Oconto County's People of the YearIssue Date: January 30, 2020
Oconto County is rich with people who make their communities a better place. The following were selected as Oconto County's People of the Year.
Shaun Philhower - When Shaun Philhower's daughter, Kara, said she watned to join Scouts BSA, he stepped up. Philhower last March founded the first all-girls troop for Scouts BSA in the Norther Lites District, which includes Oconto, Marinette, Langlade counties and part of Michigan's Menominee, and serves as their scoutmaster.
Besides Kara, three other girls who had left the Girl Scouts program signed up. In May, the four participated in their first Spring Camporee, which was held in Porterfield. The event includes the annual Scout Olympics, with events such as tomahawk throw, tug of war, log cutting and others. The teams are judged not just on their performance, but on how well they use the Scout Law, as well as their teamwork. "They had been in the program just over two months, and these girls took first place," a proud Philhower noted.
Their success wasn't very surprising, given their initiative, he said. The girls, all seventh graders in Oconto Falls, told the leaders early on they wanted more independence to pursue activities and projects. "This program is more youth-led," Philhower said. "We're going to be there mainly to guide them."
According to the Bay-Lakes Council, which oversees the Northern Lites and seven other scout districts in Wisconsin and the UP, Philhower has led multiple troops to participate in a mock carbon monoxide leak rescue with emergency officials in Gillett. He also organized troops to help clean-up at Bear Paw Scout Camp in Mountain after the massive storms in July. He also coordinated Pinewood Derby races, the flag retirement ceremonies, and supported a cub scout to earn his Catholic Religious Emblem.
Philhower was recognized twice last year, receiving the Outstanding Cubmaster from the troop and in April was presented the Northern Lites District Scoutmaster of the Year award.
Deputy Joe LeBreck-Because Oconto County deputy Joe LeBreck helped save a life last spring, six fellow deputies can now do the same. Marvin Andree was on his way to work from home in the Town of Brazeau to Green Bay around 6 a.m. on May 17 when he began to suffer a heart attack. His Jeep ran into the median of US 41/141 near Oconto County D in the Town of Abrams.
A Wisconsin State Patrol Sergeant, Jenny Austin, and several citizens, including two nurses, stopped to help and begin CPR. LeBreck arrived a short time later, and used the automated external defibrillator on Andree, who regained a purse and was breathing on his own.
The AED unit was donated just three weeks earlier by NEW Paramedic Rescue, Pulaski, as was a first responder kit from Counyt Rescue Ambulance, Green Bay.
Andree, 58, recovered after the close call, thoug he did have a heart procedure last month.
After Andree and his wife, Dawn, learned that LeBreck was the only deputy in Oconto County to have an AED in his squad car, their family raised more than $8,000 to purchase six additional units. Those were presented to Sheriff Todd Skarban in September.
The couple want to continue raising money so that the other 14 squad cars in the county can also be equipped with AEDs.
The availability of the AED in LeBreck's squad car, Skarban said, "is a prime example of how vital this equipment can be."
Anyone wishing to donate so additional AEDs can be purchased can do so at the Oconto County Sheriff's Office.
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