by Steve Prestegard
t is hard to find a Platteville-area service effort that doesn’t include Terry or Dee Woolf, or Terry and Dee Woolf.
The list includes, but is not limited to, Platteville’s Boy Scouts, St. Mary Catholic Church and other church groups, the American Legion, two food pantries, and Habitat for Humanity — “working with people trying to create awareness of the needs in the community,” said Dee. “I think that’s something we need to get back to in society today, to feel fulfillment without necessarily buying something.”
The Platteville Regional Chamber gave the Woolfs its Lifetime Service Award in 2013, but it’s obvious the Woolfs’ volunteer roles are far from done.
One common theme in most of the Woolfs’ volunteer work is children.
Dee Woolf recalled that Dick Brockman, former owner of The Journal, “would try a lot of projects” with children in mind, “and we all really admired him even if it wouldn’t quite work.”
Terry Woolf grew up on a farm in Ellenboro. Dee grew up in Menomonie, Ill., and attended the former St. Clare Academy in Sinsinawa. They met at a dance in Galena, and moved to Platteville when they married 44 years ago. They’ve lived in the same house on South Court Street, where they raised their three children, since then.
“We still have the same neighbors that we had 45 years ago,” said Dee.
“When we first moved here, this street was very quiet,” said Terry. “And now it’s the main thoroughfare between Kwik Trip and the university. It’s still a very good place to live.”
Terry Woof worked for UW–Platteville for 36 years full-time, and has worked there part-time for 10 years with the grounds crew. He started at UWP when it consisted of “Rountree [Hall] and a few other buildings; that was it. It’s really blossomed since then.”
Dee Woolf, who graduated from Clarke University in Dubuque, was a teacher at St. Mary’s School when it closed in June 2012.
“I had a lot of memories, a lot of good feelings,” she said. “I saw a lot of good kids grow and mature, so I felt good about that. When our former students graduate from high school, we get invited to their graduation parties, so we reminisce.”
She now is a substitute teacher and works part-time at Manor Care. She also teaches Christian education at St. Mary’s, and visits homebound members of her church because it’s “just a good thing to do.”
Dee Woolf’s observation about St. Mary’s could apply to numerous other areas: “It seems like some of those volunteer things spread into other things.” Specifically, her involvement at St. Mary’s got her into Church Women United, for which she is the treasurer.
“You find one group you’re involved in, and then you invite people in to keep the group going,” she said.
Another example is the Platteville Food Pantry, which Terry said “has really grown by leaps and bounds, and it’s really helped a lot of people.”
The other food pantry effort is Second Harvest, which delivers food at St. Mary’s the third Friday of each month.
They’ve been involved in Platteville Boy Scouts “ever since our sons were old enough to be in them,” said Dee. Though most of their work has been with Cub Scout Pack 83, based at St. Mary’s, “of course we’re all naturally friendly with every other group in town,” she added.
Both the Woolfs have been Boy Scout Unit Commissioners. “If you’re going to take your child to the meeting anyway, you might as well meet their friends and their parents,” she said.
Earlier in December, the Platteville Regional Chamber called Dee asking for some Scouts to set up luminaries for an event at the chamber office. The call came on a Friday at 4 p.m.
“The Scouts who did help came with a parent, so we tried to involve the whole family,” she said. “If young people see their parents doing it, they’re more likely to do it.”
Both are involved in the American Legion, Terry as a member (he served in the Army statewide in the military police during the Vietnam War) and Dee as a member of the Auxiliary.
“The Legion supports our veterans, veterans that need help then and now,” said Terry. “We’re big into children and youth programs.”
The American Legion and Auxiliary sponsors Badger Boys State and Badger Girls State. Dee said the latter “keeps me hopping, keeping people aware of Platteville.”
The Legion’s programs include scholarships for children of deceased veterans, and honors during veteran funerals. Terry went to more than 30 veteran funerals over the past year.
The Woolfs aren’t the only Platteville residents who seem to be involved in nearly every volunteer effort.
“Seems like that’s the way it is,” said Terry. “If you can get people started on small things, you can get them involved in time.”
“There are young people out there who are willing to volunteer,” said Dee. “They volunteer when they’re able to.”