Wisconsin Heroes Recognized by Gov. Doyle

MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle tonight recognized the following individuals in his State of the State address:


·         Steve Stricker – A professional golfer whose career began in Edgerton, Wisconsin, Steve Stricker last year won the Barclays and finished second to Tiger Woods in the FedEx Cup Playoffs. 


Stricker is proof that great achievements are possible when we have faith and work hard.   After his career got off to a promising start, in 2005 Sticker lost his PGA card.  He did not let this get him down.  Instead, Stricker worked hard, hitting balls out of a trailer in the December snow on the practice range at Cherokee Country Club in Madison, and persevered. In 2006 and 2007, Sticker received the trophy for the U.S. PGA Tour comeback player of the year, the first player to win the award twice.


·         Dr. Jamie Thomson – A world-renowned scientist at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, Dr. Thomson has led the field of stem cell research, isolating the first line of human embryonic stem cells in 1998.  Dr. Thomson created the ground-breaking method of using skin cells to create new stem cells that may one day save lives. His latest work is yet another example of how Wisconsin is dedicated to research that will improve human health. Thanks to Dr. Thomson’s hard work and dedication, Wisconsin remains at the forefront of stem cell research.


·         Eric Apfelbach – An entrepreneur dedicated to developing new renewable fuel technology, Eric Apfelbach, President of Virent Energy Systems in Madison, Wisconsin.  By supporting high tech companies like Virent Wisconsin can accelerate new businesses that could become the next generation of Google or Microsoft.


·         John Moyhnihan – As the owner of Keeper Goals in Butler, Wisconsin, a small manufacturing business that has made high quality athletic equipment such as soccer goals and basketball hoops for 25 years, John Moyhnihan does the right thing and provides health insurance for his employees.  In spite of rising health insurance costs, taking care of his employees is a top priority for Moyhnihan.  For the past two years his insurance costs have gone up nearly 60 percent.  He spends nearly 15 times what he spent on health care a decade ago and health care costs take up almost 25 percent of his overall business.  Each year he works to look for better health care deals and each year the costs increase.


·         Nicole and Matthew Horton – Nicole and Matthew Horton of Madison, Wisconsin, only want the best for their son Owen.  In September, their two-year-old son Owen was diagnosed with Autism.  Autism experts have told the Horton’s that if Owen got immediate treatment the chances for his improvement would grow dramatically.  Matthew has health insurance through his employer, but the insurance company refuses to cover Owen’s treatment.  The Horton’s are currently paying more than $620 per week for Owen’s treatment, but he is still receiving 10 fewer hours per week than professionals recommend.  Autism treatment can often cost families more than $50,000 a year – a cost almost no Wisconsin family could ever afford.


·         Justin Beaver – When his mother left home and his father passed away, Justin Beaver, of Palmyra, Wisconsin, had to put himself through college.  He still found time to mentor middle students and coach high school football. In addition, Beaver played football himself.  He was named the best player in the country for Division Three football and led the UW-Whitewater Warhawks to their first ever national championship. Dedicated students like Beaver are vital to the continued success and prosperity of Wisconsin.


·         Kristina Clair, Allen Betry, and Dick George – This teacher, student and CEO, exemplify the power of education. 


Kristina Clair, a student at Madison East High School, was among the first students to sign the Wisconsin Covenant – the Governor’s plan to bring higher education within reach to more Wisconsin students.  Last spring, Kristina, along with more than 17,000 eighth graders from across the state, pledged to stay in school, maintain a B average, be good citizens and take courses that prepare them for college. In return, Governor Doyle will make the dream of affordable college a reality for them and their families.


Allen Betry is a teacher at Horace Mann Middle School in Wausau.  He discussed the Wisconsin Covenant with his 8th grade class last spring, letting them know that if they work hard in high school, college can be a reality for each of them.


Dick George is CEO and President of Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation.  Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation dedicating $40 million to establish the Wisconsin Covenant Foundation, building on the states commitment of nearly $190 million for financial aid and the University of Wisconsin Growth Agenda, ensuring that there is financial help for families who need it and additional space in the University system for students who have earned their way there.


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