Diane De La Santos of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
After holding an executive level position for a local hospital system, Diane De La Santos stepped down and committed herself to serving City on a Hill, which seeks to bring transformation to individuals, families, and neighborhoods in Milwaukee's central city. Diane took a 90% pay-cut, sold her condo, and moved into the facility so she could identify with those less fortunate. She continues to lead the effort to recruit volunteers who provide medical and social services to those most in need. For these and other countless acts of service, Diane is becoming known by many as a modern day Mother Teresa of southern Wisconsin for her life of sacrificial giving.
For her extraordinary service as Executive Director of city on a Hill, Diane De La Santos is the recipient of the April Wisconsin Heroes Award.
Dr. Robert Johnson of River Falls, Wisconsin
Dr. Robert Johnson is a full time physican with the River Falls Medical Clinic who has been serving the health needs of the community for more than 32 years. In addition to his full time duties as a physician, he is also a founding member of the Free Clinic of Pierce and St. Croix Counties, and serves as the Medical Director of the clinic.
The vision for the clinic was sparked on a Lion's Mission Trip to Mexico. He and his wife Mary Conroy-Johnson determined there were many unmet health needs in their own local community, and wanted to do something about it. The two worked tirelessly to establish the clinic, traveling the state, observing various free clinics, and seeking local volunteers from the two-county area to serve as a board for the local free clinic. Dr. Johnson serves as the medical director and staffs the clinic many weeks of the month. He reviews the patient progress notes, laboratory and radiology results, and assists in providing necessary follow up care or making the recommended follow up appointments with specialists as needed.
In addition to his work with the free clinic, Dr. Johnson has provided medical direction and fundraising assistance for 22 years to Camp Needlepoint, an American Diabetes Association camp in Hudson, Wisconsin for diabetic youth that is sponsored locally by the Lion's Club.
For his tireless service to his community through the Free Clinic of Pierce and St. Croix Counties, the Lion's Club, and Camp Needlepoint, Dr. Johnson is the recipient of the March 2012 Wisconsin Heroes Award.
Noelle Henneman of Verona, Wisconsin
Noelle Henneman, a senior at Verona Area High School, has helped with her school's annual food drive for the Verona Area Food Pantry in the past, but this year she took the extra step and served as director.The school's annual food drive is a massive undertaking.
Noelle spent countless hours planning for and running the school collections, which ultimately exceeded its goal and collected more than 35,000 pounds of food – enough to provide more than 25,000 meals to those in need in the Verona area. Noelle worked tirelessly to coordinate this effort, and even went the extra mile by contacting area businesses to ask them to donate a percentage of proceeds from one night's business for the food drive. Even with the extra time this additional effort required, Noelle, a full-time student with a part-time job, was volunteering twice weekly at her church as a group leader for both middle and high school students.
Noelle is awarded the February Wisconsin Heroes Award her efforts to make Wisconsin a better place by volunteering to help both the Verona Area Food Pantry, and her youth group.
Linda Hughes of Cambria, Wisconsin
This past year alone, Linda Hughes of Cambria, Wisconsin, spent more than 200 hours of volunteer time making the 150 ornaments which adorned the 2011 Tribute to the Troops tree displayed in the Executive Residence over the holidays. Each time she handled an ornament, she said a prayer for that soldier.
Linda also volunteers full-time, at least 45 hours each week, at a day school called “Rascals and Rockers,” and spends at least 20 hours a week on a project she started called “A Case for Caring and Sharing,” which sends care packages to Wisconsin residents serving overseas. Each care package includes a pillow case, which many service members have said is the only one they have access to while serving abroad.
For her tremendous voluntary contributions in support of both the brave men and women from Wisconsin in service overseas, and their families here in Wisconsin, Linda is the recipient of the first Wisconsin Heroes Award.