Williams honored for dedication to education, children

Every year, Orbis donates money toward the Monticello School Foundation. Here several members pose for a picture from a 2018 donation. Winnie Williams (second from left), one of the Foundation members, will be honored at this year’s Foundation banquet. Others pictured include Annette Smith, Phil Hanna, Audrey Savage, and Steve Williams. (Express file photo)
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

                  “A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove… But the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”

                  Those words are printed on a picture hanging in the home of Winnie and Fred Williams of Monticello. And they are words Winnie lives by, her motto in life.

                  Williams’ dedication to children and the Monticello Community School District is why the Monticello School Foundation chose to honor and recognize her at their annual “School Foundation Pep Rally & Alumni Reunion” on March 7.

                  Every year the Foundation honors someone for their support of the Foundation’s mission, supporting the district.

                  Williams found out about the honor through Foundation President Phil Hanna. Apparently the board voted to recognize Williams, without her input or vote.

                  “How come I didn’t get to vote?” joked Williams.

                  She’s been a part of the School Foundation since it’s beginning, having been asked by former member Marcia Fisher to join the organization efforts.

                  Williams, a graduate of Anamosa High School, has long been supporting the Anamosa school foundation; she felt Monticello schools needed the same.

                  Williams recalled working with Charlie and Pat Becker to build up the Foundation and start the idea of a banquet to help raise money.

                  “It amazed me as we were sitting at ball games, selling the Foundation, and people didn’t even know that the Foundation existed,” she said.

                  Once the annual banquet came into play, more and more support was given toward the Foundation’s efforts.

                  Over the years, Williams has held leadership roles within the Foundation, such as president. Aside from the banquet, she’s also helped at the Foundation’s annual golf tournament fundraiser as well. She’s also “borrowed” ideas from the Anamosa foundation to use in Monticello, such as the teachers’ wishing wall.

                  “I don’t look at it as I’m doing something for the school,” explained Williams of her volunteer service. “This is a great group of people, and we have a good time doing this for the school.”

                  Williams is passionate about children, and her service to the school district extends well beyond the Foundation.

                  She’s an avid Panther sports fan, and hosts several different sports teams at her home. Her annual “Pasta Party” for the cross country team is a hit with the students and their families.

                  “That was something I started when (grandson) Noah was in high school,” Williams recalled. (Noah Williams graduated in 2011.)

                  Williams also hosts the volleyball team for dinner as well.

                  Last August, she invited students over for a basketball tournament in her driveway. They even played the “National Anthem” before tip-off.

                  “Kids make life fun,” said Williams.

                  She said her involvement in the Foundation is all about helping the students, which extends from K-12.

                  “We’re fortunate the Foundation can spend the interest off what we raise and continue to give to the district,” explained Williams. “We’ve given thousands of dollars to the schools. Those are things we’ve purchased that are not in the school’s budget.”

                  Williams said being honored by the Foundation is humbling, but said there are others more deserving than herself. She said the entire Foundation board has dedicated time toward the cause over the years.

                  Williams continues to volunteer because, for her, retirement is boring.

                  “I retired and hated it,” she laughed. “I felt lost and needed something to do.”

                  In addition, Williams volunteers her time for Camp Courageous and UnityPoint-Jones Regional Medical Center.

                  Camp Courageous Director Charlie Becker said Williams’ retirement is the best thing to happen to Jones County.

                  “Winnie quickly immersed herself into doing good for others,” he said. “And wow! What a blessing she’s been to thousands (of people).”

                  Becker acknowledged Williams’ empathy for children, wanting to give them the best life she can.

                  “She is the best mother and grandmother, not only to her own family, but to many that lack that in their home life,” he said.

                  School Foundation member Annette Smith said Williams is also dedicated to her church, Wayne Zion Lutheran Church.

                  “Her tireless work for so many people near and far has improved the lives of countless people of all ages,” Smith praised.

                  She encourages others to get involved in the Foundation because it’s a worthy cause to support local education.

                  The Foundation banquet is March 7 at the Monticello Berndes Center at 5:30 p.m.


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