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RSVP Volunteers Go The Extra Mile To Assist Veterans

Jan/Feb 2019

RSVP volunteers, Bette Marshall and Bernard Olson, have a few things in common. Both of them are volunteers for RSVP partnering site Jackson County Veterans Service Office. They are also committed to making sure transportation is available for veterans in need of rides to medical appointments. They believe that, after all that veterans have done for us, the last thing they need is to worry about how they are going to make it to an appointment. Without volunteers, these individuals most likely wouldn’t be able to receive medical treatment. One thing is certain, whether veterans are receiving rides for regular check-ups or crucial medical care, they are receiving more than just a ride. Many times, it is their only way to stay connected to the community and it gives them an opportunity to have conversations. They both feel it is a small thing that they are doing for such a large impact in their community and to each individual receiving the rides.

Bernard Olson has been a RSVP volunteer driver for 1 year. He has spent the majority of his life helping others. Bernard was a member of the fire department for 25 years. During that time, he had the opportunity to go with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to California to fight wildfires for a few weeks. After that, he had various jobs working for a telephone company, driving truck, and carpentry. He began volunteering because he knew of a couple of male volunteers who previously volunteered who were no longer able to, so he decided to start volunteer driving. When asked what he enjoys about the opportunity, he stated that he simply likes to drive. Bernard and his wife still take two trips out to the West Coast every year. Bernard is a veteran himself, he was in the Marine Corps and fought in the Korean War. He drives veterans to appointments in Milwaukee, Marshfield, La Crosse, Tomah, and Eau Claire. Bernard goes each place approximately two times a month. Bette is a retired school bus driver and has been a RSVP volunteer driver for a total of 9 years. She has been volunteer driving for 1 year with the Veterans Service Office, and many years for the Jackson County ADRC. After her husband passed away and she moved to an apartment, she needed to get out and do something. She refused to stay home and look at four walls all day. Bette doesn’t mind driving and it keeps her busy. Continued on Page 3‌



Western Dairyland EOC Inc. is a private, nonprofit community action agency established in 1966 for the purpose of alleviating povertyrelated conditions and assisting low-income families to achieve their economic self-reliance. We welcome your comments & suggestions about the Western Dairyland RSVP program. RSVP Contact Information Address: Western Dairyland EOC Inc. RSVP Program 23122 Whitehall Road Independence, WI 54747 Office hours: Monday - Friday from 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Website: www.westerndairyland.org/rsvp.phtml RSVP Program Director Cheryl Padula 715-985-2391 Ext. 1205 Cheryl.padula@wdeoc.org RSVP Program Assistant Erika Hobbs 715-985-2391 Ext. 1232 Erika.hobbs@wdeoc.org

Have You Moved? We want to hear from you! The RSVP Program has had the pleasure of working with many wonderful volunteers and watching the impact each person has made in their own community through volunteerism. We ask that you please help the RSVP office stay updated. Are you still volunteering? Perhaps you are not feeling well or maybe you have been physically unable to volunteer due to an illness or surgery? We also know summers are busy and you may be enjoying more time with your family which may result in being too busy to volunteer at this time. Whatever the reason, we would really like to hear from you. To insure that you receive RSVP volunteer recognition and to assist you with future RSVP volunteer opportunities, we ask that you be sure to record all volunteer hours at your volunteer work site. Feel free to contact us at anytime; we welcome your input, concerns and volunteer stories.

Call us at 1-800-782-1063 ext. 1205, 1207 or 1232.

Mary Back 715-985-2391 Ext. 1207 Mary.back@wdeoc.org

Welcome New Volunteers!! Sharon Foss Zoila Drost Randy Gluesing Steven Carter Carole Byrns Ellen Arndt Lavonne Breheim Carol Haugen Marie Eddy Bonita Harms Dean Wakershauser Mark Oevering Michelle Peterson

We look forward to hearing from you!

