Reviewing The 2018 Holi-days of Giving
This year’s Holi-Days of Giving program was an incredible experience for all involved. We received hundreds nominations this year and found 13 families/individuals who deserved a little extra holiday cheer this year. Each recipient received $500 in holiday gifts from the Bank. Thank you to everyone who nominated someone this year for the program. We wish you all a very happy holiday season! If you have a moment, we would encourage you to scroll through the photos and read some of the chosen nominations.
Branch: Oconomowoc Main
Gift Recipient: Kevin & Kavyn
Nomination: "Kavyn and Kevin started their lives together in 2013. Both wanting children, they were losing hope when after years of trying they finally became pregnant. Only 3 months into the pregnancy, they were dealt a devastating loss when Kavyn miscarried. As part of the healing process they decided to look into becoming foster parents. Even though they live in Pewaukee, they decided to pursue their foster-to-adopt license in Milwaukee County. They completed hours and hours of training and were awarded their license on May 4th, 2016, which also happened to be the day they got married! Only about 6 weeks later, in the end of June, they received a call asking if they would be willing to take newborn, TWIN boys, who had been born positive for heroin. They agreed, slightly terrified of what they might be getting into with twins. But they spent 3 days at the hospital with the boys while they were being weaned off the drugs. While waiting for the boys to be cleared to go home, they got to work contacting family and friends to borrow anything baby-related they could. While they were prepared for one child, they were NOT prepared for two at the same time. People were so generous and helped provide a lot of items they would need to at least get by for a time. Jameson, the second twin born was the first to come home. Elias followed 3 days later. They quickly developed a routine with the boys and having these two kids fulfilled their lives in ways they couldn't even imagine. Now, almost 2.5 years, countless court visits, and a few instances where they thought the children might be sent to live with others, they have a set adoption date of December 7th. They are over the moon happy and excited that these boys will be a forever part of their family. However, as part of the foster program, their daycare has been paid for until this point. After their adoption, Kavyn and Kevin will need to pay for daycare going forward, as they both work. Daycare costs are about $2,000 per month. A gift of $500 would cover a week of care, slightly easing the financial burden. Every little bit helps and I know they would be incredibly grateful for the gift."
Branch: Brown Street
Gift Recipient: Michelle
Nomination: "Michelle is a single mom, mother of 3, a veteran of the US Army who is currently struggling with medical issues. Despite her medical challenges, she continues to support a local non-profit called Street Angels in their efforts to care for the poor and needy living on the streets of Milwaukee. She collects donations and sorts them in her home for distribution to homeless "friends" in need. She also puts together care packages for those able to find housing. She is an amazing woman and so deserving of an extra special gift this holiday. Whether it be a gift card, spa certificate, movie passes, dinner certificate, or whatever. Regardless how big or how small the gift is, I know she would be thankful and she's so deserving! Thanks for the opportunity to share her story and to nominate her!"
Teri did a great job keeping this a surprise for Michelle as you can tell from the photos below!
Gift Recipient Jennifer
Nomination: "In April of 2009, Jenny lost her husband (Heath) in a plane crash while working for the WI DNR. Jenny was left with no husband and two sons (ages 5 and 2 at the time). In November of 2016, her youngest (Brett) was diagnosed with bone cancer (at age 9). The treatment required a leg amputation...and it looked like they got the cancer under control. A couple months ago...the cancer returned and is now in Brett's upper spine. This is just a horrible burden for anyone to have to shoulder...and I'd love it if we could do something for Jenny and/or the boys. They could certainly use some holiday cheer."
Branch: Brookfield West
Gift Recipient: Connie
Nomination: "My dearest friend of 52 has pancreatic cancer and has a limited time to live. She has such strength of trying to fight this and with her faith in the lord, she has 4 children and her youngest is 14. Extra help during this last Holiday would be a blessing to help them celebrate life this season. Bless all and thank you for doing what you do." Connie's husband and daughter came to receive the gift.
Branch: Brookfield East
Gift Recipient: Jacob
Nomination: "Jacob is a young man of 32 with a wife and little girl. He has fought Crohn’s disease most of his life and of recent has been very ill and hospitalized often. He worked for our company for a few months and had to quit due to extreme complications. During surgery they discovered colon cancer and he has been under treatment for maybe 3/4 year. Due to his weakness he can barely work and must go to hospital 3x a week for 4 hours to receive infusions. But Jacob’s attitude is humbling to us all, as he tries so very hard to be positive. His FB page says, “God’s plan isn’t always our plan, but His plan is always the right plan.” Jacob could use some encouragement and probably in great need of income to support his family. The little girl is 2 or 3 years old. "
Nominator: Dave, Kim Noah + Caleb
Gift Recipient: Kurt + Jennifer
Nomination: "They are leaving for make a wish on the 16th. He has Larson Syndrome which affects the development of all his bones. He has other medical issues a long with this. There is no cure. He is confined to his wheelchair. He require around the clock care. He has several surgeries to look forward to. One is in TX next year. He had an older brother (Dylan – age 13) who passed away from this. He has two sisters that are not affected. His father works 2 jobs (one is a fireman for Menomonee Falls) His mother also works. Lots of family and friends take turns staying with him. Medical bills are not fully covered. The vehicle used to transport him is not in very good condition. You couldn’t meet a more deserving family."
