Community & Events
June Dairy Month is here!!
Our 4th Annual MILK FOR MOOLA Challenge Event was a HUGE success! THANK YOU to everyone who participated this year! Our donation to the Jackson County Dairy Youth Project was our biggest yet!
Reading Raises Interest Financial Literacy Sessions Reach Over 220 Local Third Graders!
Press Release 5-22-17
Local 3rd Graders Learn Valuable Financial Lessons with Black River Country Bank
April was National Financial Literacy Month and Black River Country Bank continued to lead the way with participation in the annual National Teach Children to Save campaign. Several volunteers from Black River Country Bank in both Black River Falls and Melrose enjoyed visiting three local schools to teach lessons on financial literacy using a Wisconsin Bankers Foundation program called Reading Raises Interest. The BRCB volunteers read a book with a message about money, saving, banking, as well as language arts concepts to approximately 220 third-grade students in classroom settings in Black River Falls, Alma Center-Humbird-Merillan, and Melrose-Mindoro School Districts. In this year’s featured book, The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Money by Stan and Jan Berenstain, Brother and Sister Bear find ways to work in order to earn money for the things they want. Their adventurous journey to find the middle ground between earning and spending makes for a funny, realistic story. They were able to talk to their parents about money and even and learn about the benefits of putting their hard earned money in the bank. “The concepts of safety, saving, different types of accounts and transaction-types, interest, and loans were featured elements of our classroom discussions. It's wonderful to have the opportunity to engage in these important conversations with children of this age. They are very inquisitive and enthusiastic. Even as third graders, they are quite savvy already.” said Black River Country Bank Organization and Business Development Manager, Tracy Madvig.
The National Teach Children to Save campaign is an initiative sponsored by the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation and the American Bankers Association Education Foundation. Last year, Bankers from over 40 institutions reached out to their community to make Teach Children to Save Day presentations. Together, these Bankers reported 523 presentations to nearly 14,000 students. “As I reiterated with the schools, it really is our great privilege to work with their students and staff. These are some of our best days as Bankers! What makes it even more rewarding for all of us is to be able to not only introduce concepts that may be new to the kids, but importantly, to help reinforce concepts they are already learning about in the classroom. It provides them that 'real life' perspective and that's where we feel we can really add value." Madvig concluded.
A 59-Year Family Affair Comes to a Close at the Bank of Melrose …Today’s Black River Country Bank.
Debbie Kreibich Retires After 47-Years with the Bank.
Cake and Coffee will be served in the Black River Country Bank Melrose Lobby all day on Friday, April 28th, Debbie’s last day before officially retiring. All are welcome to stop-in, share a story, and wish Debbie well.
Cake and Coffee will be served in the Black River Country Bank Melrose Lobby all day on Friday, April 28th, Debbie’s last day before officially retiring. All are welcome to stop-in, share a story, and wish Debbie well.
Young Debbie Proft used to enjoy watching her parents get ready to host her dad’s company Christmas Party in their home. Her dad, Jerry Proft – who started as a Cashier, then Loan Officer, and eventually became the CEO of the Bank of Melrose – enjoyed welcoming their Bank Family of employees and directors into their home. Mom, Dolores, always enjoyed baking lots of breads, bars, and cookies, while Jerry – known for being an excellent candy maker – made the candies for the holidays. Debbie also fondly remembers helping her Dad decorate the lobby at Christmastime when she was a child, “The big white Styrofoam letters that spelled out Merry Christmas and Happy New Year were fun to help put up along with the Christmas tree.”
The Jerry and Dolores Proft family moved from Tomahawk, Wisconsin to Melrose in 1958. They had three children during that move -- Mike, Pete, and Debbie -- later their fourth child, John, was born in Black River Falls. They lived in the “big white house” on the corner by The Bank of Melrose. It was a teaching Job for Jerry that brought the family to Melrose, he initially taught in North Bend and later in Melrose. But, by the time Debbie started Kindergarten, her Dad made a career change and started at the Bank of Melrose.
