20 for 20 Honorees

On Dec. 11, 2013 – at Aria in downtown Minneapolis – we will be celebrating our 20th anniversary.

Part of the celebration will include honoring 20 of our most dedicated volunteers, donors, and partners. We would not exist today without these 20 honorees – and we cannot thank them enough for all they have done for our camps, our programs – and our kids. They have – quite literally – helped change thousands of lives.

Below is a list of our “20 for 20” – with a bit about what each one has meant to One Heartland.

For the full press release, please click here.

For more information about the event – and to purchase tickets online – please click here.

Angel Flight Central’s volunteer pilots have – in their own private planes – transported thousands of kids to One Heartland camps over the last 20 years. Without their help, the opportunity for many to attend camp would not be a reality.

Bikers with Big Hearts have fundraised for our programs for the last 12 years by organizing an annual bike ride. In addition to the ride, the members stay engaged year round by giving tours, educating others and helping with our program needs.

Challenge Incarceration Program has dedicated thousands of labor hours at the One Heartland Center. Their dedication keeps the facility beautiful through their numerous construction projects, site improvements and daily upkeep.

Marty Chorzempa has both organized fundraisers through his former business and is an individual contributor to One Heartland. His compassion and generosity have made a big impact on the organization and families served.

Leigh Combs has been a pivotal part of Camp True Colors, Minn., bringing community resources and crucial education to our young LGBTQ campers. This education has given our participants the opportunity to find resources, social connections and acceptance after leaving camp.

Christ Presbyterian Church has graciously hosted our campers every travel day with cookouts and games organized by their wonderful volunteers. Their generosity means that our campers head to camp on a luxurious coach bus with full stomachs and new friends.

Fallon has donated thousands of hours and countless resources to One Heartland since the 1990s. From creating marketing materials to spring clean-up to public service announcements seen nationally in publications and on television, Fallon has made a huge impact.

The Fund in the Sun Foundation has raised tens of thousands of dollars for One Heartland since 2006 via its various events, dramatically improving the lives of countless One Heartland campers.

David Gale has changed the lives of thousands of children affected by HIV/AIDS. As the co-founder of our affiliates Camp Pacific Heartland and the unique arts based Camp Hollywood Heart in Malibu, Calif., he and his team have provided camp experiences to young people for the past 19 years.

Susan Jamros has been a foundation to our volunteer medical staff, creating a welcoming environment for all. Her dedication to One Heartland can be measured in splinters, headaches, bee stings and – most importantly – healthy doses of TLC.

Kraus-Anderson took a nice, functional summer camp and transformed it into a vibrant and beautiful year-round home. Their years of generosity have made it possible for us to provide our campers with comfortable lodging, first rate food and incredible program activities.

Gregory Lewis helped found the True Colors Fund in 2008 and has served as their Executive Director ever since. One Heartland later partnered with the True Colors Fund to create Camp True Colors – a program designed to provide acceptance and community for youth identifying as LGBT and being assisted by out of home services.

Vicki Light has dedicated countless hours to our Birch Family Camp over the last 19 years, helping to coordinate, operate and evaluate our camp programs. As a practicing attorney with The Legal Aid Society’s Juvenile Rights Practice, she has also been an invaluable resource to camp families facing legal issues.

Lauren MacLeash has helped us advance our mission through radio, sponsorships, donations and her heart of gold. She has opened many doors for us to raise needed funds and her Cities Sampler has raised millions of dollars for Minnesota charities, including One Heartland.

Paul Molitor has been a compassionate ambassador of One Heartland since the 1990s. From visiting camp and playing baseball with our kids, to making celebrity appearances on our behalf, Paul is indeed an MVP both on and off the field.

Carol Nelson, MD, has volunteered countless hours every summer since 2007. She not only lends us her medical talents, but serves as the surrogate mother for camp staff and is the caretaker of Willow River’s Honor Garden, a quiet place of reflection for campers, staff and volunteers.

Nile Sandeen served as the inspiration for the creation of the first Camp Heartland over 20 years ago, when he and his family spoke openly about Nile’s HIV status at a time when few children did so publicly. He continues to inspire as the pastor at two Lutheran churches in western Wisconsin.

Eric Waugh’s contribution of hundreds of original paintings has generated countless donations to One Heartland’s programs. He also – quite literally – painted the world’s largest painting by an individual artist to raise funds and awareness for our cause.

Glo Westerdahl has been a champion of ours since the 1990s. As the Minnesota Twins Community Relations Coordinator, she invited campers to Twins games, introduced us to players and – with the love and passion she promotes on a daily basis – helped countless of children and families in need.

Neil Willenson founded Camp Heartland in 1993 and became the inspirational visionary for the Beacon of Hope that the camp would become for thousands of children and families impacted by HIV/AIDS. For 18 years, he made campers laugh as “Noodle,” eulogized campers we lost, educated thousands of others about our kids and always maintained his passion and devotion to the heart and soul of Camp Heartland.