2011 Senior Hall of Fame

 

John Acker
“A positive person by nature, I have never once witnessed him angry, impatient or intolerant.  With guidance and a calm demeanor, he helped many through turbulent times.  Perhaps this is his secret to a long and satisfying life.”

John had an active career working as a template maker at the former Heil Company for 40 years and is a proud member of the United Steelworkers of America, where he served on the Board of Directors. As Benevolent Association President, he looked after the welfare of the workers in the plant.

Upon retirement, he was elected President of the Heil Retirees Group, which included 150 active members.  He served the Allied Council of Senior Citizens of Wisconsin, Inc., as an officer and Board member, as well as performing maintenance at the Council’s headquarters.  He regularly served on various committees, giving unselfishly of his time and talents.

He is a handyman extraordinaire, creating wooden toys at Christmas for children in the neighborhood, creating meal ticket holders for the Goodwill meal sites, and donating his personal handmade wishing wells.  He also continues to be an active member of the Old Time Baseball Players of Wisconsin.

In addition, he was a dedicated, compassionate caregiver to his wife Lucille.  They were happily married for 68 years.  During this time he never forgot his friends at Ascension Lutheran by continuing to volunteer as a coffee server, or just about anything else asked of him.  “He is a guy who has got to keep going.”  God bless you, John.  Your angel is watching over you.
 


Bernice Czarnezki
She has a mission to push on so that the void is not felt by those in need, but filled to overflowing. Her creed is, “I can help.”

During the Patrick Cudahy fire in July 2009, Bernice aided in the evacuation of Cudahy residents. Hastening to the call of Patricia Jursik, her County Board Supervisor, Bernice recruited two additional volunteers and provided superb assistance that met the needs of the elderly and others who were forced to leave their homes that day.  “This is but an instance of Bernice’s swift action in moments of emergency and her sharp awareness of the basic needs in her community.”
Bernice gracefully fulfills a busy set of volunteer commitments. To name a few recent activities, Bernice is a greeter at South Milwaukee High School and General Mitchell airport and a member and treasurer of the Milwaukee South Shore Noon Lions Club. 
She served as South Milwaukee’s alderwoman and continues involvement on various governmental boards and committees, enhancing the lives in her community.
A Milwaukee County 2010 Senior Statesman, Bernice has been cited for the uniqueness that she exhibits in her ability to successfully manage several volunteer opportunities at once. Her skill and grace has won her the Lions Club’s Melvin Jones Fellowship Award for dedicated humanitarian services, the highest honor that a Lions Club member can receive.

Profiling 17 groups, boards, and organizations in which she has served from 1964 to present, Bernice has proven herself to be an indispensable “model” volunteer.

 


Sue Golliher
“To serve, you need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.”   - Martin Luther King Jr.

For the last 46 years Sue has had a heart full of grace. She has served with a soul generated by love. Nearly forty years ago Sue started the petition for Noyes Pool.  Although Sue no longer volunteers there, Noyes Pool still exists today.

Nowadays, Sue tirelessly volunteers approximately 60 hours a month, making life better for seniors. At the Elks Club #46, people see Sue’s smiling face, whether she is at the dining center desk, cleaning up, serving, or playing Mrs. Santa. For the past four years, the seniors have enjoyed being in the presence of Sue’s friendly personality in her role as a substitute aerobics teacher.

Sue is always there whenever help is needed with Special Olympics, Veteran’s Wheelchair Bowling, the 46’s newspaper, kitchen help for bingo, or as the Emblem Club Secretary.  According to her peers, Sue represents the essence of loyalty.

Naturally, with a spirit like Sue’s, her cheerful constancy has graced the community, touching neighborhoods, churches, choirs and individuals.  Adding to her volunteerism, Sue has 29 combined years of service with the Navy Ladies Auxiliary, Chime Choir and as a Welcome Wagon Coordinator, Elderly Alzheimer Patient Caregiver, and driver for physically disabled and dementia clients.

