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Countdown to Person of the Year: Great stories from reader nominations

12:31 AM, Dec. 29, 2012  |  Comments
Rudy Poznecki, who was paralyzed in a diving accident when he was 27, volunteers to drive friends and strangers to the grocery store or elsewhere in town and works to help the homeless find shelter.
Rudy Poznecki, who was paralyzed in a diving accident when he was 27, volunteers to drive friends and strangers to the grocery store or elsewhere in town and works to help the homeless find shelter.
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We received dozens of nominations this year from readers and community members with opinions about whose efforts had made an impact in north central Wisconsin in 2012. On Thursday and Friday, we announced a group of finalists and the 2012 Person of the Year Runner-Up. Today, we feature some of the other great stories our readers submitted:

Rudoph Poznecki: Volunteer lives his faith

"Rudy Poznecki is someone whose efforts have gone unheralded," writes a reader. "He makes a difference every day by helping the homeless. He feeds them, gives them shelter in his home or finds them shelter. He works at the Presbyterian food pantry, works at community suppers on Sunday, sings in the choir, works in the NAOMI project and does all this from a wheelchair, cheerfully. He also gives rides to the clinic, and if you really need something, he gets it. He lives his faith and follows Jesus every day of his life."

Linda Larson Schlitz: Randlin Homes director works against homelessness

Linda is a busy woman," writes reader Melanie Clark of the town of Guenther. "One of her jobs is as president/CEO of Randlin Family Care Homes Inc., a homeless shelter in Wausau. She also works at the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development as an employment and training counselor. She has a master's degree in counseling and more than 20 years of experience in the counseling and social work field in various capacities. She particularly enjoys working with veterans. She helped my son-in-law get a job interview. I once asked her when she sleeps, and she told me she gets a few hours a night. Linda is a wonderful person who loves others, and it shows in her actions."

Mandy Wright: Political newcomer will represent us

"I believe Mandy Wright represents everything that is still righteous about this great experiment and this nation's aspiration to become a democratic society," writes reader David Keeffe of Wausau. "She became motivated to get involved in electoral politics from a pure place of gratitude towards the community she grew up in and a desire to serve and pay it forward to ensuing generations. Mandy literally stepped out of her front door and went out and talked to thousands of people every day for six months, and she succeeded in winning their confidence and the chance to carry their concerns to Madison."

Christine Bremer Muggli: Political activist shows commitment to cause

"Even though she and I are of opposite political persuasions, there can be no doubt that Christine Bremer Muggli cares deeply about her community," writes reader Don Bric of Wausau. "As a past Wausau School Board President, she has shown that she truly cares about our youth and our schools. Her commitment to fundraisers and community involvement would be enough to make her a candidate in any year. What makes this year extraordinary is that not only was she picked to be a member of the delegation to the Democratic National Convention, but it was just recently announced that she is one of 10 people representing the state of Wisconsin at the Electoral Congress. Chris is truly an extraordinary individual in her profession, ranked in the top of her field, and in her community by selflessly giving of her time and resources. She deserves to be the Daily Herald Media 2012 Person of the Year."

Kim Lemke: Sauce maker works for business, community

"My brother Kim started his own business from the ground up, making and selling Kim's BS Sauce barbecue sauce," writes reader Becky Lemke of Wisconsin Rapids. "He has been working with (the) business incubator, making his sauce and bottling it there. Throughout the past year, Kim donated to several charities and fundraisers in the Wausau area. Kim has been working seven days a week to promote his business and get his BS Sauce into as many kitchens as possible. Kim has a wife and three daughters who support him as much as they can. The girls enjoy having Kim come to school to speak to their classmates. Some of the events Kim has been involved are: The Boys & Girls Club of the Wausau Area, Fishing for a Cure, the Never Forgotten Honor Flight, the Alzheimer's Association, the Marathon County Humane Society and Noah's Rainbow. Without the support of the community, Kim's BS Sauce wouldn't be where it is today."

Mary Kirlin: Humane Society director gives her time for animals

"Mary endures the criticism of so many people that have no idea what it takes to run the shelter or make the tough choices that she does," writes reader Tiffany Schmitt. "All for the sake of the animals. So many people think they have the answers, yet no one steps up. Mary puts so much of her personal life aside to keep the shelter going through such difficult times. She is so giving and she would be recognized for that."

Dennis Wald: A good boss

"Dennis is a very good boss as physical plant director for the Wausau School District," writes a reader. "He is very funny, friendly, respectful and very dedicated. It is nice to have a boss like his job."

The winner of this year's award will be announced on Sunday in our print edition, online and on our mobile sites. Also on Sunday, we'll publish the full list of all the nominees we received.

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