News: Loyal - Economic Development Donations (2021)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Williams, Morrow, Petkovsek, Cook, Langfeldt, Avila, Conrad, Bennett, Pieper, Seliskar, Kubista

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 12/01/2021

Loyal Economic Development (Donations - 2021)

By Valorie Brecht

Several Loyal organizations received an early Christmas gift this year with a sizable donation from the Loyal Economic Development Corporation (LEDC).

The LEDC donated $10,000 to each of the following: the House of Mercy women and children’s shelter, Loyal Chamber of Commerce, Loyal American Legion, Loyal Lions Club and Tractors for Autism and Disabilities.

“We chose groups that needed help through the pandemic, because raising money has been very hard for these groups,” said LEDC President/Treasurer Dave Williams.

Dave Williams, on behalf of the Loyal Economic Development Corporation, presents a check for $10,000 to Judy Morrow for Tractors for Autism and Disabilities. The Loyal Economic Development Corporation donated to five Loyal organizations that had difficulty fundraising this past year due to the pandemic.

It's a good opportunity to give back and help. We chose groups in Loyal that are very community-oriented.”

Tractors for Autism and Disabilities received its check at its monthly meeting Nov. 20.

“It’s a wonderful gift and very unexpected. I think we’re still in shock,” said Tractors for Autism and Disabilities President Judy Morrow after the meeting.

She said the money would be put towards buying a place for the organization to host its afterschool program. In the twice-a-week program, students with learning difficulties receive a snack, play a game and get help on their homework from volunteers. The program was started in 2019 and initially housed at the Loyal Recreation Center. It is currently operated out of the Trinity Lutheran Church basement. Morrow said she was appreciative to both for sharing their spaces.

“It would just be nice to have a place to keep everything we have – a home of our own,” she said.

Tractors for Autism and Disabilities also hopes to eventually start a summer program to help kids keep up with academics through the summer. The organization having its own facility would make that easier.

For now though, Morrow is just excited about the possibilities the donation has opened up.

“We’ve been trying so hard to raise money. This will definitely help us. The more kids we can help, the better,” she said.

The Loyal Chamber of Commerce received its check earlier in November. The chamber supports local businesses. It has a focus on youth as well as community events. It sponsors annual events such as the Santa visit, Movie on Main, Easter egg hunt, ice cream bars for students on the last day of school, business trick-or-treating, the bike rodeo and a banquet to honor local businesses. The chamber also gives to the Loyal Car Show, Tractors for Autism and Disabilities and other local initiatives; and hosts fall and Christmas business decorating contests. The chamber will be involved with Farm Tech Days in July.

“We are completely shocked and, of course, grateful. Especially nowadays, it’s hard to get people to help. It’s nice to have that extra money there to use,” said chamber secretary Stacy Petkovsek.

“We’re very happy because usually we have to put out a community flyer asking for donations – so this year, this is like big Christmas gift,” said chamber director Tami Cook.

The Loyal Area Historical Society got its check at its annual meeting Nov. 13. Like the other organizations’ leaders, historical society president Donna Langfeldt was not expecting such a gift. She had found out about the chamber and Lions Club each receiving $10,000 and was wondering why the historical society hadn’t gotten anything.

“Well, Dave Williams, who is also the vice president of the historical society, asked to be put on the agenda, so I put him on there. When he announced it, it was just wonderful news,” said Langfeldt.

She said the money might be put towards landscaping at the historical society property or finishing up its schoolhouse building. There are lots of places we can put it. I’m absolutely thrilled,” she said.

The American Legion also was presented with a check at the group’s monthly meeting.

“I was in total shock and awe at that. We’ve gotten donations in the past, but never anything this big,” said Legion commander Charlotte Avila.

The Legion’s main focus is to help veterans and the community. The group provides scholarships to graduating high school seniors, helps connect veterans to resources, supports The Highground and community organizations and presents the American flag at parades and other gatherings.

Because of COVID, we were shut down for a while, so no funds were coming in. This will help replenish those funds so we can continue to do all the things we do to help veterans and the community. We’re extremely grateful to them [the LEDC],” said Avila.

Loyal Lions Club member Mickael Conard was not available for comment on the donation.

The LEDC decided to make these large donations to make use of the organization’s fund balance, since the organization plans to disband within the next three or four years.

The LEDC was created to help businesses. It provided start-up money to get businesses going.

“Now we don’t have property available to sell, so we have no income anymore,” said Williams.

The LEDC has a few outstanding loans with local businesses, so the group will be getting a little income from those over the next few years. That is the only income it will have though. Once those loans are paid off and LEDC distributes that money, most likely to other community organizations, then the organization will dissolve.

Glen Bennett, Viki Pieper, Lori Seliskar and Matt Kubista are the other members of the LEDC.



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