RSVP Volunteers Go The Extra Mile To Assist Veterans


Continued from Page 1... Bette’s husband and father were also veterans so she is very happy to help other veterans with transportation. She stated that most ride recipients are very grateful and appreciative. Bette receives personal gratification by providing rides to those in need. Bette said, “If I wasn’t doing something like this, I would probably ‘go nuts’.” Bette typically gives rides to individuals needing to go to doctor appointments in Tomah, La Crosse, Marshfield, Eau Claire, and Madison. Bette is sure to add that, if you aren’t able to drive when the Veterans Service Office calls, you don’t have to- it’s always your choice. However, Bette says, “if you are bored or unhappy with your life, become a volunteer driver with RSVP; it gives you purpose.” Bette also shared that most ride recipients like to chatter. If not, that is okay, Bette says, because that doesn’t stop her from talking. She likes to make them feel comfortable and give them a chance at having personal interaction since she may be the only one they have to talk with. Living in a small rural community can sometimes lead individuals to feel isolated and depressed. Bette says, “It is a small thing to do, sometimes you bond with your riders, especially when they have a lot of appointments. The hardest part is when you’ve developed this bond, their health declines and they are no longer with you. I still like doing it.” Randy Bjerke, Jackson County’s Veterans Service Officer, reiterated that comment. He said that he had a volunteer driver in the past who had developed a connection with a rider from sharing so many trips together. When the rider ended up in Tomah [hospice] they went down on their own time to visit the individual. Randy adds that ‘he is very grateful to have such helpful volunteers. Their office cannot function Pictured: (Left to Right): RSVP volunteers Bette without volunteer drivers- we rely on them.’ Marshall & Bernard Olson, with Veteran’s Service Office Assistant, Vanessa Mortenson. Vanessa Mortenson, Assistant for the Veteran’s Service Office, helps connect the riders in need to a volunteer driver. She is responsible for matching the rider and volunteer driver based on their locations and availability. Sometimes she is required to make exceptions when she is in a bind, but it usually works out for all involved. Vanessa is also very grateful for volunteers and appreciates their willingness to help veterans by providing rides to appointments. In 2017, volunteer drivers completed 217 trips (one way) for 124 veterans, totaling 31,427 miles! So far, for 2018, there have been 109 (one way) trips for 52 veterans, totaling 16,728 miles. Randy adds that the Veterans Service Office is actively looking for both substitute and regular volunteer drivers. It is flexible, you choose what you want to commit to and when you are available. Volunteers are not asked or required to help transfer individuals or lift wheelchairs or other equipment. Randy stated that there are some policies that they go over with interested volunteers as well as an application process through the county and typically they develop a list of volunteers to call and match them up based on location and availability whenever possible. It is door to door transportation that is provided. The Veterans Service Office is in critical need of volunteer drivers in order to continue to provide transportation services for all veterans in the county who are in need. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer driver, please call the RSVP office at 715-985-2391 Ext. 1205 to get started.



Gundersen Tri-County (Whitehall): The Care Center is seeking a committed volunteer to come in in twice a week for one hour each time to wash the display windows, water the birds, and clean up the bottom of the display. Please call us to learn more about getting started with this opportunity! Tax Assistance- Jackson County is in need of 3-4 volunteers to prepare individual tax returns. Volunteers will attend a 3-day training in either La Crosse or Eau Claire depending on preference; mileage reimbursed for the training portion. This short-term volunteer opportunity offers a big impact. Current RSVP volunteers love what they do. Don’t miss out on this opportunity! Trempealeau County Tax Assistance- Do you enjoy doing taxes or are you willing to learn? This short-term volunteer opportunity (February through April) offers a 3-day training in La Crosse. We are also looking for a volunteer to come to the Western Dairyland office in Independence to schedule tax appointments during the upcoming tax season. Call to learn more! Cents & Sensibility Thrift Store (Independence) : Do you like to organize and/or multi-task? If so, this volunteer opportunity is for you! Volunteers are needed to help staff process donations, steam clothing to be hung on clothing racks, laundering items, and basic organizing throughout the store. Please call today to learn more about how you can help Cents & Sensibility continue to positively impact local communities!

DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO WOULD BENEFIT FROM BECOMING AN RSVP VOLUNTEER? Existing RSVP volunteers make our best recruits! Feel free to pass this newsletter on to someone 55+ that you think would be a great match for the RSVP Program. We have a variety of opportunities available. Make sure to share what being an RSVP volunteer means to YOU!

