6 county residents honored for their contributions

Contributed Photo Honorees at the May 22 Living Treasures presentation are, from left, Irma Timmons-Arndt, Elaine Knope, Doris Ashenbrenner, Thomas Brunner, Elaine Montour and Adeline Bratt.

Shawano County Human Services recently held the Living Treasures presentation and honored six people who have given their time and talents to our community. The presentation was May 22 at the Fellman Center, and the individuals honored were Irma Timmons-Arndt, Elaine Knope, Doris Ashenbrenner, Thomas Brunner, Elaine Montour and Adeline Bratt.

Doris Ashenbrenner

Doris Ashenbrenner was born and raised in Milwaukee. She met her husband, Gerry, when they were both volunteering to work at the Horizon Club, an organization of Goodwill Industries, working with developmentally disabled adults.

In 1982, the Ashenbrenners moved to the home they built on Dent Creek Road in Shawano County. They have three daughters, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Ashenbrenner worked for several years as a cook in the Wittenberg-Birnamwood School District. She was a leader and oversaw the Girl Scouts and was in charge of the SHARE program for 10 years. Ashenbrenner reads to children in the elementary school on Dr. Seuss Day and has judged spelling bees in Elderon.

Ashenbrenner currently sings in the choir at Holy Family Catholic Church in Wittenberg, where she also participates in the traveling choir. She changes the altar candles when needed, fills the holy water fonts, bakes and helps with funeral dinners.

“I enjoy it. I like to bring jokes, smiles and laughs to others, and of course, the love. It is so rewarding,” Ashenbrenner said.

Adeline Bratt

Adeline Bratt spent her working career in many different cities ranging from Chicago to New York, but saved Shawano for her retirement. Bratt feels her need to be active in volunteer offerings is derived from being raised in a spiritual and religious home as she was taught to be giving and helpful.

Bratt was born in Chicago and took tap dancing lessons with Donald O’Connor. She sang in the opera and was a reservist in the Marines during the Korean War. She moved to Shawano in 1995.

Bratt has been a member of the Shawano Rotary, the Shawano County Arts Council, Shawano Woman’s Club, Shawano Lions Club, SOS K9, The Eastern Star, DAR and the Shawano Area Veterans American Legion. She served as a judge for the oratorical contests at the Legion and was a past commander. Her pride is that she developed the idea and began the annual Spring Fashion Show.

Bratt has written, directed and performed at the Mielke Arts Center and coordinated several 9/11 Remembrance events. She was a guest on Oprah Winfrey four times and entertained with the USO for several years.

Irma Timmons-Arndt

Irma Timmons-Arndt came to Shawano with her first husband when his job with CESA brought the family here. They rented a cottage on Shawano Lake and fell in love with the area.

Timmons-Arndt has three grown children and three grandchildren. She is proud of the energetic and exploratory manner in which she raised her children. For most of her career, Timmons-Arndt owned Staff of Life in Shawano.

“Opportunities just come to me, and I seize them.” Timmons-Arndt said.

A driving force behind her activities is the belief that it is important to give back to the community you reside in. Timmons-Arndt keeps busy with musical activities. She currently plays violin in both gospel and folk bands. The latter, String Fever, plays for free for many events including the Rhubarb Fest put on by the historical society.

For the bicentennial, Timmons-Arndt developed a play at the request of the society depicting the origin of all the churches in Shawano County organized prior to 1900. Very active in spreading the Gospel through drama, she has staged a living Nativity at Anello’s petting zoo. She has produced 10 Easter plays performed at her church, the civic center and a local theater.

Timmons-Arndt has three published books.

Tom Brunner

Tom Brunner was born in the Town of Grant near Leopolis and moved to his current home in the Town of Washington when his father wanted to find a farm with fewer rocks.

Eventually, he and his brother assumed the farm, and he met and married Betty, the love of his life. Together they raised three sons and one daughter. They have been blessed with many grandchildren with both two and four legs.

Brunner was a farmer for his whole life, and he and his brother milked 500 cows. He sold the cows and land in 1998 and retired from farming.

Brunner’s giving nature has led him to being the leader of the A-Z 4-H Club with his wife.

In his work life, Brunner practiced good ecology and conservation techniques with his farm and took part in a film on preventing farm run-off into White Clay Lake. He and his family hosted many Twilight Holstein meetings and, in 1972, was selected as the Outstanding Young Farmer.

At his parish, St. Martin of Tours in Cecil, Brunner served on the first parish council and over the years has served as a lector, Eucharistic Minister, choir member and participated in the Men’s Club.

Brunner was elected to the County Board and served for six years, served as chairman for the Town of Washington for 24 years and participated on the Commission on Aging for six years. Brunner has logged many miles as a volunteer driver helping elderly individuals attend needed medical appointments for eight years.

Elaine Montour

Elaine Montour, an almost lifelong resident of Shawano, has grown into a living treasure through her years of dedicated service to help in any way she can. Montour feels volunteering gives her a chance to interact and be active with others.

Montour moved to Shawano when she was 4. She was married for 43 years, until her husband, Robert, passed away. She has two daughters, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. She has worked in many different capacities, mainly those that are service related such as the register of deeds, treasurer for the Town of Wescott and jail matron while her husband was sheriff.

Montour volunteers at the Shawano County Library cleaning DVDs as needed. She is very active at St. James Lutheran School with the hot lunch program and sorting envelopes for the church. She volunteers at Birch Hill Nursing Home and the church dinners at both Ascension Lutheran and First Presbyterian. She volunteers for the Shawano Civic Center Meal Program in various ways, including serving meals, packing up frozen meals, washing dishes and cleaning and organizing the supplies and bulletin board.

Montour works often at Charlie’s Red Barn. Almost a year in advance, organizations sign up for the Red Barn and agree to run the barn. Sometimes they do not have the volunteers to manage the stand, and Montour comes to fill in.

Elaine Knope

Elaine Knope has resided in Shawano her entire life, and first learned the value of volunteering as a child cleaning the windows at the Historical Society and working the food booth at the fair for her church with her mother.

Knope is married to Wilber (Junior) Knope, and they have two daughters and two granddaughters, as well as three step-grandchildren. She worked for the Shawano School District for 31 years.

Following her retirement, Knope began becoming more involved with the Shawano Historical Society, the St. James Lutheran Church Tabitha Society and the Red Hat Foxy Ladies. She also takes a turn or two as a gatekeeper at the Shawano Old Time Music Festival, just to hear and enjoy the music.

Knope has volunteered her time at the historical society since 2004 but really since as a child. She has been helping with archiving for 13 years and with the Rhubarb Fest for seven years. She writes the column “Grandma’s Recipes” for the historical society newsletter.

Knope has been a member of the Tabitha Society for 15 years, and their main function is serving meals for funerals. She is especially proud that all funerals are served family style rather than buffet. She has served as the secretary for the past 10 years. She researched and prepared a display for the 100th anniversary celebration last year.

Knope is the current leader for the Red Hat Foxy Ladies.

Knope believes it is so nice to be surrounded by friends, and giving back to your community by volunteering is a wonderful way to do so.