Erdman, Knope receive top Optimist awards

Photo by Jim Leuenberger Shawano Optimist officers are, from left, seated, Barb Schmid, treasurer; Diane Lohff, vice president; Gary Cumberland, president; Jim Leisner, vice president; and Dawn Clark, secretary; standing, directors Lorine Raddant, Michael Johnston, Dan Mauel, Greg Parker and Dawn Knope, and Gail Moesch, outgoing president. Not pictured: Ryan Koenig.

Photo by Jim Leuenberger Receiving the Shawano Optimist Club’s top awards for the 2016-2017 Optimist Year were Dawn Knope, who received a life membership in Optimist International, and Doug Erdman, who was named Shawano Optimist of the Year. Shown, from left, are Gail Moesch, outgoing president; Knope; Tony Yaggie, Optimist WINUM district governor; and Erdman.

The Shawano Optimist Club recently celebrated its 41st anniversary, holding its annual installation and awards banquet, during which officers and directors for the coming year were installed and special awards presented.

Doug Erdman, a long-time member of the club who has served as a director, vice president and president, and has participated in nearly every club project and fundraiser, was named Optimist of the Year.

For her continued efforts on behalf of the club, including serving as club secretary, Dawn Knope received a life membership in Optimist International.

Outgoing President Gail Moesch thanked the club members for their support during her presidency.

“It was a great year,” Moesch said. “We raised over $21,000 to support our community’s youth as well as many worthwhile organizations. During the year, club members put in over 1,200 volunteer hours just to run all the events and at least that many hours planning for them. Each of our more than 50 members volunteered an average of 50 hours during the year serving the Shawano community. That’s pretty amazing.”

Officers and directors installed by WINUM District Governor Tony Yaggie were Gary Cumberland, president; Jim Leisner, vice president, fundraising; Diane Lohff, vice president, events; Dawn Clark, secretary; Barb Schmid, treasurer; Gail Moesch, immediate past president; and directors Greg Parker, Ryan Koenig, Dan Mauel, Greg Parker, Dawn Knope, Lorine Raddant and Michael Johnston.

Yaggie urged the Shawano Optimists to make it their goal to be an Honor Club and work to get more new members. He announced that the theme for Optimist International this year is “Optimist Strong – Be the Difference.”

“The WINUM district is very proud of what you do for the youth of the Shawano community,” Yaggie said. “As a district, our goals for the upcoming year are to do more to embrace social media to promote optimism and to highlight training to strengthen our district.”

Honored for perfect attendance at club meetings and events during the 2016-2017 Optimist year were: Jim Leuenberger, 40 years; Todd Raether, 23 years; Jim
Black, 19 years; Gail Moesch, 18 years; Barb Schmid, 17 years; Ron Schmalz, 15 years; Troy Edwards, 11 years; Ryan Alexander, 10 years; Doug Erdmann, nine years; Diane Lohff, eight years; Kay Bloomer and Gary Cumberland, six years; Dawn Knope, four years; Ryan Koenig, three years; Lorine Raddant, two years; and Bob Hannes, Greg Parker, Jennifer Schroeder and Dan Mauel, one year.

“It’s great to get together to celebrate our successes and set goals for the future,” Cumberland said. “We have a great team that works together to achieve its goals. The words love, serve and care really describe our club. Our members who love, serve and care are the ones who make a difference in our community.”

Cumberland added that his main goal for the year is member growth and retention.

“If we do that, we will be able to continue to serve our community well,” he said.

The Shawano Optimist Club has been serving the Shawano area since 1976. Annual youth projects include a bike rodeo, Christmas movies for kids, Respect for Law activities, boys and girls basketball tournaments, the Mountain Bay Run, a Rose Day fundraiser, a Scholastic Awards Banquet, which has been recognized by Optimist International as one of the top service projects in the nation, as well as basketball and football skills competitions.

The funds the Shawano Optimists raise each year are all returned to the Shawano community to support more than 30 organizations.

For information on becoming a member, contact Cumberland or any Optimist Club member.