For ad info. call 1-800-950-9952 • www.4lpi.com

Western Dairyland, Independence, WI

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American Red Cross (Eau Claire): Looking to utilize your customer service skills and/or gain new skills? The Red Cross is currently seeking a Donor Ambassador to welcome, greet donors and provide general assistance throughout the blood donation process. The volunteer would also be responsible for making reminder calls, re-scheduling appointments, completing follow ups as needed and attending to donors in the Hospitality Area to ensure they are recognized for their contribution. Orientation provided by the Red Cross. If you are interested in volunteering at the Red Cross, please give us a call today for a more detailed description . RSVP Advisory Council (Seeking volunteer representatives in Buffalo, Eau Claire, Jackson, and Pepin counties): The RSVP Program is looking for members in several counties to join the Advisory Council . Volunteers would meet in Independence at the Western Dairyland office from 1-3 pm, three times a year. Meetings are typically held in April, July, and October. Advisory Council members come to share ideas and what is happening in their county as well as discuss the needs of your communities/county. If you would like to learn more about this opportunity, please give us a call today at 715-985-2391 Ext. 1205

You have gained a lifetime of experience. Now is the time to put your skills & talents to good use by volunteering through the RSVP Program and make an impact in your community.

36328 Main Street PO Box 37 Whitehall, WI 54773

715-538-1500 Augusta Location

Dan Page to place an ad today!

dpage@lpiseniors.com or (800) 950-9952 x5875

For ad info. call 1-800-950-9952 • www.4lpi.com

1214 West Lincoln St P.O. Box 410 Augusta, WI 54722


Pigeon Falls Location 40214 S. Ekern Ave. P.O. Box 489 Pigeon Falls, WI 54760



Western Dairyland, Independence, WI

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Helping millions of low to moderate income people, especially those 60 and older, needing help preparing and E-filing their taxes. Galesville-Mondays First Presbyterian Church February: 4,11,25 March: 4,11,25 April: 1,8

Whitehall– Wednesdays River Valley Mutual Ins. Company (Use side door on Scranton St.) February: 6,13,20,27 March: 13,20,27 April: 3,10

Ettrick-Thursday Living Hope Lutheran Church

Osseo– Wednesday City Hall (Charles St. entrance across from Library)

February: 21

March: 6

Strum– Mondays Strum Public Library February: 18 March: 18

Appointment Hours are 9-1 pm Appointments are required. Please call Western Dairyland to schedule an appointment @ the number below.

Call Mary at 715-985-2391 Ext. 1207 PLEASE BRING: Identification, Last year’s tax return, 2018 Property tax bill, Property taxes “paid” in 2018, Rent certificate, SSI amounts received, W2’s (NO out of state earnings), 1099 or another form with federal & state tax paid (Retirement, Social Security [pink & white], Unemployment, Gambling), Health insurance costs, Childcare costs, Educational costs. ALL ADULTS MUST BE PRESENT TO SIGN UNLESS YOU HAVE POWER OF ATTORNEY!



Driver Safety: *

Know your route before you drive


Always wear a seat belt


Never talk on the phone or text while driving


Don’t use cruise control in winter weather


Slow down. Speed limits are set for ideal driving

conditions, not winter weather

* Leave room for snow plows. By law, drivers must maintain a 200-ft distance from the rear of the plow *

Review dangers of winter conditions with young drivers

Vehicle Safety: *

Check tires for tread wear. (Tip: Insert a penny with Abraham Lincoln’s head facing down between the grooves; if you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, its time to replace the tires.)


Check the car battery for proper voltage. If you don’t have a volt meter, many auto parts stores will test your battery for free.


Check the coolant reservoir for sufficient coolant/antifreeze.


Keep gas tank at lease half-full to avoid condensation and freezing.


Prepare a winter storm kit for each vehicle. Ensure each kit has the following:

- Blankets

- Waterproof Gloves

- Socks

- Water

- Shovel

- First-Aid Kit

- Non-Perishable Snacks

- Windshield Scraper

- Cell Phone Adapter

- Car Battery Cables

- Bag of Cat Litter/Sand (for traction) - Flashlight/Extra batteries

*See more at: https://bit.ly/2EAxX6Y

RENTAL HOUSING ASSISTANCE • All Housing Authority Owned Units • We Offer All Bedroom Sizes • There Is A Short Wait For 3-Bedroom And Handicapped Accessible Units

Looking for an apartment? The Housing Authority of the City of Eau Claire can help. Applications are currently available for all Housing Authority housing programs.

• Subject To Housing Authority Selection Criteria Which May Include: Background Check, Landlord Reference Check, Credit History • Must Meet Federal Household Income Limits

For ad info. call 1-800-950-9952 • www.4lpi.com

Please pick up an application from the Housing Authority office at 203 South Farwell Street or call the Housing Authority at 839-4943 for more information. You can also contact the office if you require voice TDD, specialized needs due to handicap (such as sign language interpreter, wheelchair accessibility, reader) or if you need a bilingual interpreter. Call the Housing Authority for application, income guidelines, and other qualifications

Western Dairyland, Independence, WI

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Every year RSVP sends every active volunteer a Volunteer Satisfaction Survey. In 2018, we sent out a total of 418 surveys and 238 volunteers responded. That is a response rate for over 50%!! Thank you RSVP volunteers for taking the time to give us the feedback we need to make the program the best it can be! Here are the results: 99% of volunteers are satisfied with their overall RSVP experiences. 97% of RSVP volunteers are satisfied with the recognition they receive as a volunteer. 98% of volunteers are satisfied with the positive impact they make as a RSVP volunteer.