Nominator: Dave, Kim Noah + Caleb
Gift Recipient: Bethanie
Nomination: "Over the last several years Bethanie has experienced escalating health issues. Paired with the demands of her children’s concerns, her sick time is tapped out. At this point, she is in the hospital for an extended time, and has been unable to work for over two months. She's a single mother and won't be home for Thanksgiving. She has been an active volunteer in the Glendale Community. In July, despite her poor health and being in a wheelchair, she volunteered at the Fourth of July for Glendale this year ALL DAY LONG! She has been a true "giver" to others."
The Glendale team also got together donations for another one of the well deserving nomiations. Way to go Glendale!
Gift Recipient: Joe
Nomination: "Joe works so hard and is an incredible father to his three kids. His full-time job is as an emergency services dispatcher for the Ozaukee County Sheriff's Department. He works regular overtime shifts to help make ends meet. Joe is also a volunteer Reserve Sergeant for the Saukville Police Department. He is on-call and runs out at a moments notice to help those in need at all hours. In addition he is an assistant coach for his youngest son's soccer team every Fall and Spring. Joe is incredibly hardworking and selfless. He never asks for anything for himself. Times have been tough and money is tight, but Joe always has a good attitude! Joe's wish this year is to be able to give his three kids a nice Christmas. To him this means a few meaningful gifts each as well as taking them out to a nice dinner and a movie, and possibly a night away. Joe believes that making memories is more important than things."
Gift Recipient: Sandy
Nomination: "Sandy has an 11 year old grandson that has De-Novo unbalanced translocated 5th and 6th chromosome as well as Mitochondrial disease. Devon Sweeney was from Hartford, WI however he needed to be closer to the mayo clinic. So a few years ago Sandy and her husband John moved their daughter and three grandchildren to their trailer they own in Lake Tomahawk. They are the sole financial providers between both households. Sandy goes up every single weekend to relieve her daughter from "Devon" duty. Devon needs to be on 24hrs care. Since they cannot afford a nurse Devon's mother Amanda cannot work. She must stay home and take care of the kids. Sandy drives up every weekend and that costs a lot of money as well as takes a toll on her vehicle. Devon's lungs have collapsed and he is now in hospice care at home. Medicaid denied him coverage for oxygen because is not at least 15 years old. So now Sandy and her husband need to pay for something we all take for granted, oxygen since Medicaid refuses to cover it. They are all exhausted. Emotionally, financially. Anything to give Sandy a little hope and joy this holiday season is worth it. I hope you consider her. More on Devon's story can be found here: https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/columnists/better-angels/2018/07/31/... https://www.gofundme.com/tt4e74-devon-quotsuper-dquot-sweeney Thank you for your consideration."
During this special presentation, Sandy's grandson and daughter also skyped in to watch. It was a very emotional time for all.
Gift Recipient: TJ, Sharpan, and Aubrey
Nomination: "The children's mother passed away of breast cancer six years ago. Unfortunately, last week, their father suffered a massive stroke, followed by a brain bleed, and a few days later on November 7th, he died of the brain bleed, leaving his three children orphaned with no family in the area. The father had suffered a stroke a number of years ago as well, and wasn't able to maintain their home well and it is now uninhabitable. The children have been staying with a family friend until other plans can be made. I don't know the children well, but I knew their father as he was one of the Tae Kwon Do instructors at the school where I study martial arts. He was a kind and gentle soul who encouraged many many students and helped shape many young lives in a positive direction. Their family never had much money, but they all worked hard to make the world a better place, and went on mission trips to help developmentally disabled adults in Romania."
Bank Five Nine gifted each of the children a $150 amazon gift card.
Branch: Menomonee Falls
Gift Recipient: Jen
Nomination: "I work with Jen at Richmond School. Jen is the MOST amazing co-worker - she is always willing to help out with anything! Her patience and talent is unmatched - Jen will jump into to sub ANY class, offer to make creative artwork for walls, work with and calm down upset children and ALWAYS has a smile on her face! Last year her husband experienced some very serious health issues and is no longer able to work. Their lives have been a roller coaster of emotions and struggles and through it all, yet Jen has stayed positive and encouraging to everyone else. She deserves to be taken care of as well. She is always there for everyone, her family, friends, and her students - she carries so much on herself. I would love for her to be able to give her girls gifts this Christmas and do something special for herself as well."
Nominator: MaryAnn Hanley
Gift Recipient: Laura Hanley
Nomination: "Laura is a 26 year old who has dealt with Lupus for the last 10 years yet has found the strength to not only work as a CNA at Aurora Medical Center but also put herself through Nursing School at MATC where she will graduate in May 2019. She never complains and always finds time to help others in need. I feel a day to pamper herself would be just what she needs."
Branch: West Bend
Nominator: Tina on behlaf of Green Tree Elementary School
Gift Recipient: Jennifer
Nomination: "Jen has been a special education professional for many years. She has tremendous patience in working with students and she cares tremendously for them. Jen is always willing to jump in and help others. She is one of those people who always has a positive attitude no matter what life throws at her. In July, very unexpectedly, Jen found out she had lung cancer.They acted very quickly with starting chemo and after that radiation. Throughout this journey, she still thinks of other people. Even though she is going through treatment, Jen still continues to help others. She misses the students and hopes to come back and volunteer with them soon. This diagnosis has taken a severe financial toll on the family. She has two children in middle and high school. She loves to spend with her family. "