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The Rhinelander Community Foundation Honors Unsung Difference Makers

The Rhinelander Community Foundation reached out to the community to find unsung difference makers. These are persons who work tirelessly for nonprofit organizations without recognition and most often, without seeking recognition. RCF believes that while they may not seek out recognition, these persons deserve to be honored. These are persons who truly do make a difference in our community. RFC will select one of our nominated recipients randomly and donate $250 to the organization of their choice.

The following are this year’s honorees and what members of the community have said about them:

Teresa Ellis
Reason for Nomination
“Teresa Ellis is a vital part of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee at Nicolet College. Teresa has taken it upon herself to not only become more informed on these areas but to share the knowledge and create opportunities for others as well. Teresa has created book clubs to help tackle tough conversations, issues, and challenges in areas of race, identity, and other topics that are often under represented. She is an advocate for all and helps others to be as well. Teresa uses her kindness and grace to help others and inspires me and others to do better, and be better.”

Myles Alexander
Reason for Nomination
“Myles is more devoted to the community than anyone I know. Myles helped create a committee to address the water pollution issue we faced and helped the city move toward and actionable plan. Myles is crucial to the community garden project being built at Nicolet College. He is a leader in community leadership education and development and in helping with several online resources to build up the communities leaders. Myles quietly and humbly contributes to area economic development initiatives, entrepreneurship ecosystem building, and community placemaking efforts. He is a wonderful mentor and an even better friend to everyone he meets. We are a better community because he’s a part of it.”

Liz Karnosky Dellenbach
Reason for Nomination
“Liz donates her time and heart to helping the community in any way she can. Liz joined the board of Boys and Girls Club of the Northwoods and found they needed assistance raising funds and jumped in with both feet. She singlehandedly created a garage sale fundraiser which raised over 6 thousand dollars, one of the clubs most successful fundraiser to date and is doing another this spring/summer as well. Liz donates her time, money, and expertise in so many other community needs for non-profit organizations, families, and fundraisers. Liz does it all without looking for any kind of recognition although she often praises others for it. She is often the quiet but strong force that pushes efforts forward.”

Rod Olson
Reason for Nomination
“I nominate Rod Olson for the “Unsung Difference Maker” award. Rod, a life-long Hodag, has had a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of youth through the years. I first met him when he coached my own children twenty years ago in youth soccer. He has given up countless evenings and weekends for these various activities and continues to be at the forefront of their success. Rod has been involved in the following youth sports organizations: Currently coaches RHS Alpine Ski team for past 30 years; Coached RHS Track for 7 years; Coached for the Rhinelander Soccer Association for 13 years; and is a ongoing member of the Hodag Water Show Board of Directors for the past 37 years. Additionally Rod has been involved in various other civic groups: Member of the Ripco Board of Directors for 13 years; current member of the Hodag Park Planning committee; member of the Vote Yes committee, and helped planned the Duck Days. Rod’s longevity and dedication to these area organizations is outstanding and yet has gone unrecognized.”

Al Joswiak
Reason for Nomination
“Al is one of the main drivers behind the amazing silent sports (XC skiing, mountain biking, snowshoeing, hiking) trails that are available in our area. Al is a founding member of the Rhinelander Area Silent Trails Association RASTA) and is still very active with this group which is made up of dedicated volunteers who spend hours on trail design, construction and maintenance. Without Al’s hard work and thousands of volunteer hours he has given, the trails would not be what they are today. These trails bring people from all over who want to enjoy the great activities they were designed for. Al is also a huge supporter of youth getting involved in biking and he supports the youth BMX and Mt. Bike teams. He is a great teacher and gets youth involved in the volunteer trail work. Our community is very fortunate to have Al and his drive to help make this one full of opportunities for people to get out and enjoy nature.”

Colleen Finn
Reason for Nomination
“Colleen is someone that makes such a difference in our community in so many ways, however she is so humble that many may not know everything she is involved in. I am always in awe of the large amount of her time that she gives to others. She volunteers at the Food Pantry every Monday, WXPR radio show host on Tuesday, ArtStart helping with events and concerts as well as the occasional Saturday to open and assist. She also has helped at the Senior Center assisting community members in doing their taxes. She has helped with the Community Garden and roadside stands for vendors. You will often find her at Nicolet College helping with plays, music events as she helps take tickets and with seating. An active participant in silent sports, you may find her helping out at an area ski event or supporting her beloved Public Library. She is willing to dive into whatever comes her way. She quietly donates money to many community activities from student sports to fine arts. Those that know her feel blessed by her positive, caring energy and willingness to help anyone in need. Not only giving of her time but of her true compassion for others. Always ready with a smile, listening ear and true empathy as she wants to genuinely know, how are you? She deeply cares about Rhinelander and we know she makes it a better place. Thank you Colleen!”

Elvis Bauman
Reason for Nomination
“For over 20 years, Elvis Bauman has led the efforts to grow and conserve the Crystal Lake Scout Reservation in his role as Camp Ranger. Leading by example, Elvis is a role model to the hundreds, if not thousands, of youthful camp staffers who have worked with him throughout the years and who make Rhinelander their temporary home each summer. Together, Elvis and his team provide the “behind-the-scenes” support necessary to continue the world-class Scouting summer camp experience for the thousands of campers who visit Camp and Rhinelander each summer. Day in and out, Elvis puts all his heart into his work to make the Crystal Lake Scout Reservation and the Rhinelander community a better place. To no end, he continues to do just that, sparing every moment he has to help others. Elvis always talks about his involvement in the local community including his help with the Rhinelander Habitat for Humanity store, his work with disabled hunters and veterans, his mentorship to the Tesomas Conservation Foundation, his regular support of local businesses, including his wife’s, and his general love of the community which he has chosen not to leave for other opportunities. Needless to say, without Elvis, this haven in the Northwoods and the thousands of lives it has touched would not be the same.”

The 2021 unsung difference maker grant to the Rhinelander District Library’s building fund will be given in honor of Myles Alexander.