The Platteville Regional Chamber’s Party in the Park was held Thursday as part of Hometown Festival Week.
The annual event has the theme of “Salute to Volunteers.” Due to the tremendous outpouring of volunteers following the June 16 tornadoes, the chamber partnered with the City of Platteville, UW–Platteville, Building Platteville, Inc. and the Main Street Program to expand the theme of this year’s event to include all of the tornado relief volunteers.
Other presenters included City Manager Larry Bierke, who issued proclamations to the regional emergency services groups who assisted in the tornado relief efforts; UW–Platteville Chancellor Dennis Shields, who praised the work by all the volunteers; Patrick Reinsma of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism; Nicole Nelson, legislative aide for state Sen. Dale Schultz (R–Richland Center); and Ginger Kollmansberger from the office of U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R–Wisconsin).
Kollmansberger presented special Senatorial Recognition certificates to members of the city’s police, fire and EMS departments, as well as the UW–Platteville Campus Police on behalf of Johnson for their exemplary performance on June 16.
Reinsma reported on a special public relations campaign being facilitated by his department to assist Platteville in promoting to visitors that we are “up and running and open for business” after the storms.
Chamber past president Tim Boldt thanked all the volunteers who assisted with the tornado relief efforts. “It’s what makes our community special,” he said.
An update was given about the Platteville Tornado Relief Fund and it was noted that Building Platteville is selling the commemorative T-shirt “Volunteers Rock” with proceeds going to the Tornado Relief Fund. Doug Wagen of QueenB Radio presented a check for $1,500 to the fund from their Holiday Auction.
Boldt said that part of the proceeds of the Chamber’s Hog Roast would go to the Tornado Relief Fund and the new Firefighter Memorial.
Complimentary hot dogs, ice cream and milk were provided by the Platteville Optimists with support of the Platteville Rotary Club and free popcorn given out by the Main Street Program. The Wundo Band closed the evening as part of the Music in the Park Series.
“This is probably the best Party in the Park we’ve ever had,” said chamber executive director Kathy Kopp. “So many people came out and supported our community volunteers. It’s very heartwarming.”
Special guests at the event were Carrie and Josh Gates, who lost their home in the EF2 tornado. Carrie Gates was the most seriously injured person in the tornado.