2022 LifeWise StL Champions Event
Criteria for Champion Award:
- Exhibits passion and involvement in the mission of LifeWise.
- Invests time, talents and financial support in LifeWise programming, projects, and committees.
- Connects others to LifeWise.
2022 LifeWise Champions
Rick & Sharon Huemoeller
Eight years ago in August of 2014, Sharon Huemoeller volunteered at LifeWise through her then employer, TDK Technologies. The group of 10 volunteers from TDK worked on a Saturday cleaning our Early Childhood Center’s toys, shelving and playground.
When Sharon got home she told her husband, Rick, about LifeWise. Rick envied the experience she had, loved our mission, and wanted to help. Rick enjoys shopping and finding quality items at bargain prices. He began putting that passion to work finding quality items for our fundraising auctions and our Holiday Market.
Since that first introduction to LifeWise from Sharon in 2014, Rick has been coming down bi-monthly to share his finds. Over that last eight years, Rick has been in the doors more than 40 times and has donated hundreds of items! Rick’s commitment and his keen eye for a great deal have furthered the mission of LifeWise to support the life-changing work of our participants.
As committed philanthropists, working to make the world a better place for all of us, we are delighted to honor Rick and Sharon Huemoeller as 2022 LifeWise Champions!
We honor our friend and artist, Andrea Hughes, who has created our Champion Award plaques for over 20 years! Andrea fashions each flower, leaf, and face by hand from Fimo clay for these “one of a kind” creations!
Andrea “Kahrizma” Hughes lives, creates, and works in St. Louis. In accordance with the “In Six Words Or Less” movement, her motto is “Born an artist, drew upon life!” She produces oil and acrylic portraits, foundobject pieces, scratch boards, and collage/assemblages. Her artwork has been displayed in the galleries of Yeyo Arts Collective/GYA (“AllAboutMe”), Regional Arts Commission (“Just Jazz” ), Governor French Academy (with the Zuka Arts Guild), and Vaughn Cultural Center (“Generation to Generation”). Traveling exhibitions include “Urban Nomads” shown at St. Louis University, Forest Park Community College, Urban League of St. Louis, and Southwest Art Center in Atlanta, Ga.
Andrea is the President of Zuka Arts, founded by artist Kenneth Calvert, and has been a member since 2007. She is also an alum of the Regional Arts Commission’s Community Artists in Training (CAT).
In 2011, she became a member of the Yeyo Arts Collective operating GYA Art Gallery, the first collective of AfricanAmerican Women to open an art gallery in the St. Louis region, the collective serves many St. Louis neighborhoods through artbased programs, including the “Windows Project,” where decorative boards were placed on derelict houses to brighten the community.
The Zuka Arts Guild seeks to promote knowledge of and participation in the visual arts through exhibitions, teaching programs, workshops, seminars, and selected public art projects.
LifeWise is so very blessed with the friendship and partnership of Andrea and her talents! It is with great pleasure that we honor her tonight! Thank you, Andrea, for ALL you do to support the mission of LifeWise!
Jim Reizner is a retired engineering manager, having worked for Procter & Gamble for 40 years. In his work and through his retirement, Jim has traveled extensively. He has been fortunate in his life and believes in paying that back through volunteering. He loves helping people and doing projects of all types.
Jim has two children, both married. Aaron is an engineer and recently changed careers from working in the pharmaceutical industry to following his passion for home renovation. Kim has her doctorate in physical therapy, is a professor at a university, and works at Shriners Burns Center. She has four daughters, whom Jim loves to spend time with. Jim first got connected with LifeWise in 2017 through the STLVolunteer website. He listed various skills and interests, and Natalie Gemberling Webb connected Jim with Glenn Choate in Facilities Maintenance.
At LifeWise Jim did all kinds of maintenance work, from wall and ceiling repair to painting, electrical work, plumbing, and carpentry – basically whatever needed to be done.
The projects Jim worked on were fun for him, but most of all, Jim remembers the people. Working with and getting to know Glenn was wonderful. The office staff on the third floor were always great to work with. Jim especially enjoyed working in the Annex – he shared, “the people there are the best!”
Jim has many special memories of LifeWise too many to share tonight. However, one memory in particular stands out as it signifies what LifeWise is all about and how we treat our volunteers. Scott Walker had invited Jim to a LifeWise holiday party. At the party, Scott came over to chat. Jim told Scott how he felt like a part of the “family” at LifeWise. Scott put his arm over Jim’s shoulder and said “Jim, you ARE family.” To Jim, this signified what LifeWise is all about – a big, extended family.
LifeWise is all about people – the people who work there, the people who volunteer there, and the people who are helped there. Jim’s memories of those people will live on in his heart forever.
We honor Michele Rutledge as a LifeWise Champion for her research, writing and commitment in telling the story of LifeWise StL/Kingdom House.
