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Historical Society, Friends of the Red Cedar recipients of $1,000 donation

Historical Society, Friends of the Red Cedar recipients of $1,000 donation

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The Dunn County Historical Society (DCHS) and Friends of the Red Cedar each received a $1,000 donation as part of the WESTconsin Credit Union (WCU) Challenge. The WCU Challenge was created in partnership with the Community Foundation of Dunn County (CFDC) for its 25th Anniversary year. This special initiative invites new fundholders of the CFDC to give a charity of their choice a $1,000 donation.

When Celene Frey and Roy Ostenso decided to become Visionary Sponsors of the CFDC’s Jeans and Jewels Gala, they also initiated a new endowment fund to support the operations of the CFDC. This fund was eligible for the WCU Challenge and Celene and Roy, who have both been deeply involved with the Historical Society for many years, knew it would be the charity of their choice. Roy recalled being present for various projects the DCHS has completed over the years, including the building of its current facility, the Russell J. Rassbach Heritage Museum in 1998, and the completion of the Holtby addition in 2006.

“It’s been quite a long journey for myself and Celene, to see how much has improved over the years is quite exciting. We appreciate all that they have done and continue to do,” Roy said of the Historical Society.

Roy had been an active member of the DCHS board in the 2000s and early 2010s and though he is no longer a board member he continues to support the organization in many ways.

Melissa Kneeland, Executive Director of the DCHS, said this donation is crucial for their operations, which has seen less and less funding throughout the last 10 to 15 years.

“I am blown away by this gift,” she said. “Supporting operations, as we know, is the most difficult to get funding for, but is most crucial to make everything function. It’s not only the generosity of the donation, but the thoughtfulness of knowing where that need really is. That was humbling and makes us so grateful.”

Georgina Tegart, Executive Director of the CFDC, added that most WCU Challenge donations have been going to critical basic needs and was thrilled to see an organization like the Historical Society be part of the Challenge.

“We really love to see support for other critical nonprofits in our area,” Georgina said. “It’s wonderful to see donors step forward to help these organizations that are so important and influential to our community.”

To donate to DCHS, send a check to The Dunn County Historical Society, P.O. Box 437, Menomonie, WI 54751 or call the museum at 715-232-8685. Online donations will be available in the near future.

With the pandemic in full swing, the Red Cedar State Trail certainly saw an increase in outdoor enthusiasts. For many, getting outdoors and enjoying the little things in life became an integral part of balancing mental and physical health. An anonymous donor recently opened a new fund at the CFDC and chose The Friends of the Red Cedar and Hoffman Hills as their charity of choice for the WCU Challenge.

This donor said the following about their donation: “I am a user of the Red Cedar Trail and Hoffman Hills; they are gems of Dunn County. I have had the good fortune to hike, bike and ski them for many years and it’s always a wonderful getaway right in our local backyard.”

Friends of the Red Cedar and Hoffman Hills board members Bill Kryshak, Ellen Ochs and Deb Challe accepted the check in early December right at the Red Cedar Trail Head in Menomonie. Bill said he hopes to add signage to both the Red Cedar State Trail and Hoffman Hills to make navigation clearer and easier.

“We really appreciate this donation,” Bill said. “Our whole goal is to make our trails better and more user friendly. This money will go right back into the trails. We thank this anonymous donor; without donations (and volunteers), we aren’t an organization.”

To make a donation to Friends of the Red Cedar and Hoffman Hills, please visit


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