Citizen Wausau

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Thank you Lane Ware

by on June 6th, 2014

In trying to find some broader idea in which to place this post, I came up with tempering.  I am told often to temper my emotions, to hold them back, and to let them find their own quiet power.  I think I have learned the value of that in most ways, in most positive ways.  One of the places I refuse to let that lesson be learned is in the sensation of GRATITUDE.  I let gratitude cover me like a wave, and knock me back.

So, today when a young person took the time to call me at work and tell me that Lane Ware had passed away as soon as the sadness and shock wore off, I was left crying at my desk feeling an amazing sense of gratitude for what Lane had meant to everyone of us.  Literally, every one of us.

I only spent a small amount of time with Lane one on one.  It was intense time, and I was glad that he took the time to tell me something he thought important.  One time I was too young to give a crap why this “old lawyer dude” wanted to talk to me, and the other times I was often times too scared to hear through the buzzing in my ears ‘do not mess up’.

When I think of Central Wisconsin, there are pillars on which our region is built.  Lane Ware is one of those pillars.  While he might not have built an 11 story building, or founded a 80 million dollar shoe company, he is equal to all of them.  Every leader, prominent community member, philanthropist, GIVER in this community spent time with Lane Ware, he touched and guided them in their desire to make our community better.

So, the people that you respect who guide this community in the right direction, or the people that we decry for leading this community in the wrong direction, it seems like they all received guidance from Lane Ware.  Those businesses that help shape our community, that come to our community, that feed and clothe our community, chances are they worked with Lane.

Years ago I was lucky enough to be able to spend time in the Arts Block project during construction.  To see what it was prior to the vision, to see the vision, and to now see what it is each and every day is a credit to the millions that Lane raised and donated to the project.  And when I sat backstage with BB King telling stories, or too afraid to meet Aretha, or the fact that Bill Cosby now considers Wausau and must stop each year, I am grateful.

I am grateful to Lane Ware, for his work, his presence, his calm hand on the wheel.  I am deeply saddened by the loss, and my thoughts go out to Linda and their children and grandchildren.

But, more than being sad, I am grateful that a man like Lane Ware lived a life of massive inspiration in a town like mine.  Thank you Lane Ware for making my life (and my community) better.

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