Debbie essentially “grew up,” at the Bank. She starting working there between 8th and 9th grade, mostly during summers. Not only did she have the influence of her dad’s banking career, but her mom eventually worked there as well, as a Teller. Brothers Mike, Pete, and John also helped-out the Janitor occasionally. It was truly a “family affair” that she was happy and proud to be a part of. After she graduated from Melrose-Mindoro High School in 1973, Debbie attended Western Wisconsin Technical College in La Crosse, where she graduated as a Dental Assistant. In the meantime, the Bank of Melrose opened a branch in Black River Falls. Upon her completion at WWTC in 1974, a job opened-up at the Black River Falls Branch. She was hired, and as they say, “the rest was HISTORY!” Debbie started as a Teller and through the years she has worked in all of the departments, but where she found her calling was the Loan Department. She re-located from the Black River Falls Branch to the Melrose Branch in 1979.
Jerry passed away in 1983, which was a hard adjustment for everyone in the Bank Family. Debbie admired and dearly remembers her dad, “He was a person that appreciated our customers, our schools, and community. Many people tell me many fond stories they remember about him and (that they) liked banking here because of him.”
Debbie married Glen (Tim) Kreibich on November 1, 1975. They lived in Melrose until November of 1977 hen they decided to build a home in Mindoro. They have two children, Joe (Jackie, of Arenzville, IL) and Kristy (Bill,of Cochrane). Debbie and her husband also enjoy their 6 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild. Her mom, still resides in Melrose.
Things have changed a lot over the course of Debbie’s 40-plus-year career … not coming in with many computer skills was a real eye-opener she admits! Black River Country Bank President, Bob Becker recalls attending training with Debbie early in his career as a Loan Officer, “The Bank had purchased a new computerized loan documentation program and the first day in training didn’t go well for Debbie. She was sure that she was never going to be able to figure out those new gadgets (personal computers). Before training was over, she had it figured out and never looked back during the next 25 years.”
Debbie thought back on her time with the Bank, “I have worked with a lot of great people. We are our own little family and I will miss them and our customers. This has been a great place to work. I met my best friend, Dawn, in Kindergarten and we have worked together here at the Bank for 40-plus years. We’ve been friends for 57 years. I think that is kinda special! Everyone here is very special to me and always will be.” Dawn Tracey gladly commented on their friendship and working together, “There are many great memories that Debbie and I have from working at the Bank. Something that many people may not know is that Debbie is good at Poetry. She actually sent a poem in for a contest. I told her she should have her poems published in a book. It probably was a good thing she chose the Bank – not that she couldn’t have been published – but then we wouldn’t have been working together for so many years. It has been great working with Debbie. I wish her all the best in her retirement.” Bob Becker also reflected fondly on Debbie’s time with their Bank Family, “Black River Country Bank has been proud and thankful to have Debbie as part of our family. She has spent her entire career working diligently to do the best job possible for the Bank, its customers, and her family. She will be greatly missed, but we wish her and Tim the best in their retirement. We are confident that they will find enjoyment in this time of their lives and accomplish their wish list.”
As for Debbie’s future in retirement, she and her husband like to golf, fish, and camp and want to spend more time with their grandkids. “My husband will be retired two years this coming June. It is very exciting and we look forward to retirement together,” smiles Debbie. They have even thought about going south for the winter. Avid Green Bay Packers fans … topping her wish list may be another trip of sorts … “I will get to Lambeau Field!” she assured us.
Easter Bunny Events ... Hippity Hoppity Good Times!
Sooooo cute, we just HAD to share a few photos from our April 1st, record crowd event in Black River Falls. Thanks to everyone to came to join us in BRF and Melrose ... there's not much better than a sunny Saturday morning and smiling children's faces (well, MOST of them!)!
Employee Casual for a Cause Campaign
Members of the Miss Black River Falls Court and the Karner Blue Butterfly Princesses posed outside on a beautiful day in downtown Black River Falls to be the recipients of our March Employee Casual for a Cause Campaign donation, presented by Karolyn Gjerseth of BRCB.
BRCB Spring Ag Tour a Success!
Terry Lyons, Vice President of Sales, Marketing, and Engineering at J&D Manufacturing in Eau Claire, (top left, facing) led the tour of the facility and discussions highlighting their business’s products and technology during Black River Country Bank’s Spring Ag Tour, held Thursday, March 23,2017.
