Tag Archives: Manfred E. Swarsensky Humanitarian Service Award

2020 Manfred E. Swarsensky Humanitarian Service Award Recipient is Fellow Rotarian Floyd Rose

Presented by Joyce Bromley – Nov. 18, 2020

Today we honor the memory of Rabbi Manfred E. Swarsensky, a beloved member of our Club until his death in 1981.  He was admired as a leader for inter-faith dialogue, religious tolerance, and civil rights.  Before coming to Madison he had a brilliant career as a Rabbi in Berlin where he was famous for his sermons, until the Nazis burned down his synagogue and sent him to a concentration camp.  Many of his family members and friends were victims of the Holocaust.  He was released.  At 39 years old and alone, he came to Madison and founded Temple Beth El.  We, as well as the Madison community, came to admire him and respect him for his dedicated leadership to peacemaking and forgiveness, for building bridges and reconciliation.  Each year we designate an award to someone who emanates the Rabbi’s ideals. 

This year’s Manfred E. Swarsensky Humanitarian Service Award recipient is Dr. Floyd Rose. For decades his active voice in education in the Madison Community has been his avocation—always working in partnerships to help others do better for themselves.  As Dawn Crim stated, “his passion work is education and his support of the next generation.”  He seeks to find solutions with the Madison Metropolitan School District and families surrounding the persistent educational achievement gap between white students and students of color. 

As President of 100 Black Men of Madison, he sees that members of this organization are role models for the community.  They attend schools in the Madison Metropolitan School District on the first day of class to welcome students and their parents to the school year.  In preparation for school, for 26 years they have led the “Annual Back to School Celebration” campaign providing free backpacks AND school supplies for students from limited-income families.  When schools transitioned to virtual education, the backpack project promptly transitioned into Project 3000, which represents the 3000 local students in families with limited incomes.

The tasks before them were immediate.  Dr. Rose recognized that virtual learning at home requires more than a student and a laptop.  The entire family needs to be supported in their student’s academic pursuits.  Parents and caregivers require resources necessary to facilitate learning.  Families need technical and guidance support   Project 3000 works with families to ensure that each student has an internet installation and access—and a plan to sustain service and utilities.  When appropriate, parents, caregivers, and students are provided with basic computer training.  This support includes mentoring, educational coaching, and tutoring.  Dr. Rose recognized that this level of attention is important to ensure that all school-age students have the necessary educational support to be successful. 

This endeavor is in addition to the SOAR partnership with 100 Black Men of Madison and the United Way of Dane County that began in 2016.  This comprehensive program is designed to decrease truancy rates and increase high school graduation rates.  It begins with one-on-one mentoring of students in middle school and continues through high school.   These projects require a substantial commitment to the benefit of others—for the next generation.

I will conclude with a quote from Bob Sorge who wrote of Dr. Rose—he is an excellent embodiment of … the social justice advocacy, personal insight, and empathy reflected by the work and life of Rabbi Swarsensky. 

Our congratulations to Dr. Floyd Rose on receiving this year’s Manfred E. Swarsensky Humanitarian Service Award.  Along with this award, a $2,500 grant is presented by the Madison Rotary Foundation to an agency of the recipient’s choice.  Dr. Rose has chosen our annual Community Grants Campaign to receive this grant.  

The Manfred E. Swarsensky Humanitarian Service Award was established in 1982 and identifies individuals who have, through their voluntary efforts, made a particularly outstanding contribution to the humanitarian service in the greater Madison community, in the tradition so well exemplified by the life of Rabbi Swarsensky.   The award-winning documentary video, “A Portrait: Rabbi Manfred Swarsensky,” that was created and produced by Rotarian Dick Goldberg with assistance by Wisconsin Public Television, provides background on Manfred Swarsensky and can be viewed on YouTube, and the Rotary office also has a copy of the video for any member wishing to view it.

