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Lake Geneva man recognized for charitable efforts

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Kayla Bunge
January 18, 2010
— Jim Drescher hesitates to take credit for the success of some major charitable efforts in Walworth County.

“I’m like an extension cord,” he said. “I just plug people in.”


Drescher, 60, of Lake Geneva is a recipient of the 2010 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award from Gateway Technical College. He was selected for his commitment to the protection of human rights and social justice and his work to improve the lives of underprivileged or underrepresented people.


Drescher headed up several golf outings that raised more than $1 million for organizations that support children and adults with disabilities.


He started a countywide food pantry that serves hundreds of families who struggle to keep food on the table.


He will be honored today in a ceremony on the Gateway Technical College campus in Kenosha.


“I was very surprised,” he said of receiving the award. “And I was very humbled.”


Drescher, president of the Geneva National Foundation, for several years has organized golf outings to raise money for Lakeland School, SMILES therapeutic riding center in Darien and VIP Services in Elkhorn. The foundation since 2005 has raised more than $1.5 million for the organizations, which serve children or adults with disabilities.


He credits the community and its enthusiasm for the success of the fundraising efforts.


“People have to have it in their hearts to do it, and I think these people truly have these children in their hearts,” he said. “They pull at your heart strings. They’re just such wonderful people. And they need our support.”


Drescher through his charitable foundation last spring opened a food pantry that serves hundreds of needy people in Walworth County. He worked with Sal Dimiceli, founder of Time is Now to Help, to launch the Walworth County Family Resource Center. He worked with food pantries in southern Wisconsin to learn how to improve services and provide people with complete, balanced meals.


He again credits the support of donors and volunteers with the success of the food pantry.


“It’s such a community effort. I couldn’t do it alone,” he said.


Drescher said he does not feel obligated to help disadvantaged people; he sees problems and solves them.


“God only gave me one kind of cards: charge cards. Put me on a project and let me go at it. I’ll get it done,” he said. “Problems are always opportunities for me.”


Drescher said everyone—no matter their race, ability or socioeconomic status—deserves to be treated with kindness. He said it’s fine to donate to a worthy cause, but it’s better to donate something of quality—whether it’s time helping in a classroom or the same food you would feed your family.


“It’s all about respect for one another,” he said. “You really show respect by the quality of your donation.”


Drescher wishes he could put more names on the award. He said he will accept it today with his army of supporters in mind.



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