethel Community Senior Citizens' Center providing assistance with activity and meal programs. She also volunteers at the Sharon Junior Academy and Clark Street School tutoring children and helping with school programs.
Everlean believes that a vision for a better world is made possible by volunteering in all places for as long as you can. As a "substitute grandma" Everlean serves as a role model for young African American girls and as a resource for older adults who are sick or homebound. All of this is more commendable because Ms. Williams depends entirely on public transportation to meet her numerous volunteer commitments.