Two decades ago, the Centennial Committee, chaired by Board Member Donna Puyear, came to the then Executive Director Gene Morse and recommended the publication of an extensive history of the organization. This book would commemorate and celebrate the upcoming 100th anniversary in 2002 of the social service agency, as well as capture, in one work, all of the various people, churches, and dreams that had brought Kingdom House to this significant milestone.
Michele was then a doctoral student at Saint Louis University. Researching and writing this book was a perfect fit to the research she was conducting evaluating the intersections of church and state in United States history through the lens of social service agencies. This book – born of joint visions of celebration, commemoration, and pursuit of a PhD – tells the story of the founding of Kingdom House, now a social service agency, transforming the lives of thousands of people.
From its humble beginnings as a Southern Methodist Sunday School at the turn of the twentieth century, to the plurality of services it provides today to people of all (and no) faiths, Kingdom House has truly been the place where “Change begins Within.” More than a “100+ years of us,” this book serves to tell the story of people of faith. Of women of vision in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Of a shoe executive. Of deaconesses. Of the changes taking place within the South, Missouri, and especially the City of St. Louis the 4th largest in the U.S. when Kingdom House began. It tells of dreams of immigrants and migrants who came to this large city – those who came from southern farms to escape poverty and find jobs in the city, and those who came across waters to find democracy and make a better life for their families.
The story is still being told, as Kingdom House remains a solid place of hope, refuge, education, and safety for the residents of the Near South Side of St. Louis. The current building sits only a few short blocks from where the original house was located. But the core essentials remain: caring for one another, bearing one another’s burdens, giving hope to hopeless, and teaching to fish instead of just giving fish.
As a member of Manchester United Methodist Church in West St. Louis County, Carol Smith was familiar with the work and mission of LifeWise StL. Upon her retirement from Boeing in 2017, where she had spent her career, she began volunteering on a weekly basis at LifeWise.
A long way from selling bombs and missiles at Boeing, Carol has made it her personal pledge to volunteer at an organization she believes in and where her skills are needed. Most weeks you will find Carol working in the Bodega, which provides access to affordable, high-quality essentials that support families in redirecting money and resources towards other financial planning and goals. Carol loves making the Bodega look like a “store”, keeping it well organized.
Her commitment to the Bodega and this retail resource LifeWise offers, has expanded to her support of our annual Holiday Market. Serving hundreds of participants in December, the Holiday Market provides carefully curated new household and clothing items, as well as age appropriate toys. Carol loves to shop for the Holiday Market items and she especially loves finding deals!
Wife to Larry, a mother and now grandmother, Carol’s roots were in Quincy, Illinois. She and Larry’s careers at Boeing took them out of St. Louis for a time. Returning to the St. Louis region several years ago, Carol committed herself to making the world a better place through her volunteer work. Carol has the heart of a servant and is humble and generous with her time she spends at LifeWise. If you ask her, she’ll tell you she doesn’t do enough!
It is with a grateful heart that we honor Carol Smith this evening with our 2022 LifeWise Champion Award. Thank you, Carol, for who you are and all you do!
Past LifeWise Champions
C.E. Gene Robertson
Bob & Donna Puyear
Terry & Kathy Dessent
Rawlins & Shirley Horlacher
Chris & Beth Kemph
Scott & Kathy Walker
Cass Commercial Bank
Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, The Gross Group
CHAN – Catholic Healthcare Auditors Network
Nestle Purina (Corporate)
Salem in Ladue UMC (Faith)
The Gathering UMC (Faith)
American Eagle Credit Union (Corporate)
Manchester UMC (Faith)
Bike Rehab Ministry, Manchester UMC (Program)
Bryan & Deborah LeMoine
AT&T Gateway Pioneers (Corporate)
Kirkwood UMC (Faith)
Andrea (Andi) Malone
Roger & Jan McCurley
St. Louis Community Credit Union (Corporate)
Salem Rock-A-Babies (Faith)
Chuck & Susan Copeland
Deane & Kay Looney
Warren & Mary Ellen Meyer
Hallmark Stone Company – Fred Christen (Corporate)
Sneakers with Soul – Manchester UMC – Maurice (Moe) Parisien (Program)
Mike & Patty Haughey
Marvin & Alda Fridley
Warren & Delores Rich
Larry & Jo Ross
David & Suzanne Wichman
Union UMC (Faith)
Tom & Debbie Hilton
Robert & Donna Puyear (30-year Volunteers!)
Stan & Leah Richert
Green Trails UMC (Faith)
Rev. Kevin & Patricia Kosh
Rev. Eugene & Lettie Morse
Antwine Rook (Retired Staff)
Chuck & Cathi Vaaler
Webster UMC (Faith)
Mark Neilsen (In Loving Honor & Memory)
Jorje Quinn & Bill Buchanan
Wells Fargo (Corporate)
Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College (Program)
No Event Due to Pandemic
Tom & Barb Becherer
Brian Murphy & Nina North-Murphy
Tom & Julie Preis — Hands That Serve
Tim & Betsy Vicente
Jacobs Engineering — Christine Esser (Corporate)
Webster Hills UMC (Faith)
Rick & Sharon Huemoeller