By Shereen Siewert
WESTON — A former village of Weston trustee and a longtime utility clerk were honored last month for their hard work and dedication during the village’s second annual leadership and service award banquet.
Loren White was named Public Official of the Year, while Donna Van Swol was named Employee of the Year, according to Village Administrator Daniel Guild.
Born and raised in the Wausau area, Loren White has lived in Weston for four decades, during which he had a long and distinguished career of public service. A retired police officer, White spent the entirety of his law enforcement career serving the Weston area, first with the town of Weston Police Department and later with the Everest Metro Police Department. He served as Deputy Chief for 10 years until his retirement in 2005.
White spent eight years as a village trustee and served as president since 2013. During his tenure, White oversaw the village’s fire department merger with the town of Rib Mountain and the creation of the new South Area Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) District, Guild said.
In a March 23 letter to the editor, retired Weston Deputy Clerk/Treasurer Karen Schmutzler praised White’s public service record.
“Did you know that Loren attends almost every single meeting of the village, regardless of whether he sits on that committee or not?” Schmutzler wrote. “Did you know that Loren volunteers hundreds of additional hours at Village Hall, helping staff prepare ordinances, research state statutes, and writing reports for the Board of Trustees? Did you know that Loren participates in monthly luncheons with Village employees to hear their concerns? Most recently, Loren took the time to prepare instructional materials and teach staff at the Weston Municipal Center about what to do in the event of a crisis incident, such as an active shooter inside Village Hall.”
When not involved in local government or enjoying the companionship of his wife, Esther, his two children and his grandchildren, White enjoys many diverse hobbies and personal interests which include motorcycle riding, jet skiing, carpentry, target shooting, video games, and reading current events and science magazines.
Van Swol, who has been a Weston employee for 30 years, was chosen at the conclusion of a particularly challenging year, Guild said. In 2017 and into 2018, Van Swol was the primary point of contact during a meter replacement and residential cross connection control project and regularly reviewed meter reading error reports while coordinating follow ups for residents. In addition, Guild said, Van Swol is responsible for mailing more than 20,000 utility bills each year while fielding calls from customers with billing and service questions.
She also assists with tax collection, supplying data for the water utility’s annual report, and performs other tasks and many others, he said.
“While Donna will probably view all this as just being all in the day’s work, she certainly deserves recognition as the Village of Weston, Employee of the Year, for 2017,” Guild said during the award event. “Thank you for all you do, Donna.”
Van Swol moved to the metro area from Green Bay at age 11 and is a graduate of Wausau East High School. She is married to Dennis, who just retired from a position with Marathon County, and together they have four children and nine grandchildren. She has lived in Weston for 35 years and celebrated her 30th anniversary with the village on April 25.
The banquet was held April 17.