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‘That’s my legacy’

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Stacy Vogel
January 20, 2008
— Dave Warren keeps a drawer in a file cabinet at work stuffed to the brim with thank-you notes.

“That’s my legacy,” he said. “That drawer right there.”


The notes prove that, despite Warren’s quiet and gentle manner, his charitable efforts don’t go unnoticed in the community.


Whether through money, goods or time, Warren tries to support anything that will benefit the community, he said. Look on the list of supporters for just about any local charity event, and you’ll probably find Warren’s name.


“If it’s a nonprofit community event, I will support it,” he said.


Warren has spent most of his 47 years in Milton, including the last 16 years as owner of Dave’s Ace Hardware. (He added an Evansville location in 2003.) Over those years, he’s served with the Milton Fund Board, the Blackhawk Epilepsy Foundation, the South Central Wisconsin Red Cross Board and the Milton Joint Fire Department. He even served as a municipal judge from 1993-95.


But while his list of commitments is long, his attention span isn’t, Warren said. Right now, most of his focus is on the Janesville Rotary Club, where he has served as president since July.


“It’s an organization that has a lot of the same values I do,” he said, noting the club’s “Service Above Self” motto.


Warren takes his Rotary presidency very seriously, said friend Bill Boyd, who will take over the position next year.


“He really believes in what we’re doing at Rotary,” Boyd said.


Warren is interested in projects that help youth, such as college scholarships, Boyd said. He also supports Rotary International projects such as building wells in Haiti and eradicating polio.


“Dave is probably one of the most caring people I know,” Boyd said. “He’s very, very sincere.”


Club secretary Heather Longhenry said she’s impressed by Warren’s passion and ability to motivate members. For example, he convinced the club to start supporting Kids Against Hunger, a group that packages food to send to hungry children around the world, after a recent presentation.


“We had somebody come and speak, and he just thought it was a great thing that we should get involved in,” she said.


Dave also is known for his passion for customer service inside his stores. In 2006, he was featured in a national trade magazine for his customer service techniques. He’s created a 50-page booklet describing his system. To Dave, community service is an extension of customer service.


“I decided a long time ago that for us to be successful, we have to make the community successful,” he said.


Dave Warren
Age: 47
Community: Milton
Family: Wife, Lori, who is a Spanish teacher; daughter, Savannah, 10
Occupation: Owner of Dave’s Ace Hardware in Milton
Past jobs: Started working at Ace Hardware while in high school in 1977. He owned a bicycle shop in Milton from 1982-86. He spent a few years in the construction business in Florida before moving back to Milton and buying the hardware store.
Education: Attended UW-Stout one semester and UW-Rock County another semester before deciding college wasn’t for him.
Hobbies: Cooking, piloting, golf. He also collects wine.
Favorite music: Instrumental, smooth jazz, classic rock

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