YWCA recognizing Hesgard, six others for special 'distinction'

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Shelly Birkelo
Friday, March 7, 2014

JANESVILLE—It's no surprise to nominators of Kim Hesgard that the YWCA has named her one of its 2014 Rock County Women of Distinction.

But it is to the modest Hesgard, director of marketing at Mercy Health System, who also is a wife, mother and dedicated community volunteer.

“It still hasn't sunk in yet I'll be one who will be recognized,” she said.  “It's inspiring; the women honored, whom I aspire to be more like. They have the ability to excel in many corners of their lives. They're phenomenal with family, friends, work and volunteering in the community. The event celebrates that."

"Kim would do anything for anyone," wrote Barb Bortner in her nomination letter of Hesgard, who is her employee, colleague and friend of more than 20 years. "She is a great leader, a remarkable mom, a dear friend and a true inspiration to women everywhere."

Bortner was right in stating Hesgard's "volunteer commitments are too numerous to count."

Hesgard admitted to currently being involved in seven projects that include: Serving on the executive leadership team/planning committee for the Bert Blain Memorial Heart Walk, music and drama leadership of Fulton 4-H, team captain for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, golf outing planning committee of the GIFTS Men's Shelter and work on the governance board of the TAGOS Leadership Academy in Janesville.

“I select things I'm passionate about and the people I would be surrounded with, who fuel my energy that I'm uplifted by,” Hesgard said.

Hesgard is among five Women of Distinction, one Young Woman of Distinction and a Corporate Award of Merit that will be recognized during the YWCA's inaugural evening celebration Friday, April 4, at the Pontiac Convention Center, 2809 N. Pontiac Drive, Janesville.

Bortner and others know Hesgard is deserving.

"Kim is the epitome of the giving volunteer dedicated to making Janesville a better place to live and work. She volunteers at about 50 events a year--nearly one per week--and that's excluding any responsibilities she has at Mercy," Bortner said.

Rich Gruber, vice president of Community Advocacy for Mercy Health System, is continuously impressed by Hesgard's "can-do" spirit.

"Kim is the first to volunteer her time, talent and energy, take on a leadership role and get the job done. Her welcoming smile and enthusiasm is contagious. She is the ideal role model for young people and truly is a woman of distinction," Gruber said.

Hesgard respects Mercy's support of community.

“I'm one of many conducting events to give back to community,” she said.

Jen DeGarmo, owner of FIDO, described Hesgard as “a leader, role model, activist and community supporter whose contributions have made a tremendous impact on countless others."

Bortner said those who know Hesgard are lucky to have her in their lives.

"She is truly a woman of distinction in every sense," Bortner said.

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