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Oconomowoc community servants earn annual honor for sticking their necks out

Annual Giraffe Awards thanks residents for service

Nov. 21, 2012

Prudential Absolute Realtors recently hosted its 15th annual Giraffe Awards to recognize and honor volunteers throughout the Lake Country.

The Giraffe Awards were established in 1996 to celebrate volunteerism and the individuals who "stick their neck out" for others.

"We recognize and thank these special people for their service to others; their continuing gift of time is an invaluable asset to our communities, the volunteer organizations they serve and the lives touched by their generosity," organizer Lucine Spheeris said.

The 2012 Giraffe Award Recipients are.

Anna Schwabe

Schwabe was honored for her volunteer spirit and her participation in a meal program for the homeless in Milwaukee. She has also participated in social activities at Shorehaven, trick-or-treat for the food pantry, children's choir and cantoring at St. Jerome Parish and volunteering at the Oconomowoc Public Library reading program.

Katelyn Herne

Herne has found many ways to contribute to the community, From Christmas caroling at Shorehaven, trick-or-treating for the food pantry, working with a group that helps the elderly and disabled adults in the county with household chores. She also helps to serve meals at missions through St. Jerome Parish, participates on the Teen Advisory Board and Summer Reading program as well as raising money to renovate the teen section of the library.

Sigi Miller

Nominated by Lynne Marris and Cheryl Prescott, Miller has been described as a "consummate volunteer" who adds fun whenever she is involved. Miller has been involved with many organizations including as an Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital Auxiliary member, active in organizing the Tour of Homes. She has also served with the PTA at OHS and as a leader in many school events, been active with the Oconomowoc Cancer Walk, fundraising for new Oconomowoc tennis courts, and helped to organize the boat parade. In addition, Miller's volunteer efforts include Oconomowoc Soccer Association concessions, past Girl Scout leader, 2012 co-chair for the Lake Are Free Clinic gala and as a supporter of the Oconomowoc Area Foundation.

Bob Schowalter

Schowalter was cited for bringing people together for a common vision and as a role model of dedication. "His contributions range from policy-making and planning initiatives to hands-on, boots-on-the-ground work," PaulaJacobs and Robert Denman said in their nomination.

Schowalter has been at Angels Grace Hospice since 2003 sharing his businessmanagement skills and is a home hospice volunteer. He donates all the trees for the YMCA at Pabst Farms annual tree sale, with all the proceeds going to the organization. He is a member of Oconomowoc Rotary Club and is involved in other efforts including Theresa's Benefit for Pancreatic Cancer, Lake Area Free Clinic, Roger's Hospital and in leadership roles at his church. Schowalter's latest initiative is Zachariah's Acres, a respite care facility for kids with special health care needs.

Sharon Manke

A mainstay in volunteer circles, Manke was honored for her many examples of dedication to the community including: 34 years of teaching Sunday school, visiting shut-ins, food duties for the 5,000Imagination Station volunteers, helping at Lake Area Free Clinic events, advocating for fellow breast cancer survivors, coordinating tasks at Kids Fest, directing ghouls at Haunted High and teaching middle school students how to save for their future.

Manke serves as a Shorehaven board member, incoming Kiwanis president and is involved in Silver Streak and the Oconomowoc Area Foundation, to name a few or the organizations she serves.

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