Now more than ever, the world is searching for ways to thank its essential workers. In partnership with Broadway Across America, Overture Center announced the winners of its “Nominate a Star Contest,” shining a spotlight on essential workers within the Madison community.
In October, Broadway at Overture, presented by American Family Insurance, turned to social media to invite locals to nominate Wisconsin-based essential workers who have gone above and beyond for the community.
After reviewing more than 40 nominees, five winners were selected based on their contribution to the community and the compelling nature of their story. The following winners of the Nominate a Star Contest will receive four tickets to an upcoming show when Broadway returns to Overture Center:
Tony Hornung, Madison: A state employee with the Department of Administration/Records department, Hornung’s duties were shifted to COVID relief. Starting last April, he and his team members were called upon to deliver Remdesivir and COVID-19 test kits to locations all over the state, from Green Bay to Platteville. They were often called upon at the last minute, and sometimes those trips turned into 12-hour days, but all items were delivered correctly, on time for facilities that needed them.
Molly Jasper, Madison: Jasper is a UW Health ultrasound technician who was redeployed in March to screen for COVID-19. She’s a single mom (her partner died seven years ago) who sent her daughters to their grandma’s house for six months so she could do this risky heartbreaking work. Jasper has sponsored at least four families via Madison Neighbors Helping Neighbors during the pandemic, providing food, clothing, household items and friendship.
Gary Reynolds, Madison: Reynolds is a chaplain at both Meriter and UW hospitals. At age 82, he brings a smile of empathy and encouragement, a warm conversation and a prayer of comfort to the sick, the scared, the grieving and the dying whenever he’s called on and any time of day or night. He faithfully risks his own health to bring comfort where it is sorely needed.
Stacy Schrimpf, Madison: From the onset of the COVID crisis, nurse Schrimpf has been a member of the team staffing UW Hospital’s COVID ward. Schrimpf’s compassion for her patients was evident when she was interviewed by a local TV channel early on in the crisis to show the efforts required by nursing staff in putting on PPE and preparing for work. She demonstrated this carefully, while speaking about how challenging it was to see COVID patients struggling because no loved ones could be with them. While working diligently at her UW position, She also earned an additional degree at Edgewood College this spring. Schrimpf’s work includes caring for her two young sons, ages 7 and 9.
Clare Vanden Hogen, Appleton: Vanden Hogen is an activity assistant at a nursing home in Appleton. At 62, she has more energy for working with her residents than most children. During the pandemic, she has continued to bring her sunshine personality to her residents, bringing horses to visit their windows, calling bingo over the loudspeaker and holding their hands when they miss their family.