Hellos and Goodbyes

Saying hello and goodbye happens frequently in a volunteer organization. New people join eager to contribute, while others end their involvement for various reasons. The La Crosse Jail Ministry is no exception.

In January three long-time Board members completed two consecutive three-year terms and, as our Bylaws require, said farewell: Vicky Gunderson, Sr. Mary Ann Gschwind and Maureen Freedland. These women care deeply for jail ministry and have contributed greatly. Sr. Mary Ann served in various capacities for 20 years or more. Maureen served two years as Board President and fully embraced every necessary task. Fortunately, she will continue to work with us as Past President in an informal capacity.

In May we will say goodbye to another long-time board member. Paul Haugen will retire and relocate with his wife to the Twin Cities area. His insights as a hospital chaplain have been invaluable.

Perhaps the most painful goodbye is to our chaplain. In February Deacon Tom Skemp retired after 16 years as La Crosse County Jail Chaplain. I have appreciated Tom’s heartfelt passion for serving the jail population. I will miss him as he moves on to a well-deserved rest and time with grandchildren.

We are currently searching to replace him and hope to say hello to another chaplain soon. In February we said hello to new Board member Sr. Karen Flottmeier who comes with prison ministry experience in Oklahoma.

Finally, I should say hello. I am a relative newcomer, beginning my third year on the Jail Ministry Board. Previously, I volunteered for several years with the Circles of Support program. Knowing and supporting two remarkable young adults as they turned their lives around led to my joining the Board. I look forward to more success stories in the days ahead.

 Don Campbell, Board President