The Breese Legacy

The Breese Legacy

By Judy Blase Woodruff

Forty-five years ago, Jim Richter was persuaded by Lavern Kuhl and Vince Wesselmann to volunteer at Camp Ondessonk. It began a legacy that remains today with Jim’s sons, Carl, Brent, Keith, Matthew, and more than 25 other long-time, dedicated volunteers from Breese, Ill., and the surrounding county.

The Breese Legacy -Jim Richter, Mike Jennings, and Dan King
Jim Richter, left, representing Catholic Holy Family Society Council #82 of Breese, presented Ranger Mike Jennings and Executive Director Dan King with a gift to support the construction of the Monsignor Fournie Mini Camp Village. (Photo taken 2015)

Carl, with a background in construction, said he has been volunteering at Camp, “off and on for 30 years.” Jim took his four sons to Camp when he volunteered, and now, walking in his dad’s footsteps, Carl states, “I continue to volunteer to this day.”

The Breese volunteers, mainly consist of family, but they seem to add more friends from the community each year. Some of these friends attended Camp as children, and they are grateful to be able to give back to where some of their best childhood memories were made.

The Breese Legacy- Jeff Kopsic, Carl Richter, Kevin Venhaus, and Jim Bugger
Left to right: Jeff Kopsic, Carl Richter, Kevin Venhaus, and Jim Bugger working on the Pete Korte Lodge.

Throughout the years, the talented Breese volunteers have accomplished many projects at Camp Ondessonk. Jim Richter recalls laying tile in St. Noel, working on the bath house by the beach, and helping construct the Cabana near Lake St. Isaac.

Carl reflects that throughout the years, he is sure that there is not a building at Camp that their volunteers have not touched. Most recently, the group poured the concrete foundation for the Pete Korte Lodge, as well as helped build walls, set trusses, and laid sheeting down for the roof. In addition, right before summer camp began this year, they installed better ceiling fans in the cabins of Monsignor Fournie Mini-Camp Village so the youngsters would be more comfortable in the summer’s heat.

“It is great working with others for the same outcome; for kids to enjoy Camp each summer. Being recognized for coming down and working – it is great knowing that our time volunteering is valued and very much appreciated and that giving that time and expertise so others can enjoy Camp is enough [thanks],” states Carl.

Breese Volunteers on site to build Monsignor Fournie Mini Camp Village in 2015. Left to right: Dennis Moss, Ben Richter, Stephen Thole, Jim Richter, Kevin Sinwell, Jimmy Middendorff, David Klockenkemper, Aaron Eversgerd, Adam Fields, Cole Kapp, Jason Kapp, Carl Richter, Braden Revermann, Craig Revermann, Keith Richter, and Brad Richter.

Click here to learn more about volunteering a Camp Ondessonk


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