Her friends say, “The world is a better place because of Sue Golliher.”

 


 
Rebecca Williams
“Becky is passionate and kind. She works tirelessly on behalf of blind and visually impaired individuals. Becky’s dedication to volunteerism comes from the realization that others may enjoy their lives more because of something she has done to help them."

Becky is a strong leader and advocate. A member of the Badger Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired since 1981, she began volunteering with the organization in 2001.  She served on the Advisory Council and has served as Board President for the organization since 2009.  As Board President she was instrumental in merging the Badger Association with the Center for Blind and Visually Impaired Children.  Becky facilitated the board’s efforts toward building a center to provide optimal use of space and equipment for developing children who have vision loss.

She also involves herself in the Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Wisconsin Chapter of the American Council of the Blind, the Alumni Association of the Wisconsin School for the Visually Handicapped and previously, the Laubach Literacy Council and Easter Seals.

Becky serves in many capacities: receptionist, Braille translator, newsletter chairperson, public speaker and advocate. She helped develop the first seven annual Braille Games. Becky Williams was recognized with the 2010 Volunteer Center’s Inspire by Example award and in the CBS 58 News segment “Making Milwaukee Great.” The story tagline was so appropriate: “Becky Williams, an award-winning volunteer, who makes sure others see a brighter future, even though she herself cannot see.”

 


Felicia Zatarski
“She has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to those around her and expects absolutely no recognition in return.  It is the love inside her that causes her to do the things she does.  She was born with the gift of giving and the community around her is grateful and fortunate for all she does.”

Felicia began her post retirement volunteer work in the local community back in 1985 when she focused her efforts at St. Francis Hospital.  Her organizational skills have been recognized in many areas, such as in hospital administration, patient registration, food services, and rehabilitation services, among others. Many accelerated clerical deadlines were met through her efficient work habits, which were the result of many years in the accounting field.  Felicia is also known to pick up a fellow senior volunteer, who, without Felicia, would have no way to carry out her own volunteer aspirations.

Felicia’s longest period of volunteer work has taken place through the International Cord Rosary Center. Its focus goes beyond the local community and is an example of her desire to help the world around her, providing services to the military and Christian communities.  Specialized clerical support is needed for this mission in reaching out to five continents, including our own.

As a church member, Felicia has volunteered at St. Charles Borromeo for over 25 years.  She has been an advocate of children through her Intergenerational involvement, serving as a Bereavement Minister and providing clerical support for “emergency jobs.”
 


Ron Schwartz - Century of Service Recognition
“He is quiet and humble and might not realize how amazing he is.”

Ron lives in his own home on Milwaukee’s west side, worships at St. Pius X Parish and is active in the St. Pius X Seniors group.  He cares and serves others within the parish and within the St. Anne’s Salvatorian Campus community.  He befriended many St. Anne’s residents during the time that his wife Mary lived in the skilled nursing unit there.  When Mary passed away in 2002, Ron might have lost touch with St. Anne’s; instead, he chose to reach out as a volunteer.

Several times a week, he drives to St. Anne’s to be a gentle, steadfast companion to residents, as he assists them to and from the dining rooms.  For Ron, it comes naturally to take time to listen and make the residents feel special.  He treats them with dignity and respect.  Also, his meticulous hobby of constructing exact miniature replicas of homes, farmsteads, and landmark buildings, inspired him to create a model of the entire St. Anne’s campus, which is housed there in a display case.

Ron is all about giving, and it is in giving that he receives.  Ron was honored as a Caring Volunteer through the Wisconsin Association of Homes and Services for the Aging based in Madison.  When he was asked his most memorable moment in service as a volunteer, Ron said, “The day a frail little lady pulled on my sleeve and whispered, ‘Ron, I just love what you do for us’.”

That simple, heartfelt expression of gratitude is all the motivation Ron needs to keep reaching out to others.