2020 Manfred Swarsensky Humanitarian Service Award To Be Presented November 18

Dr. Floyd Rose was chosen to receive this year’s Manfred E. Swarsensky Humanitarian Service Award for his decades-long contribution to education in Madison.  The November 18th Rotary meeting will be allocated to this award, and Floyd Rose will be presenting the Rotary program that day.  We look forward to his presentation on November 18. 

This year’s Swarsensky Award Selection Committee was impressed by the caliber of this year’s nominees, and below is a listing and brief summary of each of these candidates who are also building bridges in our community:      

Paul T. Ashe:  If you wonder, “what can one person do?” think of Paul T. Ashe. In 1979, while he was in his mid-20s, he began distributing sandwiches to people in need out of a small Christian bookstore above a convenience store on Gorham Street.  That was a band-aid on a systemic problem.  From that, he formed a partnership with St. Paul’s University Catholic Center on State Street to secure space for a noon meal.  He reached out to leaders of a wide range of faith communities to recruit small teams of volunteers to cook and serve balanced hot meals.  Soon more than 50 faith communities were participating.  This became the Community Meal Program that welcomes strangers.  The Community Meal Program grew to meet the growing needs of the community.  Through the benevolence of the community, and without any government support, a commercial building was purchased and rehabilitated and became Luke House which serves guests 9 meals each week—4 noon meals and 5 evening meals.  Here meals are shared at round tables—family style.  After Mr. Ashe’s retirement, the program remains, as the model of dignified hospitality that Paul established. This nomination submitted by Ernie Stetenfeld.

Dr. Patricia Tellez-Giron Salazar:  Dr. Patricia Tellez-Giron Salazar immigrated to the United States in 1993 and settled in Madison.  She practices medicine at the Wingra Clinic and serves a very diverse and underserved population and reaches out into the community to help build bridges for the Latinx community.  She serves people, primarily Latinx, with limited access to healthcare services by maintaining extensive involvement across a variety of different healthcare organizations that include counseling at Agrace about end of life care issues; educating about nutrition and healthy eating with Centro Hispano, healthcare and family planning; serving as medical director for the Latino health summit, Teen Health Bash, and chronic disease summit; and caring for the geriatric population.  She also supports other organizations in the community including Latino advisory council to the United Way; Chair of Dane County Latino Health Council; advisory to UW-Madison professional association for Latinos for medical school; and the Metropolitan Madison School District Multilingual Guiding Coalition.  This nomination submitted by Ron Luskin.

Becky Steinhoff:  Becky Steinhoff is recognized for her vision to address an underserved area of Madison with a community center—and with her belief that people will come together to do the right thing.  Through her tenacity, the eastside of Madison has the Goodman Community Center.  She found supporters and philanthropists and marshalled other organization to create a state-of-the-art community center from the bones of vacant historical industrial buildings.  She grew the size of the staff from 3 to more than 100 to meet the needs of the 35,000 people who use the Goodman Community Center.  Becky and her staff maintain a safe place where conflict is addressed honestly and in good faith—and joy reigns.  Becky retires after 31 years of leadership, but her legacy and the foundation of a healthy community center survives.  This nomination submitted by Linda Baldwin O’Hern.

Nancy Young:  Nancy Young exemplifies volunteerism.  As a professional mental health counselor skilled in conflict resolution, she uses her training in any way that it is needed.  She has consulted with community adolescent programs and worked on women’s and poverty issues to help women achieve their potential as leaders, and she is active in several capacities in her church.  Her most profound humanitarian contributions have been her service to the American Red Cross where she has been deployed to 14 national disasters that include multiple mass casualties.  The American Red Cross selected Nancy as one of only four mental health professionals in the country to be deployed to the Sandy Hook shooting.  Nancy and her husband Ed host children of Chernobyl each year who come to Madison for relief from the aftermath of the contamination of the nuclear accident in 1986.  In addition, they have opened their home to host numerous international students attending the UW.  She also volunteers for the Madison Symphony Orchestra League and serving on its Board.  This nomination submitted by Mary Helen Becker.