The Rotary Club of Milwaukee has named Sister Edna Lonergan, OSF as its 2016 Person of the Year. Sr. Edna is the President of St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care, a highly respected organization that introduced dementia-specific day care to this area and was among the pioneers of fully integrated intergenerational day care in our country.
Rotarian Jim Gormley, the St. Ann’s board chairman has high praise for Sr. Edna. “She has an incredible vision. It’s an incredible vision that’s powered by her faith. Her dedication to the mission of St. Ann’s is incredible.”
The Rotary Person of the Year award is a unique honor that focuses on the professional accomplishments of the award winner. Rather than celebrating civic or philanthropic achievements, this award recognizes the winner’s work. A committee of Milwaukee Rotarians reviews all the nominations with a particular focus on how the nominees have applied their professional work to better the community.
“The Rotary Person of the Year Award recognizes individuals, executives and entrepreneurs who, through their profession, are making the Milwaukee community a better place to live and work,” President Dan Vliet of the Rotary Club of Milwaukee said. “The purpose of this award is to highlight the second objective of Rotary: to foster high ethical standards in business and professions, to recognize the worthiness of all useful occupations, and to dignify each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to serve society.”
St. Ann began in 1983 with a focus on adult day care. As Sr. Edna led its growth, incorporating the mission of intergenerational care, St. Ann’s moved into its Stein Campus in the late 1990’s. The organization describes the goal of the intergenerational program as serving the underserved and including day services for the whole person—body, mind and spirit. Meaningful interactions among people of all ages are a consistent element of the St. Ann’s program.
Just last year, St. Ann’s opened a new Bucyrus Campus on West North Avenue where it has expanded its award winning services.
In his Person of the Year nomination, Rotarian Doug MacNeil shared a quote from Sr. Edna summarizing her work. “We wanted to make a dream into a reality, a place where young and old care for one another and learn from one another . . . True to our Franciscan tradition, we continue to value those individuals whom society tends to overlook – those who are vulnerable because they are young, frail or challenged with disabilities. Each one of our clients is an extraordinary gift, who gives us the will and courage to continue with our mission through their own powerful example.”