There are two things I can confidently say about my writing. #1. … and thank heavens — I have never had writers’ block. #2. I rarely write in the first person.
Today I am going to forget #2 as this article is about a dear friend and there is nothing impersonal about this one-of-a-kind lady. In case you are wondering, Webster’s dictionary defines “impersonal” as “ having or showing no interest in individual people or their feelings: lacking emotional warmth. : not relating to or influenced by personal feelings.”
No one could be further from this description than St. Germain’s Lois Ruediger. Saturday, Jan. 4, marked the last event that Lois helped to organize. This was the 20th anniversary of the Angel on My Shoulder Polar Plunge.
Lois, her husband, George, Wendy Ell and Mike Wolf came up with the idea over a fish fry at the Ruediger’s restaurant, Fibbers, those many years ago. They were looking for a winter activity that would benefit the worthy charity.
The event was embraced by the community almost immediately. Over the last 20 years, the Polar Plunge has raised more than $500,000 for Angel on My Shoulder, a charitable organization that lends support to children and their families affected by cancer.
For many people, this might be enough work, but not Lois! We met in the mid-1990s at a Bo Boen Snowmobile Club meeting. We both had recently relocated to St. Germain. The Ruedigers were busily building the St. Germain Lodge and Resort along with its on-site restaurant, Fibbers.
Despite running a new resort and restaurant, Lois jumped in and volunteered to work at almost every event. Our pet project was the Christmas Luminara Walk, tree lighting and Christmas party. We decorated the Community Center with our own decorations from home, had a boom box and loads of Christmas tapes and filled the tables with raffle prizes.
It was a ball. Hayrides through town, the walk, the tree lighting, and the party!
But there were always lots of fundraisers that the club sponsored and it was a blast to work at them. The club would help out at several community events by working the food booth or providing volunteers. Lois was always one of those volunteers.
She served many years as the Northwoods Regional Board President for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Wisconsin. She organized many fundraising events for this worthy group.
Over the years, Lois organized many of St. Germain’s events. There were several craft fairs benefitting local youth, the Christmas Bazaar, the Independence Day deliberation are among the many events she organized.
She and George eventually sold the resort and restaurant and Lois bought the Business Connection. This was almost 13 years ago. During this time she started a direct marketing company, Lady Bella, purveyor of Miche’s handbags.
In addition to working on the St. Germain functions, she also began working with the Sayner/Star Lake chamber. She responded to requests for tourism information as well as promoted town events.
She truly has a love for St. Germain and the Northwoods. We were very lucky she and George chose this place as their home.
Currently, Lois and George are enjoying retirement at their Alabama home away from the snow and cold. Lois has promised herself a year of making no outside commitments. She is one lady who has earned every minute of her new-found life of leisure!