Buckets of Hope contributes to Hoffman Hall in memory of Sue Mara

The Buckets of Hope Foundation members recently made a $1,000 donation to Hoffman Hall in memory of Sue Mara. Pictured giving the contribution to Prairie du Chien Parks and Rec Director Mike Ulrich (center) are Buckets of Hope members (from left) Shelly Rider, Natasha Hauser, Catie Dean, Rachael George, Mandy Petit, Rose Eglseder and Joanne Prew. Not pictured are members Krista Zimmerman, Dawn Ehlinger, Sheila Schuety, Laura Konichek, Nich Morgan, Barb Mara and Mary Kriegel. (Photo by Correne Martin)

By Correne Martin

It has been less than one year since Sue Mara passed away unexpectedly at her rural Eastman home on May 4, 2013, but her legacy has already made a large impact on several local communities and charities. Thanks to her close circle of friends, family and co-workers from Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital, Sue’s memory lives on through the Buckets of Hope Foundation.

The foundation is making a $1,000 donation to the Hoffman Hall campaign in her memory. Most of the money generated for the donation was raised via Sue’s Fun Run, which was held in her memory in Eastman for the first time on Oct. 12, 2013.

According to one of the foundation’s founders, Rachael George, it was always Sue’s dream to host a 5K in her community, and that dream came true thanks to Buckets of Hope in the fall. The fun 5K run/walk registered around 200 participants, including many community members, Sue’s family and friends. (The first male and female to cross the finish line were Sue’s nephew Anthony Longfeldt and Cassie Hubanks.) Sue’s Fun Run will take place again in 2014 on Saturday, Oct. 11.

Before her passing, at the age of 51, Sue was the “go-getter” who worked with Hoffman Hall Parks and Recreation Director Mike Ulrich to arrange some of the programming around the schedules of her fellow hospital employees. As the health unit coordinator at the hospital, Sue knew she could promise Hoffman Hall greater numbers for certain fitness and aerobics classes if the timing was a better fit for her and her co-workers.

“She wanted to see Hoffman Hall be successful for the community,” said Mandy Petit, another one of the foundation’s founders. “She helped connect the dots here and she got a lot of fitness programs implemented at the hospital too.”

Buckets of Hope is a combined entity of both the “Bucket List Babes” and the PdC Memorial Hospital Relay for Life team, which Sue was also instrumental in starting. The hospital’s Relay for Life team is now the “Buckets of Hope” team.

Founded by Sue a few years ago, the “Bucket List Babes” is a group of friends who have challenged themselves to meet the goals on their bucket lists together. Several of their challenges have included fitness-related activities, such as the Crazy Horse March, a Door County scavenger hunt, Richard Simmons exercise DVDs, as well as swimming classes at Hoffman Hall and more.

Ulrich said a plaque is being placed on Hoffman Hall’s donor wall for the donation in Sue’s memory. “Sue was an advocate for all she was involved with. She had a great attitude, always finding a way to do the things she wanted,” Ulrich added.

In addition to contributing to Hoffman Hall, the Buckets of Hope Foundation is also donating proceeds from Sue’s Fun Run to the Eastman First Responders, Eastman Fire Department, Eastman Community Club, St. Wenceslaus Church Women’s Club, The Vikings Children’s Fund and the Relay for Life.

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