|The Wisconsin Operation Military Kids (OMK) team
received the 2012 Excellence in Community Engagement Award from the
University of Wisconsin (UW) Colleges and UW Extension.
Chancellor Ray Cross (standing, far right) congratulated team
members and supporters of the Wisconsin Operation Military Kids
State Team, 4-H Youth Development, Cooperative Extension, and
University of Wisconsin Extension at the Chancellor’s Awards
event. Front row: (left to right) Ruth Price, Jan Fink, Cathy
McPhail, Becky Walley, and Tina Jeffords. Back row: Lt. Col.
Tammy Gross, Ellen Magee, Kim Sandleback, Sue Curtis, Jim
Larson, State Sen. Dale Schultz, John Ashley, Denny Behr, Laura
Pettersen, and Col. Julie Gerety. Team members not pictured:
John Benberg, Flormaria Gonzalez, Lilly Irvin-Vitela.
Two Fort McCoy Child, Youth & School Services program employees, Jan
Fink and Becky Walley, are members of the team.
UW Colleges and UW Extension Chancellor Ray Cross presented the award
Sept. 20 at the institutions’ Chancellor’s Awards Reception in Madison.
The annual Chancellor’s Awards recognize UW Colleges and UW Extension
partners, supporters and employees for their outstanding contributions
to the quality of life in Wisconsin.
In presenting the award, Cross praised OMK for developing a strong
community support network for military Families and children dealing
with challenges encountered when a loved one is deployed. Fort McCoy
uses the program to help provide resources to Families facing the
deployment of a servicemember, Walley said.
“The Chancellor’s Awards are a once-a-year celebration of UW Colleges’
and UW Extension’s valuable contributions to lifelong learning, but the
work of these two institutions is in evidence every day of the year in
all 72 Wisconsin counties,” Cross said. “Let us thank the 2012 awards
recipients for protecting the environment, developing youth and adult
leaders, reaching state residents with learning opportunities via
cost-effective technologies, creating win-win collaborations and so much
more — all with the goal of bringing university resources and knowledge
to the people of our state.”
More than 14,000 children in Wisconsin have parents in the military.
These children and their Families face many challenges. The cycle of
military deployment has an enormous impact on youth from the day the
parent learns about the deployment through the reintegration when they
return home. OMK provides opportunities for these kids to connect with
other youth in similar situations, and provides adults who can empathize
and help them cope with their new world.
OMK is made possible through the strong partnership and hard work of
many individuals including the Department of Public Instruction;
Wisconsin Association of School Boards; Wisconsin National Guard; Army
Child, Youth and School Services; 115th Fighter Wing; Army Reserve
Child, Youth & School Services; Navy League; Supporting Families
Together; 4-H Youth Development; UW-Platteville; and UW Extension,
UW Colleges is comprised of 13 freshman-sophomore campuses that offer an
associate degree in arts and science and prepare students of all ages
and backgrounds for baccalaureate and professional programs. UW
Extension includes Cooperative Extension offices in 72 counties and
three tribal nations, 12 Small Business Development Centers, and
outreach and e-learning programs delivered via the 26 UW System campuses
and distance-learning channels, as well as the statewide networks of
Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television.
(Submitted by the UW Extension.)