Press Release: 3-29-17
Black River Country Bank’s Spring Ag Tour Marks 3rd Year: Showcases J&D Manufacturing
On March 23, 2017, Black River Country Bank Officers and Directors, treated area farmers with a Spring Ag Tour of the J&D Manufacturing business located on Highway 12 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Brothers Jerry and Don Redetzke founded this family business over 35 years ago.
From its humble start of bending steel for their race car and steel stall partitions for their dairy barn and for their neighbors, J&D has grown into a national and international company. It is a supplier and distributor of industrial ventilation products for agriculture, horticulture, industrial, and commercial applications. Along with producing fans, J&D also produces self-locking head gates to be used in barns or feed lots. They produce curtains that are installed on the side of free stall barns that can regulate the amount of cross ventilation occurring in the barn, as well as livestock waterers and numerous other ag and commercial products. J&D manufacturing serves customers through an extensive dealer network including Melrose, Wisconsin’s own Nordstrom Construction & Lumber. Eric Nordstrom, Owner of Nordstrom Construction & Lumber commented, “It was nice to see BRCB select J&D for their Spring AG Tour. We have been a dealer for J&D for 35 years, back to the days of a small shop to the present day modern production facility. Like BRCB, J&D has grown by listening to its customer wants and needs. It has been a great company to represent.”
Terry Lyons, Vice President of Sales, Marketing, and Engineering and Emily Norgaard, Marketing Supervisor, gave the Spring Ag Tour participants an extensive and informative tour concluding with a buffet lunch in the boardroom of J&D. Norgaard noted, “J&D Manufacturing was thrilled to be a stop on the 2017 Spring Ag Tour. It not only gave us the opportunity to work with great people at Black River Country Bank, it also allowed us to have valuable conversations with our end-user customers, the hard-working farmers. I think it’s safe to say everyone, including Terry and myself, learned something that day.”
This is the third annual Spring Ag Tour sponsored by Black River Country Bank. Justin Blaken, BRCB Vice President & Senior Loan Officer was pleased with the tour’s momentum, “Today’s tour provided us an excellent opportunity to give back to our local ag community. As in prior years, we try to tour a facility or business that our local agribusiness people can relate to and learn from, and J&D Manufacturing definitely provided that given their broad product line. The feedback we received was very good, and we look forward to putting on this same type of event in years to come.” Past BRCB Spring Ag Tours have taken participants across the region to tour operations such as Ellis Farms, LLC. in Independence, GEA Farm Technology in Galesville, Blaken Farms in Melrose, and Marquis Energy Ethanol Plant in Necedah. If you are interested in or would like more information regarding future Black River Country Bank Spring Ag Tours, contact Justin Blaken or Max Hart in Melrose at 608-488-2411. Or contact Mark Lomen in Black River Falls at 715-284-9448.
Polar Plunge for Special Olympics!
The BRCB Loan Plungers had a great time at Pettibopne Park in La Crosse for a great cause Friday, March 3rd! We TOSSed OUR BOSS, Justin Blaken, into the CHILLY H2O for this year's Polar Plunge!
The team was able to raise $1461.00 for Special Olympics, putting BRCB on the Polar Plunge Fundraising leaderboard at #10! GREAT JOB TEAM!! Check out our Facebook page for live video footage of their PLUNGE!
Enjoy some photos from our Santa visits in Black River Falls. Thanks to everyone who came to visit! Look for more photos from his Melrose visit soon ... and check-out our Holiday Open House info below!
LIVE MUSICAL PERFORMANCES
during our Holiday Open House
on Thursday, December 22nd!
The BRF High School Chamber Choir
Performed in our BRF Lobby at 12:00 Noon
Their glorious voices filled our lobby and our hearts!!
The Melrose-Mindoro High School Jazz Combo
Performed in our Melrose Lobby at 1:00 PM
They were absolutely fantastic, such talent!!
BRCB Collaborates with Black River Area Chamber of Commerce and Black River Falls High School for 1st ever Black River Area Job Fair
Local residents were invited to learn and connect with businesses and receive career resources during the Black River Area Job Fair held at the Black River Falls High School on November 2. The event was sponsored by the Black River Area Chamber of Commerce and Black River Falls High School, with assistance from The Department of Workforce Development and Workforce Connections, as well as the collaboration of over 40 local businesses, including BRCB! Over 500 students attended the Job Fair from 1:00-3:00 and the Fair was open to the Community from 3:30-6:30. Educational sessions were offered to both students, parents, and community members seeking additional resources relating to Local College Opportunities, Career Resources in Jackson County, Internet savvy, and Financing Further Education (which was offered by presenters from Black River Country Bank). We enjoyed the partnership and connecting with our local students and community members!!
