Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Chamber pays tribute to local humanitarians

by Robert Ireland & Chris Schultz

May 12, 2011

Fontana — When talking to Father Dan Sanders, it’s easy to steer the conversation to humility.

Sanders called it “the most difficult virtue,” but one he tries to practice.

However, it was difficult for him to be humble last week when a reporter called him asking about winning the Citizen of the Year award.

On May 4, the Geneva Lake West Chamber of Commerce recognized Pam Knorr, of Walworth; John Grove, of Williams Bay; and Sanders, of Fontana, during its annual award lunch.

Rotarian and educator

For more than 20 years, Knorr has served as the District Administrator for Walworth Elementary School and as a Rotarian with the Walworth-Fontana Rotary Club.

In volunteer efforts, she has worn both hats, bringing students and Rotarians together to work on community efforts.

“I share a belief that if kids are around good adult role models they will learn from them,” she said.

Every December, Knorr brings Rotarians to the school to work side by side with students to pack boxes of food, which are provided to families in need.

For the annual Corn and Brat Festival, Knorr works with students to shuck corn.

“I have shucked corn for 17 years and have enjoyed the interaction with the kids and the public,” she said. “It is a real community and family event.”

During the Chamber luncheon, Knorr said there was a PowerPoint presentation, which showed all the past award winners.

“I’m humbled. The people who have been past recipients, to be considered part of that group, is a deep, deep honor,” Knorr said. “I was amazed by the past recipient presentation. I’m in very good company. To think I can be part of that is an amazing thing. It’s very humbling.”

She also serves on the village’s Library Board.

Knorr said Wednesday was a whirlwind for her. After she left the Chamber of Commerce lunch, she travelled to Green Bay for a state superintendent conference.

At the conference, she received another award for serving 15 years as a superintendent.

Knorr was nominated for the award by Bob Rauland, Pat and Steve Werner, Kelly Freeman, Terry Schultz and Don Buchert.

Father Dan

The leader of St. Benedict’s Church, who has helped bring the parish closer to the community, was honored to win the Citizen of the Year award.

“I’m humbled and blessed that the community as a whole has shown appreciation for the people who do great work. That is often unheard of,” Sanders said.

During his 11-year tenure at the church, Sanders said he has invited different community groups

Annually, the village’s Rescue Squad hosts its pancake breakfast at the church. The church also is part of the rotation for the county’s homeless shelter.

In an emergency situation, the Fontana Elementary School can use St. Benedict’s for shelter and the church also hosts blood drives.

Sanders said the church has worked to beautify the landscaping on the grounds.

Afterall, Sanders said, the church is one of the first locations visitors of Fontana see when they travel north into town on Highway 14.

The church also hosts a Friday night Fish Fry during lent, which has become a “community building event for the all the people in the area.”

Although Sander’s faith plays a role in his efforts to serve the area, he believes anyone can answer a call to service.

“We can call on anybody, no matter the faith or lack of faith, to be good citizens,” Sanders said.

Although Sanders has made a major impact on the area, is time in Fontana is coming to an end. He is being relocated and he won’t know where he is going until next week.

St. Benedicts already has a new pastor, who will take command of the pulpit June 21.

A community leader

John Grove has a long list of accomplishments.

He worked at George Williams College for many years, starting out in service and security and working his way up to Conference Center and then golf course management.

Grove was a volunteer with the Williams Bay Fire Department from 1984 to 2000.

He is a three-term member of the Village Board, and has served on every Village Board committee.

He played a key role in the renovation of the Bay’s beach and was involved in the construction of a new beach house.

He was influential in negotiating the water and sewer agreement between Williams Bay and Mercy Walworth.

Grove was Herr Schmidt at the Old World Wisconsin outdoor museum near Eagle, where he tended the animals and interpreted life of the early settlers as part of the museum. He continues to publicize Old World Wisconsin.

Grove was a Day in Time, Walworth County senior day care volunteer. He helped develop programs and performed hands-on care for participants.

He is a member of St. Benedict’s Church in Fontana, and coordinates the usher schedule.

He is an on-call volunteer with the Williams Bay Recreation Department and has been a judge for the Bay’s Dog Day in the Bay.”

He is also a volunteer with the Walworth County Public Health Department.

John also works with the state Department of Motor Vehicles. He’s the guy with the camera, who takes the picture and puts the license together.

John and his wife, Pat, raised three sons, welcomed three daughters-in-law into their family and now have eight grandchildren.