MARSHFIELD — Frederick “Fritz” Wenzel and his late wife Mary Ann, Dan and Linda Neve, and BMO Harris Bank recently were honored by Marshfield Clinic with 2015 Spirit of Giving awards.
The Wenzels received the Legacy of Philanthropy award; Cruise for a Cause, organized by the Neves, was named Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser; and BMO Harris Bank received the Outstanding Philanthropic Organization award.
Awards were presented at a ceremony Wednesday, May 6, at the Clinic’s Marshfield campus, organized by the Clinic’s Development Department. Honorees shared stories on how giving helped their lives and the many benefactors of their kindness.
Marshfield Clinic Health System (MCHS) CEO Dr. Susan Turney said the honorees’ contributions allow the organization to carry out its mission of patient care, research, and education.
“We’re celebrating community support, the people, families, and businesses that help us every day, every week, every month, every year,” she said. “It’s not just about Marshfield Clinic but Marshfield Clinic Health System. It’s about the 55 communities we serve, 12 dental centers we support, and the world-class physicians and researchers who walk through our doors every day.”
Legacy of Philanthropy award
A native of Marshfield, Wenzel joined Marshfield Clinic in 1953 as director of laboratories. A decade later he was named executive director of what is now Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation (MCRF). Wenzel was appointed the Clinic’s executive director in 1976. Though he retired in 1993, Wenzel stays connected to the organization, serving on the MCHS Board of Directors, Emeritus Advisory Committee, and Development Committee.
The Wenzels’ first gift to the Clinic was in 1974 to support MCRF. Their generosity continues to today, supporting projects like the Summer Student Research Internship Program, Auction of Champions, capital building campaigns and the endowment of the Fritz Wenzel Science Conference, which hosts high school teachers and students and showcases how basic science is used in today’s medicine.
Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser
On Thanksgiving Day 2009, Dan Neve’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. While coping with the news, he and his wife Linda received another devastating diagnosis. Linda also had breast cancer.
At that moment Dan decided he needed to do something to help find a cure. Cruise for a Cause was born.
In 2010 he purchased a Shelby GT500 Mustang and named it HOPE. He used it as a mobile billboard by selling “ad space” to businesses nationwide. Personalized decals and logos, along with signatures of the car’s creators found under the hood, make HOPE the only car of its kind.
He uses vacation from his full-time job at Staab Construction to travel the country to car shows, logging more than 13,000 miles last year alone. The Cruise for a Cause annual car show tour ends in October with a weekend event in Wisconsin Dells that draws hundreds of participants from the Midwest.
The Neves have raised nearly $103,000 to benefit Marshfield Clinic’s mobile health screening units as well as breast and prostate cancer research at MCRF.
Outstanding Philanthropic Organization
Through corporate giving, sponsorships, volunteer efforts, board memberships, and community development, BMO Harris Bank staff actively makes sure Marshfield is vibrant and productive.
BMO Harris invests millions of dollars in Wisconsin each year, supporting over 1,000 nonprofit programs and sponsorships, including about 50 locally. Areas of focus include education, social services, arts and culture, economic development, affordable housing, and health care.
The bank has supported Marshfield Clinic’s mission annually since 1974. Today BMO sponsors the Clinic’s Auction of Champions, Fore the Kids and Golf for Research golf outings, and Mike’s Run.
Al Nystrom, business banking manager and president of BMO Harris Bank in Marshfield, chairs Mike’s Run, which benefits mental health initiatives. Mike’s Run honors the legacy of Mike Hackman, a childhood friend of Nystrom’s who died in 2010 after a lifelong battle with mental illness.