Casual For A Cause: American Cancer Society -- Midwest Division Sole Burner
Black River Country Bank employees selected the American Cancer Society -- Midwest Division to be the recipient of September's Casual for a Cause campaign. Employees made a $50 group donation from the money they raised during their "dress down" efforts in Black River Falls and Melrose. "As a bank, we were a Corporate Sponsor for the local American Cancer Society Sole Burner Run/Walk that was held on September 10th. One of our employees even volunteered to run, which was amazing! Our thoughts were, if we can help pitch-in even more with an additional employee donation, we wanted to do that too. Our hopes are to build a larger Corporate team next year for such a great event," said Tracy Madvig, Organization and Business Development Manager.
Casual for a Cause is a monthly bank-wide event where employees can choose to "dress casual" for the day in exchange for making an individual contribution to the selected charitable or non-profit organization. BRCB employees discuss monthly who they would like to feature as the recipient of their donations. If you are part of a charitable, non-profit organization that would like to be considered as a recipient of BRCB's Casual for a Cause campaign, please contact Tracy Madvig or Karolyn Gjerseth.
SHOWN ABOVE: BRCB's Karolyn Gjerseth presents a check to Kristin Franks and Melissa Inlo, local Coordinators for the American Cancer Society's Sole Burner event.
BRCB Accepting Items for Ronald McDonald House of Rochester
Black River Country Bank will be collecting household items (see below) and pop tabs now thru the end of November for our very own, Carah to take to the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester. Our November Casual for a Cause campaign will also benefit RMH. Stop-in to either lobby and learn more about Carah's Story, how RMH changed her life, and how your generosity can help others like her and her family.
We are accepting donations of: pop tabs, shampoo, hand soap, lotion, disinfectant spray, non-perishable foods & snacks, cake mixes & frosting, toiletries, 13 gallon garbage bags, craft kits, children & adults activitiy kits, k-cups, paper bowls, 8.5x11" copy paper, umbrellas, fleece tie blankets. All non-expired items please.
SHOWN ABOVE: Carah Bunnell, of BRCB, warmly displays some of her personal items based on her experiences with Ronald McDonald House and recognition she received as the Lacrosse Tribune's Extra Effort award recipient while a High School Senior at BRFHS. She is holding the handmade fleece blanket she received at RMH, which all children receive upon their arrival. Carah stated, "Ronald McDonald House gave us a home away from home in one of the hardest times in my life, it gave me a second family, one that I could never have dreamed of having. Now it is my turn to (help) give back to such a great organization that was built on love!"
Thanks to everyone who joined us at our
Customer Appreciation Tailgate Party
Thursday, September 15th in Melrose!!
Mother Nature provided us with a beautiful evening filled with fabulous local FOODS, awesome MUSIC with Joe Cody & Dominic Orico, captivating MAGIC with Kris Wrobel, and most importantly great FUN visiting with YOU ALL!!
See you all NEXT YEAR!!
Jackson County Dairy Project Committee Members Accept Donations from BRCB
SHOWN ABOVE: Members of the Jackson County Dairy Project Committee happily accepted the BRCB Employee donation of $77 from Karolyn Gjerseth of BRCB. (Left to Right: Becca Ross, JCDPC; Gjerseth; Bailey Larson, JCDPC, and Madison Shramek, JCDPC)
Members of the Jackson County Dairy Project Committee (JCDPC) visited Black River Country Bank on Monday, July 18th to accept donations on behalf of BRCB for its Milk for Moola Challenge and its Employee' Casual for a Cause campaign. Employees made a $77 group donation to JCDPC from the money they raised in June's Casual for a Cause efforts in Black River Falls and Melrose. Casual for a Cause is a monthly bank-wide event where employees can choose to "dress casual" for the day in exchange for making an individual contribution to the selected charitable or non-profit organization. BRCB employees discuss monthly who they would like to feature as the recipient of their donations. "It seemed like a natural fit to donate to this group since it was June Dairy Month and we could combine our efforts with BRCB's Milk for Moola donation," explained Karolyn Gjerseth, of BRCB, who led this month's coordinating efforts.
