Volunteer works to bring opportunities to students

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  • Photo provided Hononegah student Corinne Hoffman works with Chuck Gilbert in a mock interview as part of the school's Living on Your Own class. Gilbert's participation is just one of the many ways he has contributed to helping students for their future.

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    Gilbert

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    Debra Jensen-De Hart/Beloit Daily News September Volunteer of the month Chuck Gilbert, center, works with staff at Hononegah High School helping to connect students to the outside world of work and career opportunities. Pictured at left is high school Principal Chad Dougherty and at right is Hononegah Community School District 207 Superintendent Mike Dougan.

  • Photo provided Hononegah student Corinne Hoffman works with Chuck Gilbert in a mock interview as part of the school's Living on Your Own class. Gilbert's participation is just one of the many ways he has contributed to helping students for their future.

  • 1

    Gilbert

  • 2

    Debra Jensen-De Hart/Beloit Daily News September Volunteer of the month Chuck Gilbert, center, works with staff at Hononegah High School helping to connect students to the outside world of work and career opportunities. Pictured at left is high school Principal Chad Dougherty and at right is Hononegah Community School District 207 Superintendent Mike Dougan.

ROSCOE - "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." - George Bernard Shaw.

Perhaps in Chuck Gilbert's case, life became more about recreating himself.

Originally from Menasha, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin LaCrosse and started his career as a teacher in LaCrosse. During that time he married Carlyn Gorychka who grew up in Beloit.

Besides becoming a husband, another adventure awaited him shortly after.

"On our honeymoon, I got a call from Dan Greenwood who was president of Taylor Company and a friend of my father-in-law (Carl Gorychka)."

One thing led to another and Gilbert was offered a job at Taylor Company.

The thing is, he was placed in an office with a desk and not told what he should be doing, he said.

When he inquired about his job duties, this is what he was told: "Find where you can make a contribution."

He started by analyzing the company's manuals and making changes and improvements to them. That led to other positions over the 38 years he was employed there.

Gilbert also started the Dairy Häus in Rockton, sporting Taylor Co. equipment to make the daily batches of ice cream there. After leaving Taylor Co., he worked for Hendricks Holding Company for four years.

The list of his volunteer activities is long, dating back to his high school days.

In Beloit, he served on the Boys & Girls Clubs Board of Directors for 21 years. Two years he was president.

"I loved working with the group on the board, doing fundraisers and giving back," he said.

In the beginning, it was just the Boys Club, he said. On a trip to Atlanta, however, for his job, he also met with the director there of the Boys & Girls Clubs. He learned Beloit's organization was one of the few who didn't have girls as members.

After that, "My goal was to add girls to the club. We also needed women on the board."

Ken and Diane Hendricks were added to the board, and years later, Diane hired Gilbert to work for her, he said.

Over the years, Gilbert also became active with Hononegah Community High School, offering his knowledge of and experience in the business world.

"We are trying to be the bridge between high school, business and industry," he said of his partnering with several school-related organizations.

Jason Brunke, teacher in the Career and Technical Education Department at Hononegah, knows him well.

"Chuck has been instrumental in the development of a variety of programs that aim to provide students with opportunities to connect the classroom to the real world," Brunke said.

"He has been relentless in using his network to make connections for students to explore careers through his involvement in the Workplace Readiness Certification Program.

"Chuck's efforts have also been essential in the implementation and development of the Incubatoredu entrepreneurship program by helping to organize various volunteer and financial commitments from the community.

"Through both of these programs, as well as his participation as a board member in the HOPE Foundation (Hononegah Opportunities for Public Education), Chuck is always available and willing to leverage his time and resources when requested to help improve the opportunities for Hononegah students," Brunke said.

Chad Dougherty, high school principal, had this to say about Gilbert's volunteerism:

"Mr. Gilbert has acted as the community champion for the Hononegah entrepreneurship course known as Incubatoredu@hchs.

The course is taught by Mr. Jason Brunke and with Mr. Gilbert's assistance, the program has grown to include representatives from over 30 local businesses who provide instruction and mentorship to our budding entrepreneurs.

"In addition, Mr. Gilbert is an ardent supporter of the Hononegah Workplace Readiness Program."

The program is geared to provide feedback to students about the development of critical workplace skills and to provide students with experiences to help them make more informed career decisions.

"Through the Workplace Readiness program, Mr. Gilbert has assisted in the development of the Education and Manufacturing Council, a branch of the program connecting the educational experiences at Hononegah and the diverse career pathway options in the field of manufacturing with the ultimate goal of providing high-quality internship experiences with local manufactures."

Gilbert said of his involvement with the various career-minded organizations: "Not all kids will go to college. Some will, but others need tech education."

He also served as the Executive Director of the Stateline Chamber of Commerce for a year.

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