MOJO’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning

We are your choice for

Residential & Commercial

and adults with disabilities.

Carpet & Upholstery Water Extractions Pet Urine Stain Removals Automobile Interiors Tile • Hard Surfaces

715-985-FAST or 715-530-0676

Long-Term Care for Seniors Helping you remain safe, independent, and active in your community.

1-877-489-3814 www.mychoicefamilycare.org

For ad info. call 1-800-950-9952 • www.4lpi.com

Western Dairyland, Independence, WI

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Sausage and Vegetable Stew Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Level: Easy

Cook Time: 26 Minutes

Yield: 4 Servings

Total Time: 46 Minutes Optional: Crusty bread, for serving *See more at: https://bit.ly/2BrpU8M

Directions: Ingredients:

-Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or heavy pot over me-

3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

dium heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring occa-

1 Lg. red onion, diced

sionally, until soft and glistening, about 6 minutes. Add

4 cloves garlic, smashed

the paprika and 1 teaspoon salt; cook until the oil turns

1 Tbsp. paprika, plus more for garnish

deep red, about 1 minute. Add the flour and cook until

Kosher salt

just toasted, 30 more seconds. Immediately whisk in 4

3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

cups water. Add the kielbasa, carrots, parsnips, potatoes

6 oz. kielbasa, cut into small chunks

and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.

3 medium carrots, peeled & cut into large chunks -Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer; cover 2 parsnips, peeled & cut into large chunks

and cook until the vegetables are tender and the broth has

6-8 small red-skinned or new potatoes quartered

thickened, about 20 minutes. Add the vinegar and season

1 Tbsp. cider vinegar

with pepper.

Freshly ground pepper

-Combine about half of the parsley with the sour cream in

1/2 C. fresh parsley, roughly chopped

a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the

3/4 C. sour cream

stew into bowls; top with the remaining parsley, a dollop of herbed sour cream and a sprinkle of paprika.


Care & Comfort for those nearest & dearest to you...

Welcome to our home! 715-672-3710

Call for a free quote with no obligations.

We also offer critical care and cancer coverage. Your independent agent for 22 years

Catherine Gunnarson 715-495-1262

1103 E. Laneville Ave Durand, Wisconsin

We offer the most competitive medicare supplements in the state.

For ad info. call 1-800-950-9952 • www.4lpi.com

Western Dairyland, Independence, WI

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The Red Cross and its partners will install a limited number of free smoke alarms for those who cannot afford to purchase smoke alarms or for those who are physically unable to install a smoke alarm. The Red Cross installs a limited number of specialized bedside alarms for individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

An online form available at: https://getasmokealarm.org/ or call 800-RED-CROSS to be connected to your local Red Cross Chapter to request a free installation.

If you are able to purchase and install your own smoke alarm, but would like information on home fire safety and smoke alarm installation, please visit:: redcross.org/sound-the-alarm.

Independent Living Solutions Certified Age-In-Place Specialist

Aging and Disability Resource Centers are the first place to go with your aging and disability needs~

ADRC’s are “Information Stations”!

1-866-578-2372 ADRC of Buffalo, & Pepin Counties

For ad info. call 1-800-950-9952 • www.4lpi.com

Financing available and all major credit cards accepted

Brent Megahan P:612-743-7373 MN LIC# BC630902

www.mnils.com E: Brent@mnils.com

Make your house a home for a lifetime.

Mention this Ad for a 10% discount.

Western Dairyland, Independence, WI

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For ad info. call 1-800-950-9952 • www.4lpi.com

Western Dairyland, Independence, WI

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RSVP Volunteer Office 23122 Whitehall Road PO Box 125 Independence, WI 54747


Return Service Requested

Western Dairyland’s RSVP program serves Buffalo, Eau Claire, Jackson, Pepin and Trempealeau counties.


Profile for Western Dairyland

January/February 2019 RSVP Newsletter  

January/February 2019 RSVP Newsletter