Local groups, churches benefit from longtime Janesville volunteers

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Shelly Birkelo
Sunday, November 8, 2015

JANESVILLE—When David and Susan Cress aren't volunteering in the community, they enjoy water walking or traveling.

Recently they could be found volunteering at the Rock County Historical Society's Snap Apple event, ushering at the Janesville Performing Arts Center and winterizing flowerbeds at Riverside Park.

The Janesville couple have been married for 51 years and almost always volunteer together.

They're efforts with a half-dozen local groups and two churches don't go unnoticed.

“Without support of people like Dave and Sue, The Friends group could not exist,” said Sandy Hendricks, president of Friends of Riverside Park.

“They basically volunteer for every project we have,” she said.

That can be up to a dozen a year.

The Cresses adopted a large flowerbed in the park, have written grants to buy trees and perennials at the park and also help with park fundraisers, Hendricks said.

“They're active, dedicated and supportive and what make nonprofit organizations work. They're also positive and easy to work with,” she said.

Amanda Strobel, volunteer and internship program manager at the Rock County Historical Society, agreed.

“They're really great and always willing to help out. I just love having them here because it's volunteers like them why we're able to do so many programs,” she said.

Dave, a retired mechanical engineer, began volunteering 40 years ago as an usher at St.William Catholic Church.

Susan, a retired preschool teacher, began volunteering as a room mother when the couple's two daughters attended Washington Elementary School.

Their volunteerism became second nature and grew over time.

“When somebody asked, we were willing,” Susan said.

Today, the Cresses volunteer at St. William Catholic Church, where they serve beverages during funeral luncheons and help with the annual rummage sale.

Dee Lancour knows she can always count on them at the church.

“They're reliable and so friendly. David is knowledgeable about antiques. Susan sits down on the ground and starts sorting and marking items while laughing through the whole process. They're wonderful,” she  said.

David is treasurer of Knights of Columbus Council 9230, a role he's had for a decade. He also has been an officer for 35 years serving on the planning committee of the Independent Order of Foresters, a fraternal organization. The Cresses helped the group with highway clean-up and workdays in the past.

Both have been officers for Modern Woodmen and participated in highway clean-up with other members of the benevolent insurance group.

They volunteer at the food tent during the Rock County 4-H Fair for First Lutheran Church.

The two explained what they enjoy most about their volunteerism.

“It makes me feel good to help other people,” said Susan, 73.

“It's the satisfaction of helping people and accomplishing things,” said David, 74.

The Cresses said they plan to continue volunteering.

“There's a need,” Susan said.

“Just to be helpful,” David added.

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