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Jefferson Award Winner: Rick Wayne

Durand (WQOW) – Go to Durand and just about everybody will know the name Rick Wayne.

Instead of asking what he has been involved in, the better question is what hasn’t he helped organize, create or build in that town?

In fact, he rarely sits still. He is recovering from surgery so he doesn’t have much of a choice, but he would rather be working with kids, building something or helping others. “I’ve always got a crowd around me when I am working with boys and girls,” Wayne said.

He led the Durand youth fishing contest for a couple of years. “We’ve always had over 250 children in it,” Wayne exclaimed.

About a decade ago, he started his own club called Bear Creek Kids. It is where children help monitor water quality and fish year-round. “I’ll never forget this. In the wintertime, I always took ’em ice fishing once or twice. This day, the tip-ups were flying like you wouldn’t believe. Almost every kid got a fish,” Wayne said.

Wayne is the director of the Durand Food Pantry, but what he grows in his yard goes beyond Durand.

“I had Feed My People from Eau Claire come down and help me pick. We had about 30 people here. In two hours, we had two heaping pickup loads of squash, and three loads of pumpkins,” Wayne said. “What we can’t sell in our little stand out front of the house we send either the local food pantry or Feed My People.”

Every winter, he is the Santa for local nursing homes.

Durand is part of Wayne, and Wayne and his family are part of Durand. Over the last few years, he helped build the concession stand and dugouts at Bauer Built Field. The land was donated decades ago by his grandparents.

After years of serving others, Wayne said he does it for the memories. “Somebody asked me once, ‘why do you do this?’ I looked at that lady and I said, ‘something will happen today and you don’t know when, where or how, but you’ll never forget it as long as you live,'” Wayne said.

Wayne said his love of volunteering began when he joined a club like Big Brothers Big Sisters when he was in his twenties and it has been a huge part of his life ever since.

He adds there is no way he could do it all without his wife Sandy.

Click here to nominate someone for a Jefferson Award.

Clint Berge

Clint Berge is the Social Media & Digital Content Manager for Eau Claire’s Own WQOW News 18.
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