HOBART, Wis. (WFRV) – The American Red Cross’ Northeast Wisconsin Chapter hosted a golf outing and heroes reception to raise money and celebrate the work that local heroes have done in the past year in the community.
“If you have to spend your Monday a certain way, being out golfing is the way to do it,” Red Cross Northeastern Wisconsin Chapter executive director Rebecca Rockhill said. “It’s a great way to highlight the good things being done in our community at the same time as raising money for the mission.”
Golfers had mixed performances. Some landed the ball onto the green with a beautiful backspin, and others sliced their drives directly into the woods.
“We’re going to stick to the day job, I don’t know where we are, we’re probably four or five under, so we’ve got a few holes to go, and we’ll try to put a few more on the board,” Schneider vice president of operations Nate Borchert said.
No matter the performances of the golfers, the most important part of the day was the money raised to help the Red Cross in its efforts to help people in need around the world – and celebrate the heroes in our own backyard.
“I was just doing my job,” Appleton lifeguard Lola Levin said. “It’s just part of the job, and we train for it all the time.”
Last summer at Erb Pool, Levin had just begun her shift when she noticed a 3-year-old girl drowning near a kiddie slide. She sprung into action, blowing her whistle three times to alert the other guards, who cleared the pool.
At the same time, off-duty Neenah police officer Nathan Franzke was playing with his own daughter when he saw the child in trouble. He gave his daughter to his wife on the pool deck and sprung into action.
“You don’t even think about what should I do, you just go into action,” he said.
Together, Levin and Franzke administered CPR to the young girl, saving her life. They also hugged when they greeted each other Monday afternoon and posed for pictures together to commemorate their service to their community.
On the other side of the room sat Torre Willadsen, a veteran who served in Afghanistan. He was already a hero, but became an even bigger one when he took action following his return home in 2016 when he recognized that sometimes even heroes need saving.
“When I got back from Afghanistan in 2012, there was a huge influx of suicide in the battalion I was with,” he said. “And I had to do something about it.”
So the Marine dog handler put his canine training skills to work, training dogs in need of homes to be support animals for veterans as he founded his nonprofit Dogs to Dog Tags. To date, he has saved the lives of 33 veterans and 33 dogs.
All of the heroes will tell you that they are just doing their jobs or doing the right thing. They are, and they are also saving lives at the same time.