Black River Country Bank was also thrilled to make a $490 contribution to the Jackson County Dairy Promotion Committee based on participation in BRCB's 3rd Annual Milk-For-Moola Challenge! The community event, held in both BRF and Melrose BRCB locations on Wednesday, June 1st, helped kick-off June Dairy Month celebrations and was their largest in the three years running. The public was invited and BRCB welcomed people from across Jackson County to stop in to participate in the festive fastest milk drinking contests. Each Milk-for-Moola Challenge participant made a difference in Black River Country Bank's contribution. The JCDPC said they intend to use the donation to help defray their costs of coordinating the Jackson County Fair Youth Cheese Raffle Baskets. "We were so excited to almost double our participation in this year's Milk for Moola Challenge! We enjoyed visiting with our neighbors and seeing so many members of our community join us for some fun in helping celebrate our Dairy Industry. That allowed us to help make an even greater impact on this deserving local organization," said Tracy Madvig of BRCB.
Past year’s donations have been presented to The Jackson Country Youth Dairy Exhibitors (2015) and the Jackson County Dairy Promotion Committee (2014). If you know of a local organization dedicated to agriculture and/or promoting youth involvement in agriculture or the dairy industry and you would like to nominate them to be the featured recipient, please contact Tracy Madvig, Organization and Business Development Manager at Black River Country Bank.
SHOWN BELOW: Three members of the Jackson County Dairy Project Committee (who were selected to put together Jackson County Fair Cheese Raffle Baskets) were on-hand to accept Black River Country Bank's $490 Milk for Moola Challenge donation. (Left to Right: Bob Becker, President BRCB; Madison Shramek, JCDPC; Bailey Larson, JCDPC, Becca Ross, JCDPC; and Madvig).
Melrose Area Pool Opening Day with BRCB a Huge Success!
Black River Country Bank sponsored the sophomore effort of the Opening Day of Summer celebrations at the Melrose Area Pool on Friday, June 3rd. All Melrose-Mindoro School District Students ages 4K-12th grade were invited to free admissions paid by BRCB, with those admission fees per student going toward the Melrose Area Pool Fund. Youth came out in record numbers for the free admission, and even enjoyed surprise ice cream treats!! Black River Country Bank has been a strong supporter of the Melrose Area Pool, given its immeasurable local impact, and was delighted to add to their existing contributions, another $642 donation!
SHOWN BELOW: Mel-Min students enjoyed a near-perfect opening day at the Melrose Area Pool after school was officially dismissed for the summer on June 3rd.
SHOWN BELOW: Justin Blaken and Tracy Madvig, of Black River Country Bank, were happy to surprise Sandy Paisley and her swimming lesson students on June 23rd with BRCB's $642 contribution to the Melrose Area Pool Fund.
Milk for Moola Generates Competitive Spirits and Local Contribution
Released June 6/3/16
Black River Country Bank hosted their 3rd Annual Milk-For-Moola Challenge Event on Wednesday, June 1st to help kick-off June Dairy Month celebrations. The community event was open to the public and welcomed people from across Jackson County to stop in at both Black River Falls and Melrose BRCB locations to participate in the festive fastest milk drinking contests. This year, for each Milk-for-Moola Challenge participant, Black River Country Bank made a contribution to the Jackson County Dairy Project Committee to help defray their costs of coordinating the Jackson County Fair Youth Cheese Raffle Baskets. Past year’s donations have been presented to The Jackson Country Youth Dairy Exhibitors (2015) and the Jackson County Dairy Promotion Committee (2014). If you know of a local organization dedicated to agriculture and/or promoting youth involvement in agriculture or the dairy industry and you would like to nominate them to be the featured recipient, please contact Tracy Madvig, Organization and Business Development Manager at Black River Country Bank.
