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RCF Announces Unsung Difference Maker Nominees

In the month of March 2020, the Rhinelander Community Foundation opened up nominating opportunities in the Rhinelander community for our area’s “Unsung Difference Maker”.

These are members of the community that never seek recognition but deserve it. Some are the backbones of volunteer organizations, a comfort to the sick or elderly, or are neighbors who are always there. RCF sought to emphasize that all contributions to the community are important and should be recognized.

Originally, these nominees were to be recognized at the Dine for Difference in April, a community wide dine-out evening, which unfortunately had to be cancelled due to COVID.

Please join us in congratulating all of our “Unsung Difference Maker” nominees. These nominees were nominated by their fellow community members:

Joe Nevins: He has worked tirelessly on a wide variety of projects at the Pioneer Park Historical Museum for years. He keeps Rhinelander’s unique and wonderful history preserved.

Joe Patrone: Joe takes care of Rhinelander city roads and is also involved in coaching for youth baseball and football.

Kyle Parish: Kyle works with the Rhinelander Police department which in itself is an unsung hero. Kyle helps run and organize the Rhinelander Citizens Police Academy and helps community members through his church. He spends time raising funds and bringing the community together around a new chapter of the Boys and Girls club. Kyle help start the Oneida County Drug Endangered Children’s Program and Handle with Care Program within the city of Rhinelander. 

Suzanne Flory: She quietly walks dogs for the Oneida County Humane Society and gives the dogs a chance for some exercise and one-on-one time. Suzanne also often posts photos of the dogs she walks on Facebook with the hope that they will get adopted soon.

Jim Winkler: Jim is very active in the community, serving on school board, as a volunteer 4-H leader teaching archery and gun safety, on the Oneida County Board of Supervisors for Newbold on ADRC and SS committees, tourism committee, and UW extension committee.
 As an Oneida County extension agent he initiated Teens Active in Government, initiated Mentoring Oneida County Kids, and initiated Teen Court. He is on the milk marketing board for Oneida County. Jim attends Pine Grove Community Church and initiated the program there for older adults called Second Half Ministry, is head usher, assists with floor maintenance, volunteers at the food pantry and meals at NATH. He served on the HCY board and is a volunteer for Operation Christmas Child. 

Toni VanDoren: Toni is involved with so many programs to our community through her role at Nicolet College such as entrepreneurship and innovation classes, programming for the disabled, youth apprenticeships, and programs to transition offenders. She also volunteers with The Boys and Girls Club, and many other organizations. 

Louise Perreault: Miss Louise has been a library lover/volunteer for a long time. She has helped run/implement programs, especially our Crafternoon program with her knowledge of art and children’s programs such as our Stuffed Animals Sleepover and the Grandfriends Pen Pal program pairing seniors from assisted living facilities with her Old School kids.

Dick Garrow: In his retirement he has worked to maintain the beloved Lion Water Fountain at Pioneer Park. Dick has been a faithful Lions Club member and is always willing to volunteer his time to help with any number events from serving Burgers and Brats at the Lions stands at various events in town, collecting deer hides for that annual drive, or working on a project to put benches down by the Hodag Park Boat Landing. Dick is also a volunteer for the local Kids Fishing group where they take children out fishing on area lakes. 


Jennifer Felty: Jennifer is the director of Headwaters Inc. in Rhinelander. She has worked to give the best possible care, connections, and stability to the lives of every client and staff at Headwaters. She has come up with innovative programming and partnered with many other non-profits and community organizations to make sure that everyone with every ability has a place in our community. 

Sara Tienhaara: She started a food program on Nicolet’s campus to help students and community members who are fighting with food scarcity issues and she worked with the college and community to offer a ride system with Northwoods Transit because she knows how difficult travel is for so many in our rural area. She helps to run and organize the Northwoods Job fair because she knows how important it is for families to have jobs with wages that can sustain them. She has worked with recently released inmates to help with coming back to school and community. 

Janet Jamison: Janet has been involved in one of the best things going on in Rhinelander right now, it’s a Facebook page called “Positively Rhinelander”, highlighting positive things going on in our community.

Cheryl Westbrook: Cheryl is a lifelong Rhinelander resident and has worked at the Pioneer Park Historical Museum and Polls for many years. She does so faithfully and without fanfare. Whenever she is called upon to help, she can be counted on.

Meg Sprecksel: Meg started a Northwoods Small Biz Bids Facebook page, where she gathers, organizes, and monitors an online auction every weekend. In the month of April alone, Meg’s auctions have put over $10,000 back into Rhinelander’s small businesses.  

Chris Fredrickson: In addition to being the mayor where Chris has fought to steadily improve the conditions of the city, he is a small business owner, and a respiratory therapist.

Robyn Metz: Robin coordinated a benefit raising money to feed some of the essential workers in our community a meal or coffee. She has gathered donations for Ruby’s Pantry and arranged deliveries to needy families. She has also coordinated pick up for school lunches and delivery to families that are still considered essential.  

Linda Conlon and staff of OC Health Dept: Works hard every hour of every day to keep our community educated, informed, healthy, and safe, especially during this crisis.

Kerry Bloedorn: Kerry works tirelessly to keep up our Pioneer Park Historical complex and preserve a piece of Rhinelander history for others to enjoy, learn about, and appreciate.

The RCF Board of Directors randomly selected one “Unsung Difference Maker” to recommend a qualified charitable organization to receive a grant in their name. Thanks to Kyle Parish for recommending a $250 grant towards the Boys and Girls Club of the Northwoods.

Congratulations to all – we appreciate your good community works!