Foundation to bestow Making Fort Special awards on Mode and Winn

The Fort Atkinson Community Foundation is pleased to announce that Steve Mode and Joel Winn are the first recipients of the Foundation’s inaugural Making Fort Special Award. The two men will be feted at a special awards reception at the Hoard Museum on Thursday, September 14th from 5 to 7 p.m. For ticket information or to RSVP, contact Foundation administrator Sue Hartwick at (920) 563-3210 or via email at

The Making Fort Special award is the brainchild of former Foundation director Phil Niemeyer who wanted to draw attention to those in our community who have championed a project or conducted an activity that has helped to make Fort Atkinson a special place to live.

“Our intention is to make these awards every other year,” explained Foundation chairman Chris Rogers, “recognizing those who have made a difference in our community over the preceding two years. We think it’s important to acknowledge and thank community members who take on projects and get things done.”

Mode and Winn were selected by the Foundation’s Board of Directors from among 11 names put forward by a nominating committee. Both men have a deep litany of community service in their background but, in this case, they are being honored for their role in championing recent projects that have brought great value to Fort Atkinson.

Steve Mode, the Grand Poobah of the Friends of Haumerson’s Pond, is being recognized for spearheading the fundraising, planning and construction of a warming house at the old skating haunt, Haumerson’s Pond. Though he would be the first to acknowlegde his sidekick, timberframer Craig Roost, and all the other volunteers who have given their time and labor to the project, it’s clear that the beautiful timberframe warming house that was dedicated last month was brought to fruition by Steve’s inspiring passion and good-natured leadership. Thanks to Steve, families in Fort Atkinson will have a wonderful amenity to enjoy for decades to come.

Joel Winn is being recognized for his dedication in organizing the Fort Koshkonong Rendezvous held annually at Rock River Park over Memorial Day weekend. Joel’s enthusiastic leadership of this historic re-enactment has brought American history to life for thousands of local schoolchildren, community members and visitors. From the planning and organizing to donning his fur-trader outfit and taking up residence in the stockade, he has produced a unique experience that has enriched our community. His love of history, his passion for his hometown, and his boundless energy has wrought something very special indeed.

“I can’t think of two better people to receive these inaugural awards,” noted Rogers. “We are glad Steve and Joel call Fort Atkinson home.”

For more information about the upcoming reception or the community foundation, contact program administrator Sue Hartwick at (920) 563-3210 (office), (920) 222-1191 (mobile) or via email at

Aug. 23, 2017