Area Children Learn Valuable Financial Lessons by Reading
with Black River Country Bank
April was National Financial Literacy Month and Black River Country Bank continues to lead participation in the annual National Teach Children to Save campaign. Volunteers from Black River Country Bank in both Black River Falls and Melrose found a way to teach kids about saving using a Wisconsin Bankers Foundation program called Reading Raises Interest. Several Black River Country Bank volunteers read a book with a message about money, saving, and spending to approximately 250 third-grade students in classroom settings in Black River Falls, Alma Center-Humbird-Merillan, and Melrose-Mindoro School Districts. This year’s featured book, You Can't Buy a Dinosaur with a Dime by Harriet Ziefert, featured rhymed verse describing how its main character, Pete, saves his allowance, spends too much of it, has second thoughts, and decides to start over saving. The young readers understood and appreciated Pete's decisions, as well as joined him in his computations as he saved, spent, and made choices about his next purchases. “This concept of choice was a featured element of our classroom discussions. The children learned that every day we all make choices, from how to spend our money to how to spend our free time. Every time we choose, we also give something up,” said Black River Country Bank Organization and Business Development Manager, Tracy Madvig. “The students related well to the decision-making discussion and even had the opportunity to practice their money counting skills,” she added.
The National Teach Children to Save campaign is an initiative sponsored by the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation and the American Bankers Association Education Foundation. Last year, 159 Bankers reached out to their community to make Teach Children to Save Day presentations. Together, these Bankers made 629 presentations to 14,135 students. “It really is a great privilege and is so rewarding for us to be able to work with so many of our area’s school children and help enrich their financial literacy skills.” Madvig concluded.
SHOWN BELOW: Third graders at Third Street Elementary participated in Teach Children to Save Financial Literacy sessions offered by Black River Country Bank on April 26th, all part of April’s National Financial Literacy Month campaign. Kim Torres and Karolyn Gjerseth of Black River Country Bank are shown here reading the book, You Can’t Buy a Dinosaur with a Dime by Harriet Ziefert, with the students.
SHOWN BELOW: Third graders at Third Street Elementary had the opportunity to get some hands-on practice counting coins during Teach Children to Save Financial Literacy sessions offered by Black River Country Bank on April 26th, all part of April’s National Financial Literacy Month campaign. Karolyn Gjerseth of Black River Country Bank, is shown here working with the students on their counting skills!
SHOWN BELOW: Third graders at Lincoln Elementary participated in April’s National Financial Literacy Month campaign during Teach Children to Save Financial Literacy sessions offered by Black River Country Bank on April 27th. Tracy Madvig and Diane Aldach of Black River Country Bank are shown here with the third graders after they read and discussed the book, You Can’t Buy a Dinosaur with a Dime by Harriet Ziefert. The students also had the opportunity to get some hands-on practice counting coins in small groups during the session!
SHOWN BELOW: Melrose-Mindoro third graders at Mindoro Elementary participated in Teach Children to Save Financial Literacy sessions offered by Black River Country Bank on April 28th. The sessions were a part of April’s National Financial Literacy Month campaign. Max Hart and Tracy Madvig of Black River Country Bank worked with the third graders, reading and discussing the book, You Can’t Buy a Dinosaur with a Dime by Harriet Ziefert. The students later broke into small groups to practice some hands-on coin counting!
Black River Country Bank Hosts Spring Ag Tour of Marquis Energy Ethanol Plant
On March 10, 2016, area farmers toured the Marquis Energy Ethanol Plant in Necedah, Wisconsin with Black River Country Bank for their Spring Agriculture Tour. Many area grain farmers sell their corn to Marquis Energy and were interested in touring the facility to learn more about how their corn is converted into ethanol. Marquis Energy utilizes over 30 million bushels of corn per year, roughly 82,000 bushels of corn per day. Some of the byproducts of corn ethanol production include corn oil and distiller’s grain.Distiller’s grain is commonly used in feed rations for cattle. The tour participants were impressed with the size, capacity, and automation of Marquis Energy’s operation. This hosted tour was a follow-up to a successful Black River Country Bank Spring Ag Tour first held last Spring 2015.
SHOWN BELOW: Marquis Energy representatives, Howard Boppart (l) and Rolland Koenig (r), are shown here providing area farmers and BRCB representatives an orientation and overview of what to expect on the plant tour, including a display of different bottles of corn at various stages of the ethanol production.
SHOWN BELOW: Rolland Koenig, of Marquis Energy, is shown describing the various functions of the different buildings of Marquis Energy's facility.