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Oconto County Historical Society Receives Grant

The Oconto County Historical Society (OCHS) is pleased to announce that we have received a grant of $20,525 from the Leon H. and Clymene M. Bond Foundation to fund the creation of a Potter’s Field Memorial in Oconto’s Evergreen Cemetery. The Leon H. and Clymene M. Bond Foundation is a family endowed foundation committed to the growth and improvement of Oconto County and its surrounding areas. To date the Foundation has given over $4 million dollars to support our local community.

The Memorial is designed to honor the memory of the more than 300 people buried in unmarked graves in the cemetery; people that for too long have remained unknown and unrecognized. The proposed design includes a granite boulder monument with a bronze plaque mounted on it and a plaza of granite paver stones engraved with the name and interment date of each person buried there. In addition, two small gray granite columns will be set into the ground to mark the boundaries of the original potter’s field.

Potter’s fields were common in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but today, the location of most of them is unknown to the public. They were common ground sections for burial of the poor, destitute and disenfranchised; the people who had no one to pay for their burial and most of whom are buried there without a marker or stone. The Evergreen Potter’s Field, is located in an area that appears as if it is just vacant space but current records at Evergreen show that beginning in the 1850’s, over 200 people have been buried there while scores more have been buried in other “poor ground” areas located throughout the rest of the cemetery.

This “Potter’s Field Memorial” will be a blessing for our entire community, says OCHS member Peter Gabrielson who has done considerable research on the potter’s field in Evergreen Cemetery. Pete stumbled on to its existence while doing research for another article he was working on and was completely surprised. “My reaction was; a potter’s field, you mean we have a potter’s field here in Oconto?” Since then almost everyone else he meets has had the same reaction. “I thought, this is something people need to know about.”

Our hope is that the Potter’s Field Memorial will be completed by this autumn. We know that under the current conditions there may be some uncertainty in the timeline as we move forward but we have no doubt that it will be completed. It is our belief that this project will be a great benefit to the people of Oconto and that it is an opportunity for us in this day and age, to affirm our empathy and compassion; values that show our humanity and are a reminder that we need to treat all people as equal in the eyes of God. The time has come for us to give these individuals the recognition and respect that they deserve; in fact, have deserved for a long time.

Rainbow House Domestic Abuse Services Receives Crisis Grant

Rainbow House Domestic Abuse Services is pleased to announce an award from the Bond Foundation. The LEON H. AND CLYMENE M. BOND FOUNDATION, INC. is a family endowed Foundation committed to the growth and improvement of Oconto County and its surrounding areas. The Foundation was established in 1993 by Leon Bond (benefactor of the Foundation and founder of the Bond Pickle Company) and Earl DeCloux, residents of the City of Oconto. To date the Foundation has given over $4 million dollars to support our local community.
Those experiencing domestic violence are now, more than ever, unable to escape abuse as a result of coronoavirus. Survivors and their children may be trapped in homes with abusers, unable to call for help. Usual resources for seeking help are limited. Children can no longer communicate concerns with a teacher or school counselor. Family and friends who might have provided a safe place to stay may now be sheltering in place themselves, often with limited resources and an insistence on maintaining social distancing. Many survivors may feel as though they have no place to turn. Rainbow House remains open. Our Advocates are staffing the crisis line 24/7. We’re still responding to survivor needs for shelter, food, legal assistance, and safety planning around the clock. However, the model by which we provide services has changed. We are now housing each family in their own separate housing units. This model creates greater safety for survivors as well as staff by reducing the risk for communicable disease transfer. It is a more expensive model of providing shelter, but a far safer approach. The Bond Foundation has provided $11,440 for three months of off-site shelter and crisis-line coverage for survivors in Oconto “We’re well on our way towards providing greater safety and access to resources for survivors. We can’t thank the Bond Foundation enough for their support of our mission”, says Courtney Olson, Rainbow House Director.
If you are involved in a domestic violence situation, the number for Rainbow House is 715-735-6656. Please call 24 hours a day for free and confidential services.

Nurses Nook Receives $40,000 Grant

Oconto Falls – HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital is pleased to announce the Leon H. and Clymene M. Bond Foundation, Inc., has awarded a $40,000 grant to support Nurse’s Nook – a program that provides aid to children and families in need in all five school districts in Oconto County: Gillett, Suring, Oconto Falls, Oconto and Lena.

Nurse’s Nook provides students and their families with basic needs items including non-perishable food, personal hygiene products, clothing, medical supplies/devices and vouchers for transportation to medical appointments. Items are kept stocked within each of the school districts throughout the year and provided to students free-of-charge on an as-needed basis. Nurse’s Nook also offers an Adopt-A-Family Christmas program to provide families with winter necessities including boots, jackets, hats and gloves. It also offers a Weekend Food program which provides students a bag of nutritious food that contains enough items to allow them to make a full meal at home each week.

“We are immensely grateful to the Bond Foundation for their generous support of Nurse’s Nook and the children and families we serve here in Oconto County,” said Nuala Nowicki, founder of the Nurse’s Nook program. “These funds will allow us to maintain programming, purchase additional supplies and serve more families in Oconto County.”

This is the second Bond Foundation grant to be awarded to Nurse’s Nook. In 2018, it awarded Nurse’s Nook $30,000 which was used to help expand the program to the Oconto and Lena school districts.

Nurse’s Nook informally began in 2014 when Nuala, who is also a Prevea Health school nurse for the Gillett School District, recognized that poverty in the community was negatively impacting students’ abilities to learn and succeed in school. Today, Nurse’s Nook is an official program of HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital, operated in collaboration with Nuala, Prevea Health and countless volunteers and donors who dedicate time and effort to collecting, organizing and distributing supplies.

The Nurse’s Nook program relies solely on support and donations from the community to operate. Anyone who would like to learn more information or donate to Nurse’s Nook should contact Debbie Hockers at (920) 433-8653 or email ewfriends@hshs.org.

Oconto Unified School District Grant

The Oconto Unified School District is thrilled to have partnered with the Bond Foundation on two projects. With the support of the Bond Foundation, OUSD is now a proud owner of a vertical hydroponics garden. The school district will also be able to upgrade the sound system in the High School gymnasium.

The Oconto Middle School runs courses of interest for the students at the end of the day. During this time students are encouraged to learn and explore areas that may have peaked their curiosity. Many of the Oconto Middle School students are interested in gardening and the science behind indoor vertical hydroponic gardens. This program/course teaches students how to grow food such as lettuce, spices and herbs. Some activities include planting, monitoring the water levels in the system, and participating in educationally based lessons. Benefits of a hydroponic system are higher crop yield, faster growth, less space consumption and resources, and delicious and nutritious food. Students are energized by the process of the hydroponics garden. Oconto thanks the Bond Foundation for the $5,440.00 grant towards growing their student’s knowledge.

Another area of celebration for OUSD will come with updates to the sound system at the High School. It is an objective of the school district to promote the many positive activities our students are engaged in. The upgraded sound system will enhance the events that are held at the High School. Allowing for clear and concise announcements, presentations or sports commentary to be heard by all. Again, OUSD appreciates the $18,894.93 grant support from the Bond Foundation to make this sound system enhance the programing .

Oconto Unified School District is proud of the continued partnership with the Bond Foundation. It is with this kind of support that OUSD continues to make the strides and gains that all OUSD students deserve.