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Spirit of Giving Award winners earn praise

Dr. Brian Ewert (center), Marshfield Clinic executive director, is flanked by (from left) Ed and Mary Anne Arendt, Doris Laskows

​​​​​​​They come with different backgrounds and life experiences. But the three families and organizations honored with this year's Spirit of Giving Awards share a common interest – supporting the mission of Marshfield Clinic.

The 2014 Spirit of Giving award recipients are:

  • Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser, Shooting for a Cure Pool Tournament, Doris Laskowski and Brandon Jacoby
  • Outstanding Philanthropic Organization, V&H Heavy Trucks and Terry and Allean Frankland
  • Legacy of Philanthropy, Ed and Mary Anne Arendt

Each of them was honored on May 7 at the annual Marshfield Clinic Spirit of Giving Awards. The evening was one of story-telling, celebrating the amazing lives and accomplishments of the recipients.

Pictured above: Dr. Brian Ewert (center), Marshfield Clinic executive director, is flanked by (from left) Ed and Mary Anne Arendt, Doris Laskowski and Brandon Jacoby, and Allean and Terry Frankland

"Giving is about the power of healing and creating inspiration," said Al Nystrom, chair of the Clinic's Development Committee. "Nothing is more important than the power of healing."

This year, we honor each award recipient with comments from others who know them well.

Shooting for a Cure.

Doris Laskowski and Brandon Jacoby organize the "Shooting for a Cure Pool Tournament" in Wisconsin Rapids. The event, which has become one of the largest women's singles pool tournaments in the country, has raised more than $280,000 for breast cancer research at Marshfield Clinic.

"I've been shooting pool since I was a teenager and have taken part in many tournaments. Nothing compares to 'Shooting for a Cure,'" said Deb Keenan, a participant. "All of these people come together for Doris in support of this deserving cause because of the sweet person that she is and also the fact that she has been through so much in her life." (Laskowski lost her mother and daughter to cancer and her sister-in-law is a cancer survivor.)

Connie Greenwald has attended the tournament for 10 years and credits Laskowski and Jacoby for constantly improving it.

"Each year they look at what worked and what could be improved, and they are open to new ideas. They have the right attitude and it shows. Participants come back year after year because of the work Doris and Brandon, and the rest of the dedicated volunteers do, to make certain everyone has a great time for a great cause," said Greenwald.

Dan "Goose" Gorski owns Goose's Pub, where the tournament began and is still one of 24 venues.

"I've been involved with a lot of events but I've never experienced so much energy put into an outing like this," he said. "They are extremely deserving of this honor."​

V&H Heavy Trucks

Terry Frankland and his wife, Allean, and V & H Heavy Trucks have been supporters of the Clinic for 25 years. Their commitment goes far beyond donations to support research at the Clinic.

Frankland has chaired the Auction of Champions, where company employees provide valet parking service, and the Marshfield Clinic Development Committee. V&H has supported Golf for Research the past 15 years, most recently as a major sponsor and has sent teams of employees and guests each year, always dressed proudly in matching outfits. The company, in partnership with Rich Seubert and the Clinic, also hosted the first youth football camp in 2012.

Ken Heiman of Nasonville Dairy describes Frankland as "a guy who would give you the shirt off your back, plain and simple. He's a great person to bounce questions off of, and if you're looking for input, Terry will be honest and respectful. He's like Mr. Congeniality, calm, reliable and thoughtful."

Frankland is known for his motto: "If it's not for the betterment of the community, it's not worth doing."

Terry and Allean have twin daughters, Julie and Leanne, who regard their father as a great family man.

"My dad would call me in college, to simply see how I was doing," Julie recalled. "My friends would ask why Dad was calling because the only times they talked to their dads were to reach their moms. I knew I was fortunate to have a dad who cared so much."

Ed and Mary Anne Arendt

Ed Arendt's visits to the Development office are like clockwork. He has visited every month since 2002 with a donation to Marshfield Clinic Research Institute. He and Mary Anne support heart, lung and blood research to honor their son, Steve, who died of complications from hemophilia.

Steve died at the age of 27 in 2002, but not before showing the world that he could live a normal life, including earning a college degree, working and traveling. All of that was possible by treatment he received at the Clinic.

The regular gifts are no surprise to people who know the Arendts well.

"Their generosity is a given," said Ed's sister Annie. "It's just who they are. They make the donation to carry on Steven's memory and use it as a way to appreciate his life and education."

Chief Development Officer Teri Wilczek has a lasting memory of the Arendts, from a reception to celebrate the updating of the Clinic's donor wall. Hundreds of new plaques had been added; donors and their families were invited to see the updated wall.

"I will never forget the look on their faces when they saw Steven's plaque," Wilczek recalled. "That plaque represented much more than months and years of their generous support of research. It represented parents' love for their son and their desire to recognize him permanently. I watched them take their photo with Steve's plaque, and it left a deep impression me. I was reminded just how important it is for our donors to honor their loved ones."