Camp Angel-Winter (ages 7-14) held on January 25-27, 2019 brought us forty-four incredible young campers.

Our campsite Co-Directors, Dick & Amy Lemke welcomed this awesome group of campers. The camper groups (Bunnies, Foxes, Bears and Wolves) and their counselors stayed in cozy north woods cabins in a beautiful winter wonderland setting.

Friday evening was off to a great start with the campers, counselors and camp volunteers gathering around a huge bon fire to get to know each other and play games in a warm and toasty atmosphere of friendship.

Many fun adventures were available all day Saturday including ice fishing, snowmobile rides, ice bowling, sledding, climbing wall and snow shoeing. Face painting, nail painting, hair braiding and games galore were among the indoor activity offerings. A highlight of the day was the opportunity for the campers (counselors too) to select and make warm and cuddly “take home” tie blankets cut and prepared for the campers by our wonderful Angel family member, Suzanne Lemke. Thanks, Suzanne . . . you truly bring smiles and warm hearts.

On Saturday night, Cliff the Magic Man returned again (by popular demand) to mesmerize us with his amazing bag of tricks. Campers and counselors alike took turns joining Cliff on stage to show their skills as “Magician Assistant”. Cliff’s “Magical” performance is always a huge hit and provides entertainment that makes for very “Happy Campers”!

We gratefully salute our phenomenal team of counselors: Alexis Dean, Alli Kovach-Erickson, Emily Kovach-Erickson, Hunter Foster, Marissa Martin, Alayna Perry, Mckenzie Pipes, Casey Ruplinger, Sophie Spiess, Izak Walker and Walker Wendt led by Head Counselors, Myles Lemke and Cali Sanborn.

A huge and heartfelt thanks to our above and beyond Angel volunteer family who make this special weekend everything it was meant to be and more: Dick & Amy Lemke (Campsite Directors), Laura Roof (Camp Nurse), Jon Perry, Jennifer Klingen, Eric Schoeneck, Dave Hughes and Mike Wolf along with the “Wendt Family”-Brian, Kristine and Hunter).

Hats off (and, of course, Helmets on) to our “best of the best” Angel snowmobile team of volunteers: Ozzie Ausloos, Jim Harold, Carla Klein, Penny & Mike McCormick and Jim Rybarczyk for a day of fun and exciting rides for our campers.

A grateful acknowledgement to Camp Manitowish YMCA in Boulder Junction, WI (our winter campsite) and its outstanding staff for helping to make this a memorable weekend for us all.

Life in the Volunteer Lane with Lois Ruediger

by Mark McNease
Originally from the Green Bay area, Lois Ruediger has Wisconsin in her veins. A mother of three sons and grandmother of six, Lois and her husband George have lived in St. Germain since 1990.

They moved north, where Lois started out as the manager for Twin Waters Resort in St. Germain. They then built Fibber’s Restaurant, and the St. Germain Lodge & Resort. Lois ran the establishment for ten years and now owns Business Connection, while George manages an ecommerce business.

Lois’s passion for volunteering began early. She had been a volunteer for Cerebral Palsy Inc in Green Bay for twenty-six years, working on their Annual Telethon and making presentations in schools to recruit volunteers, as well as helping with fundraising efforts. After travelling back and forth, Lois and George decided they wanted to find a local charity in the Northwoods to focus their efforts on. Enter Lolly Rose, who Lois met at an Angel fundraiser in the early 1990s. Lois was struck by Lolly’s passion and drive, and she began looking for ways to help.

Lois and George were friends with Mike Wolf. They were discussing a winter event to bring more people to the area after the Christmas Break, and the Polar Plunge was born. Lois’s sister LuAnn Newton had been diagnosed with breast cancer and been told in 1999 she was cancer free. It was the perfect tribute to her that the Plunge became a reality at their resort, for an organization that reaches out to families affected by cancer.

