Williams named Community Hero
Clintonville Area Foundation recognizes local volunteer
Ralph Williams received a Community Hero Award Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Clintonville Riverside Golf Club.
Presented by the Clintonville Area Foundation at its 10th Annual fundraiser, the award recognizes local residents who have made significant contributions as volunteers within the community.
According to Dan Olk, who presented the award, Williams’ commitment to others began with his years in the military while serving in Vietnam.
Olk then described Williams’ many endeavors for the community.
Williams moved to Clintonville in 1972 and volunteered as an instructor with the Junior Rifle Club, sponsored by the Lions Club.
Girls Scouts, Boy Scouts
Around 1980 he began a 10-year contribution to the Girl Scouts program when there was no leader for his daughter’s troop.
He volunteered at various times as a troop leader of Junior, Cadet, and Senior age brackets.
Williams was a trainer of Girl Scout leaders, consultant, committee member and chaperone on trips.
In the 1980s he began a 12-year association with the Boy Scouts, serving s as the leader of both a Cub Scout troop and a Boy Scout troop.
Williams also volunteered for several years with a community garden.
This garden produced thousands of pounds of food that were donated to the Clintonville Area Food Pantry.
Lions Club, American Legion
Williams has served two terms as president of the Lions Club and has contributed to their vision-screening program in schools, Mission of Hope days in Clintonville, adopt-a-highway cleanup and fundraising activities.
He is the current chairman of the Lions wheelchair ramp committee, which will soon start building its 58th ramp.
Williams is also a member of American Legion Post 63, serving as recording secretary for their monthly meetings and as a member of their funeral honor guard.
Through his church he volunteers at monthly steak fries at the VFW, which are fundraisers for the American Legion. He arrives an hour before the rest of the crew to set up the serving area, then works in the kitchen the rest of the evening.
He also volunteers each Veterans’ Day when his church organizes a meal for veterans.
Williams also served for several years on the board of directors for the Friends of the Clintonville Public Library, including the past two years as secretary.
For the past five to six years, he has organized the library’s sales of used books, held three times annually. He volunteers several hours each week at the library, sorting through donated books and stocking the bargain book cart in the lobby.
Active at church
He has served two local parishes.
At St. Rose he served as the director and a teacher of Christian Education, also head lector, usher, lay communion distributor and member of the parish board of education.
At Christ Congregational, he’s served as usher, member of committees, and Sunday school teacher. He prepares the monthly church newsletter. He prepares an annual 6-week fundraising drive as the stewardship chairman, a position within the Church’s Cabinet. He’s a member of a puppet troupe within the parish, “No Strings Attached”, which has given performances within the church and at Green Tree.
When the parish lost its janitor to poor health, he volunteered to take on that job with no pay. He continues at it through today. Has cleaned the entire church twice.
He taught in the Clintonville School District for 34 years. He assumed a number of paid extra duties, including the seventh and eighth grades football coach for nine years and the technical director of high school musicals for 10 years.
Williams created the Project Outdoors, through which he annually took 25 ninth graders on a weekend wilderness camping adventure. He also volunteered as the student council advisor and English department chairman.
In 1987-88 he chaired the committee that studied the feasibility of transforming the junior high school into a middle school.
This conversion caused elimination of a drama class. So he created an after-school drama club for interested students.
In 1999 he helped create the middle school’s Counts Program to provide academic assistance to failing students. This program led to a decrease in the number of failed students.
After retirement he has continued to meet weekly during the school year with gifted/talented seventh graders in the Junior Great Books program.
Previous awards of his contributions have come from the Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes, St. Rose parish for his Boy Scouts work, The Vietnam Veterans of America through its “Wisconsin Vietnam Veterans Outstanding Achievement Award,” the Navarino Nature Center, Greentree Health and Rehab Center for his liturgical service, reconstructing picnic tables, and building a large cross for worship there, multiple certificates of appreciation for annual service to the American Legion Post 63, and the Clintonville Rotary Club for its 2016 Volunteer of the Year award.