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Jill Prushiek Honored for
Volunteer Work with Special Olympics

RELEASED: Sept. 28, 2006

Dr. Jill Prushiek
Dr. Jill Prushiek

EAU CLAIRE — Dr. Jill Prushiek, associate professor and field experience director for the College of Education and Human Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, received the 2005 Jeff Wendt Appreciation Award for her volunteer efforts with Indianhead Area Special Olympics.

Andrea Sullivan, development director for Indianhead Area Special Olympics, said the Jeff Wendt Award recognizes an individual in the Indianhead Area who made the most impact on the program throughout the year. It is named for Jeff Wendt, a Special Olympics athlete who died in 1993 at the age of 33, and was established by his family in recognition of his love and commitment for Special Olympics.

"Jill believes in Special Olympics and has gone above and beyond in making sure others know about it," Sullivan said.

As an eight-year member of the area management team for Special Olympics, Prushiek helps plan events, works them and is instrumental in getting others to help.

"I have been humbled as I work with those who have cognitive disabilities because I continually see what they can do, not what they can't do," said Prushiek, who joined the UW-Eau Claire faculty in 1997. "When I face difficult times, I remember the oath of Special Olympics: 'Let me win. If I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.'"

Prushiek encourages education students at the university to volunteer for Special Olympics as part of their service learning requirement.

"I see that students volunteer and keep coming back long after they have finished their service learning requirement because they enjoy working with the athletes and gain a better understanding of people, abilities, disabilities and volunteerism," Prushiek said.

Prushiek also recruits faculty and staff to participate in the group's major fund raisers, the Leader-Telegram Buckshot Run and the annual Polar Plunge. "I think she tells them if you don't take the plunge or pay her to do it, they have to do the Buckshot," Sullivan said. "Jill has raised a large amount of money for our program over the eight years she has been helping us."

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JW/JB

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