Heroes announced for Southwest Heroes Golf Event June 12, event sure to inspire

By Laura McGuire, American Red Cross

The American Red Cross of Southwest Wisconsin will honor individuals and groups who have shown courage, dedication, and unselfish character by their acts of heroism in our community at the Southwest  Heroes Golf Event Monday, June 12, 2023, at the Legend at Bergamont, 699 Bergamont Blvd., in Oregon. This fun-filled day will consist of 18 holes of golf, along with a silent and online auction. New this year, the event will also include a post-golf heroes’ reception. All proceeds from the event will benefit the mission of the Red Cross of Southwest Wisconsin.

Every day at the Red Cross, we see firsthand the remarkable deeds of everyday heroes. Their stories inspire and remind us to never doubt the impact an individual can make in the lives of others.

Heroes are nominated by the public and are chosen by an awards selection committee comprised of local community leaders. Honorees are selected based on the degree to which their actions uphold the values of the Red Cross humanitarian mission and leave a lasting and positive impact on the community. The 2023 Southwest WI Hero honorees are:

Volunteer of the Year HeroPastor Dennis Virta, Sauk County

Pastor Virta, a Red Cross Blood Program Leader, opened his church to Sauk Prairie community blood drives that were canceled during COVID. His efforts helped to ensure that blood collections in his community never stopped during COVID, and he continues to make the church available to host community blood drives

Community HeroMo Cheeks, Dane County

What started as a pandemic pastime grew into “Bread & Justice”. Mo starting baking sourdough bread and donating the proceeds to a social justice organization each month. Now two years into his endeavor, Mo has baked and distributed more than 1,500 loaves of bread for over 300 customers helping several organizations.

From the Heart Biomedical HeroUrban League of Greater Madison, Dane County

Madison Sickle Cell Committee: Bobby Moore, Chair, Dr. Corinda Rainey–Moore, Carola Peterson–Gaines and Brian Callahan

This group of fantastic individuals helped increase awareness for blood donations from donors who are African American or Black in the Madison area by sharing the importance of having a diverse blood supply. These four guild members have worked tirelessly and have been integral to creating new partnerships within the community and driving participation for Sickle Cell blood drives in Madison.

Military Hero B.J. Ganem, Dane County

B.J. Ganem, a Wisconsin veteran, returned from Iraq with a traumatic experience that changed his world forever. Thanks to the help of Dozer, a bulldog, who gave him hope in his darkest hour, he was also inspired to help others. In 2017, Ganem, became CEO and founder of Sierra Delta, an organization that pairs veterans with service dogs and he is now working to give the gift of hope to others.

National Guardian Life is the presenting sponsor of the Southwest Heroes Golf Event. Additional event sponsors include Findorff, Hooper, OptumServe, U.S. Cellular and the American Red Cross of Southwest Wisconsin Board of Directors.

Schedule of Events for the Day:

8:45 – 9:45 a.m. – Registration
9:45 – 10 a.m. – Welcome Remarks
10 a.m. – Shotgun Start
Box Lunches and Game Packages are included
3 p.m. – Post Play Reception

We invite you to participate and help us to make this year’s Southwest Heroes Golf Event our most successful event yet. For more information, visit: https://SWHeroesGolf.givesmart.com or email Kyle Kriegl, Executive Director for the Southwest Wisconsin Chapter of the American Red Cross at kyle.kriegl@redcross.org.

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