If you didn't know, I was recently interviewed for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. They were covering our 5,475 meal goal nearing completion as well as a general overview of The Right Relief Inc. and what we do. The link to the online article is here.
Seeing our in-depth story in print with some delicious food photographs is just surreal! I am humbled and so thankful for the kind comments on this article. I've told the "Why" of the Right Relief so many times now but I always feel like I say it or explain it a little differently. Mostly, it's because the organization has evolved greatly even in just 3.5 years. We are still a tiny NPO operating out of a residential kitchen and a sit-on-the-couch-with-a-laptop "office." But, our reach has grown because of "attention" like this article. Social media is unbelievable in spreading awareness. Connections with larger nonprofits have been critical to our success. Our TMJ4 Morning Blend segment and upcoming CBS58 Everyday Hero segment have greatly helped to get The Right Relief's name known by more Caregivers and donors who are passionate about and want to support our mission.
It is crazy to me that my children probably won't have many experiences with a paper newspaper. It was such a big part of my house growing up. This was in big part due to my Dad's job as an editor for the Marinette Eagle Herald. He was a reporter out of college and worked his way up with a few different papers. While it was sometimes a stressful job (computers breaking down right before deadline...) I know he enjoyed it. My Dad was a very quiet guy, often in the background. But he soaked up everything and everyone around him. He liked to know things; find things out. He kept his opinions to himself however; I don't think I once heard him talk politics with anyone. The sports section wasn't always important to him unless it was the Badgers in the Rose Bowl, the Olympics (he was a gymnast growing up!) or of course high school cross country/track because of my sister Kellie and I's involvement with our hometown teams (Peshtigo, WI). He had a tremendous way with words. No one wanted to play Scrabble with him. Crossword puzzle king (he did them in pen; no need for an eraser because he didn't make mistakes). High school English paper life saver. Don't know if I would have gotten through some of my College papers without his help either. He absolutely loved the Comics section and took great pleasure in being in charge of the layout for that page everyday. He got to be the first one to find out what happened in the comics' storylines. He loved "plays on words" like the comic below. Snoopy and friends were a favorite too, especially at Christmas.
I loved walking into the newsroom on the occasion we got to visit him. Much like a bookstore, it always smelled of paper and ink. The big Mac desktops/modems were always intriguing and we loved to be allowed to play solitaire on any that may have been unoccupied at the time. I always loved playing school as a kid (no surprise I ended up being a teacher) and the newsroom often reminded me of a classroom with all the paper and office supplies everywhere. I loved seeing my Dad's coworkers/friends Rodger (whose hands were always almost black since he worked on the press) and Jody (sports editor) who loved to fish with my Dad on weekends. Terri was his boss who was sometimes rough around the edges but always nice to my sister and I. Penny was a friend who wrote an article after he passed (see quotes below) and spoke at his service. She did such a good impression of him doing impressions (something he was known for). I was too little to remember his coworker Keith before he changed papers but they kept in touch and came to visit on occasion. Keith was the one who recommended the reporter for the Journal article! He also wrote a great article about my Dad during his illness I will quote at the end here too.
I will always remember my Dad coming to my 5th grade English class when we were doing a journalism unit and teaching us about his job. It was soon after the Packers won the 1996-97 Super Bowl and he had designed the famous front page with Favre holding his helmet & celebrating after a touchdown. He brought it to show my class and was so proud of it.
I remember in 6th grade having a project to write a newspaper about my life. We had to come up with headlines of things that we'd done in our short 12 years and then write informational stories about those events. I, again, was just so proud to tell my teacher that my Dad worked for a real newspaper and I knew all about them. No ego or anything ;) It was so fun to be able to show drafts to my Dad and get his thoughts/input.
As far as appearances in his paper, I had many oh-so-lovely ones! Sitting under the Christmas tree as a 4-year-old with a new baby sister. In a blue and white Pom Poms outfit for my kindergarten park and rec class performance (Miss V. just had hers!) and of course the multiple sweaty, red-faced, embarrassing pained expressions of my high school running years. No matter how hard my sister and I tried NOT to get our pictures in the paper and how many times my Dad told his photographers not to get us in shots, we still ended up front and center. My Dad was loved at the Eagle Herald and by association so were we. I did really appreciate one running picture that had both Kellie and I in it, huffing and puffing up a hill. I was a senior and she was a freshman and that was such a fun year of being on the team together and we naturally ran at about the same pace. It was nice to have someone close by to commiserate with. This picture captured that perfectly.
In elementary school our teachers had us practice the "friendly letter" by writing to Santa. They then submitted to the paper. So funny to go back and read these! I have no recollection of the daycare sandbox picture but that's me with the hood, digging away with my friends and beloved teachers (seriously...one of them took me to the theater to see either 101 Dalmatians or Beauty and the Beast).
In college, my dear friend Leah and I ended up in the Green Lake newspaper because we worked to gather donations for a Pajama and Book drive for local kids (us education majors just couldn't help it!). That was a fun picture/story of the two of us with all these wrapped packages of pjs and books. Our professor who organized it couldn't help but show it to everyone on campus, of course ;)
I wrote in this blog post about my love of the Sunday morning shift at the grocery store I worked at in high school and college. Call me crazy but there was something therapeutic about stuffing the ad inserts into the Sunday paper and smelling fresh baked donuts while the hum of shoppers got going in the mornings.
This whole poste wouldn't have been possible without...actual newspaper clippings. This was such a "thing" in my family especially with my grandparents and even Great Grandparents. They'd clip an article of interest out and snail mail it to my dad and eventually us. All of our High School Honor Roll lists, band performance scores and sports articles got clipped and saved. It may seem old fashioned but now I'm so grateful to have them. I even clipped this picture/article from my time as a single gal living on my own in Greendale as a first year teacher. I got myself a Sunday only subscription to the Journal mainly for adds and Packers coverage. It was from Farm Aid which my family attended at Miller Park in fall of 2010. My Dad was a HUGE Willie Nelson and Neil Young fan and I'm so thankful he got to experience this awesome concert right before he got sick.
I'll leave you with some quotes from the articles written about my Dad.
From Keith's article:
"Rob approaches all of this with an astonishing calmness. I'm not sure if the health issues created the sense of zen within Rob (a word he would never use) or if he already had it before doctors had to start rooting around in his noggin."
"He goes to the hospital to get chemotherapy and then returns home between rounds. The ideas is to get the tumor to a manageable size so that it can be zapped into oblivion. Nobody's sure if it will work. 'But I'm only 48 years old,' Rob says. 'I might as well try.''"
From Penny's article:
"Rob didn't always say a lot, but when he did -- it was likely to be a compliment or a joke."
"A title of presentation editor barely scratches the surface of what Rob did here. His position evolved during the years from 'taking care of' the computers to becoming the 'computer guy' for the entire company."
"He was great to work with -- calm in a crisis, patient in dealing with reporters and their stories, and always there to mix the many things that go awry in a computer-based company."