The Sun Prairie Rotary Club revealed its nominees for the 2202 Service Above Self Award. The winners will be announced at the Orfan Park Shelter on June 28.
There are two categories of nominations, adults and students. The five adults nominated are Barry Mahlum, Sarah Wells, David and Shirley Mahoney, David Petrie and Caren Diedrich. The two students nominated are Charlotte Schofield and Grace Edwards. The adults were nominated by rotarians and community members while the students were nominated by their school counselors.
Mahlum was nominated by 2015 Service Above Self winner Stacy Darga and Sun Prairie Police Officer Christopher James Pederson.
“Barry is one of the most dedicated people in the community,” Darga said. “He is the Neighborhood Navigator of The Element on Main Street Apartment Complex and helps advocate for families living there.”
Mahlum is also a “walking school bus driver” to ensure that Westside Elementary students get to school safely each day. He is a part of the Dude on Duty program, serving as a positive male role model during school recesses and playing with the kids.
“He is dedicated to providing service to the community,” Pederson said. “(He) never misses a community event and is a positive role model in the neighborhoods for the kids.”
Wells was nominated by Steve Olson, rotarian and board member of the Sun Prairie Boys & Girls Club.
“She has led an expansion of our farmers market, championed other local producers with her Farm Tour and become a valued advocate for Sun Prairie, especially our downtown,” Olson said.
In seven years, she has led the Winter Market, special monthly summer events, music and the move to Market Street all for the betterment of the community and the market.
David and Shirley Mahoney were nominated by Laura Jennings, Rotarian and Colonial Club director of support services & activities.
The Mahoneys are dedicated to helping and volunteering in the community. On a weekly basis, they volunteer for the vet-to-vet program, providing rides to veterans for appointments. In addition, they deliver weekly meals to homebound seniors in Sun Prairie, Marshall and Deerfield.
“They are always willing to fill in when other drivers are not available,” Jennings said. “They will help out any time to provide a ride for the disabled or elderly.”
David Mahoney also volunteers and provides support to a variety of other organizations as a member of the local masons.
Petrie was nominated by 2011 Service Above Self Award winner and Sun Prairie Exchange Club President Rebecca Ketelsen.
Petrie has volunteered to head the committee for corn sales at the Sun Prairie Corn Festival for over 25 years. He’s also on the committee that works to give away the money raised at Corn Fest each year.
“It’s not a hyperbole to say that without Dave, thousands and thousands of dollars would not have been raised and given back to the Sun Prairie community,” Ketelsen said.
The money raised has been given to fund child abuse prevention programs, high school A.C.E. awards, veteran’s programs, scout troops and first responders.
Lastly, Diedrich was nominated by three Rotarians: Jamie Racine, community schools program coordinator; Phil Frei, school district director of business and finance; and Brad Saron, superintendent of schools.
“We are nominating Caron Diedrich for her 24 years of service on the Sun Prairie Board of Education,” Racine, Frie and Saron said. “Her dedication, passion and commitment to making decisions with students at the center is exemplary.”
Diedrich was a true advocate for students, endlessly researching topics, going above and beyond her board requirements. She supported Sun Prairie students in the community, frequently going to graduation ceremonies and sporting events.
“Caren consistently advocated that the investment of tax dollars was leveraged to provide the highest quality outcomes for students,” Racine, Frei and Saron said. “She led with a strong heart for the people that live in Sun Prairie.
Shifting to the student nominees, Schofield was nominated by her counselor, Monica Wagner.
“I have found her to be a dedicated, accountable, ambitious and compassionate student,” Wagner said. “Whether she was working at a wedding venue, in an office as a law clerk or doing her AP Lit homework, she always gave 110% of herself, going above and beyond the requirements.”
Before COVID-19 came, she was involved in numerous programs, including basketball, soccer, FBLA, Interact and Project Unify. Even in a pandemic, she still found ways to help out, working at food pantries and ringing bells for the salvation army.
Through all of this work and volunteering, Schofield still maintains a 3.5 GPA. She has hopes of attending a four year university and then medical school with the hopes of becoming a surgeon.
Edwards was nominated by her counselor, Annette Intveld. Edwards is a member of NHS and part of the track/cross country team at the high school.
“The first time I met Grace was when she walked into my office as a 10th grader, introduced herself, and asked how we could adjust her courseload to challenge herself even more,” Intveld said.
Edwards is a mental health advocate and is always finding ways to make the world a better place. She embodies qualities that the world needs more of: authentic, optimistic, mature and loving.
“She is kind to people regardless of their ‘status’ in society,” Intveld said. “She looks beyond a person’s outward appearance and loves them for their inherent human dignity.”
The awards will be handed out at Orfan Park starting around 6 p.m. on June 28. There will be food trucks present from 5-7:30 p.m. and the children’s explore museum is going to bring mobile units for kids to play in, according to Rich Holsinger, Sun Prairie Rotary Club secretary.
The Rotary Club initiated the Sun Prairie Service Above Self Awards in 2001. The criteria for the award utilizes Rotary’s motto “service above self” and “the four-way test.” “Service Above Self” is all about helping others. The four-way test is a way of life that we believe in very strongly,” Holsinger said. “We do what is right for the community. It’s like our golden rule.”