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2018 Making a Difference Highlights

The seventh annual Making a Difference Awards Banquet celebrated people and the organizations they belong to who are making life better and contributing significantly to the well-being of Richland County. The program is sponsored by Richland Rejuvenates with support from UW Richland and WRCO Radio.

Dr Charles Clark, Regional Executive Officer and Dean, of UW Richland. Dr. Clark said that choosing the award winners was a pleasant but difficult task for the committee with many worthy nominations. The first award of the evening went to Rockwell Automation for Feeding Families RC Style. The Leadership Award for the program is a traveling trophy, but it has found a home year after year at Rockwell Automation. This year's Rockwell effort totaled $11,417 for the Food Pantry. Plant Manager Eric Klang accepted the award on behalf of the Rockwell Employees.

The Emergency Responder Award for an EMT or First Responder went to Sue Pilla, a founding member of the Ithaca First Responders. The group's first call was July 11, 2004. Since then, the Ithaca First Responders have responded 795 times. The Emergency Responder Making a Difference Award for a Firefighter went to Barry Roghair, a 42 year member of the Richland Center Fire Department.

The Non-Profit of the Year went to the Joan Woodman Orton McCollum Foundation, an organization that has played a critical role in so many projects that are making a difference in Richland County. Joe Halverson, a Director, accepted for the Foundation.

The Business of the Year Award went to Pine River Paddle and Tube. Mark McCauley was congratulated for his spirit and enthusiasm to promote Richland County and help open the eyes of visitors to the beauty of this area.

The Best Face Forward Award went to Badgerland Flooring of Southwest Wisconsin. The award, given to Jamie and Amy Gander, is reserved for a business whose investment and efforts to create a welcoming storefront helps the community put its best face forward. Jamie Gander accepted on behalf of his family.

The Civic Leadership Award is reserved for one who goes above and beyond the requirements of his or her job to provide service and value to the citizens they serve. Dave Fry was selected as the winner of this year's Civic Leadership Award and serves Richland Center as Park Foreman / City Forester / Airport Manager and Cemetery Manager.

The Outstanding Organization award was presented to the Lone Rock American Legion Auxiliary. The Post 383 Auxiliary has been extremely active in advocating for and supporting veterans through the annual Cabin Fever Dance that raises money for the Vets Roll program. Over $86,000 has been raised by the group in the last five years. The Auxiliary also worked with others in the Lone Rock Community to construct a new veteran's memorial that was dedicated last fall. Post 383 Auxiliary President Lisa Bowen accepted the award.

The Community Stewardship Award celebrates an individual whose service, community commitment and goals match the meaning of stewardship, the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care. Becky Dahl was this year's recipient. Becky is the Regional Manager of ADRC of Eagle Country and is a dedicated member of Southwest Partners and President of the local Career Education Co-op.

The 2018 Making a Difference Awards wouldn't be possible without nominations from the public. All award winners last evening were nominated by appreciative community residents.