Families of Distinction

Date: 2000-03-26

Green Bay Press-Gazette
Jim Kneiszel; Staff

Green Bay Packers head coach Mike Sherman will be the guest speaker at a program honoring 10 Families of Distinction on Thursday at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center.

The awards seek to honor "families who represent, in exemplary ways, the core of the wonderful life we have in this area," said Patty Payette, executive director of the Green Bay-De Pere YWCA.

A selection committee chose the families from nominations gathered earlier this year. The committee looked for families with diverse backgrounds and situations that exhibit courage, tolerance and unity. The program is sponsored by the YWCA and American Medical Security Group.

A limited number of $35 tickets are available for the dinner and awards ceremony. Call the YWCA at (920) 432-5581 for information. A reception begins at 5:30 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m.

Beginning today, the Press-Gazette will introduce you to the 10 winners of the Families of Distinction award. You'll meet seven families today, then one a day through Wednesday in Lifestyle.

Featured today:

* Debbie and Tom Schmitz family, Howard multiracial blend of eight biological and adopted special-needs children, raising awareness of special-needs adoption.

* John and Cookie Konitzer family, Abrams adopted three children, godparents of 19 others.

* Margaret Neary-Mike Shimshak family, Tigerton parents and 10 children (three international adoptions), deeply involved in community.

* Xay Vue and May Lee Lor family, Green Bay parents and six children emigrated from Laos, active in the Hmong community.

* Jan and Dick Campbell, Green Bay (on D-3) active in the Hmong community and other organizations.

* George and Marilyn Kubalak family, Allouez (on D-3) parents of 11, grandparents of 12, extensive volunteering.

* Ahn and Loi Nguyen Lam family (on D-3), Green Bay family persevered after Loi died in 1994 to become well-educated and active in the community.

Monday:

* Jennifer Gille and Gene Gozdzialski family, Kewaunee adopted special-needs children and have written and proposed child-welfare legislation.

Tuesday:

* Beverly and Rick Lentz family, Green Bay Rick is pastor at Voice of Faith Congregation parents and 13 children volunteer.

Wednesday:

* Bobbi and Don Wierichs family, Algoma five children, others being adopted, caring for developmentally disabled adult.

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