LuAnn went on to become one of Lolly’s best behind-the-scenes volunteers, working on the Plunge, Camp Angel, and the Uplifting Angels Program, as well as many other things Lolly needed done. In January, 2016, LuAnn was once again diagnosed with cancer and unfortunately lost her life to ovarian cancer. The Polar Plunge became one of Angel’s most successful events because of the team of volunteers who made it happen. The Plunge family have all experienced the devastating effects of cancer through a loved one and that’s the glue that has held them together all these years.

As for the future, Lois and George will have a “snowbird” home in Alabama, near Gulf Shores, where the winters are mild and no one has to shovel snow! They plan to keep their home in St. Germain and share their time between the two, enjoying the best of both worlds.

When asked what she most derives from volunteering, Lois said, “The satisfaction of being able to help others is who I am. In the past, I was involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters and currently I organize the volunteers for the Senior Meal Program in St Germain.”

Lois also organizes a couple of craft shows in St Germain and donates all the proceeds to local youth groups.

Several experiences stand out for Lois over her years of volunteering with Angel On My Shoulder. “Early on I visited one of the Winter Camp Angel sessions,” she said, “and when you see the smiles on the kid’s faces as they enjoy a weekend away from the stresses at home because someone they love is experiencing cancer, that makes it all worthwhile.”

She has witnessed many people who took the Plunge as a tribute to their loved one who passed away from cancer or who may currently be going through treatments.

“The comment you hear most often is ‘Jumping into freezing water for a couple minutes is a small price to pay to help make a difference for someone who is going through this horrible disease.’”

“Once I understood the purpose of each of Angel’s programs and how each one could help in a different way, I realized that all these folks needed was to know they’re not alone and there are resources available to help them get through it.”

For anyone looking to get involved, Lois said, “There’s nothing more satisfying than being able to help people right here in our local area. This organization is operated by volunteers who pour their heart and soul into everything they do to help people affected by cancer and volunteering is a great way to make a difference. Who knows, the life you change may be your own!”

The Seas Part when Moses Huizinga Takes the Plunge

Russ “Moses” Huizinga is a veteran of the Polar Plunge who has never missed a year since its inception. He won an award for the most donations raised, and it’s easy to see why.

He tells his wife Sharon every year “to put the life insurance policy back in the bank,” as he makes it another year.

“I currently live in Minocqua, formally from Franklin Park, Illinois,” Moses said. “I retired from the Teamsters Union 731. I do bobcat work and enjoy restoring old cars.”

Russ restored a 1936 Ford pickup that he named “White Lightening.” He said, “You can see me driving it in the summer and at car shows.”

Moses first heard about Angel On My Shoulder from his friend Doreen at Leisure City. He says that when he learned about the Polar Plunge he just had time to make a donation and get the entry free in to join the plungers.

“When I did my first jump and learned about the organization, I was impressed with all that they do for the children, families and all affected by this terrible disease.”

Moses also loves the children he sees in his volunteering, and he plays Santa Claus whenever he can.

When asked about some of the things he most enjoys from the Polar Plunge and volunteering with Angel On My Shoulder, Moses said, ““The act of getting the pledges, the comradery of everyone who participates.”

“Mike Wolf named me Moses. As he said, ‘Moses divides the sea,’ as all you see is hair, beard and one big splash as I belly flop.”

Moses is inspired by Mike Wolf, along with Amy and Dick Lemke, who he says all love Angel On My Shoulder. “I also love what they do,” he said.

When asked what some of his best memories are from his years with the Polar Plunge, Moses said, “My best memory is when Dick Lemke got on bended knee in front of everyone to ask Amy Linnett to marry him, and of course she said yes!”

He also said he most appreciates his family and friends who support him in this and the friendships he has forged. “God willing I will continue to do this,” he said.

For anyone considering volunteering, Moses said, “I would tell them to ‘just do it,’ The organization is wonderful and rewarding and brings some happiness to the children who suffer from this horrible disease. It is all volunteer.”