The 2019 SVEF Gala Honorees (L to R) are Larry and Diane Hurtgen, Jay and Kristi Richardson and Bill and Brenda Karnes. Photo by Paul J. Seeling
The 2019 SVEF Gala Honorees (L to R) are Larry and Diane Hurtgen, Jay and Kristi Richardson and Bill and Brenda Karnes. Photo by Paul J. Seeling

Compiled by Paul J. Seeling with Jenny Boche and Sherry Ellefson, SVEF

SPRING VALLEY, WI – The Spring Valley Education Foundation Gala was held last Saturday, May 4 at the “areas most scenic” Spring Valley Golf Course on a lovely spring afternoon. In addition to a new location the format for the Gala was also different this year with it being a relaxed Open House come-and-go-as-you-can fund raiser event.

These are the members of the Spring Valley Education Foundation (SVEF) Gala committee: Jenny Boche, Sherry Ellefson, Katie Manor and Amy O'Keefe. They did a marvelous job of preparing, decorating, and welcoming at the hugely successful fund-raising occasion for the Foundation for 2019.

“We had so many positive comments about the Open House style and having it at the golf course. You know, with an Open House it's so hard to tell how many people were there, but it was well attended. I know there wasn't much food left!’ said the always congenial committee member Sherry Ellefson.

Lucky winners of the drawings were Jane Borgerding for the 50/50 raffle and Marsha Brunkhorst for the quilt. There were many bidders for the fabulous Silent Auction items too.

There were three Spring Valley couples featured as the 2019 Gala Honorees and each received a nice wooden plaque created in the Spring Shop class. Here are their biographies as presented with their various photographs displayed on placards at the front entry to the Gala.

Larry and Diane Hurtgen - Larry attended Spring Valley High School graduating with the Class of 1964. Diane attended Stillwater High School until 9th grade and then attended Spring Valley High School graduating with the Class of 1965. Larry’s favorite HS Teachers were Russell Aamodt, Walter Hansen, and Glenn Sandve.  Diane’s favorite HS Teachers were John Goldman, Lorraine Eakins, and R. Marcotte. Larry’s favorite classes were Chemistry, Band, Agriculture, and Mechanics.  Diane’s favorite classes were American & World History, English, and Geography. Larry’s fond memories of high school include knowing just about everyone in the high school 3 years older and 8 years younger than he was, school dances, games, driving to school in his car, but his fondest memory was meeting the best and prettiest girl in school, his future wife, Diane! Diane’s fond memories of high school included Girls’ Athletic Association on Monday nights, getting to know many kids in the entire high school, having Keith Larson as a teacher her last semester of her senior year; but her fondest memory was meeting her future husband! Larry and Diane’s family consists of 2 children, Alisa (Joe) and Christopher (Barbara), 5 grandchildren and 1 great granddaughter.

After high school, Larry furthered his education at Eau Claire Vocational School and served in the US Army, while Diane attended Rasmussen Business School for 1 year and then attended UW-River Falls earning a B.S. in Education and M.S. in Reading. Larry’s employment history included being the owner of Hurtgen Auto Clinic, running an 80-acre hobby farm, and sales representative for a parts store.  Diane’s employment history includes working at the Clear Lake School District in the Gifted Program and Title I and also the Elmwood School District as a reading specialist, Title I, S.A.G.E., and ELL. Larry’s involvement in the community includes Spring Valley Daytime Fire Department, Gilman Church Council, Town of Gilman board, 4-H Project Leader, and Sunday School Teacher.  Diane’s community involvement includes Brownie & Girl Scout Leader, Sunday School Teacher & Assistant Superintendent, 4-H Advisor, and Food Pantry Manager.                  

Both Larry and Dianne love Spring Valley due to the caring and giving spirit of its residents.  Diane says, “It’s wonderful to belong to this friendly and generous community.” In 1966, Larry was drafted into the US Army and the First Armored Division needed a band member.  Larry says, “Thanks to what I learned in the SV Schools and Mr. Sandve, I was in the Division band for my active duty term.”

Jay and Kristi Richardson - Jay attended Spring Valley school. Kristi attended Bloomer school and they both graduated in 1987. Jay’s favorite teachers were Clark Anderson, Carter Turner and Larry Kreibich. His favorite classes were Ag and Math. He has a few fond memories. One was when his sister Becky and Jane, (Thomas then) Borgerding rode in the back of the pickup all the way to Marshfield to go racing (there was a topper on the truck!). Another fond memory was when Katie and Jane “TPed” their house and got caught! Jay graduated from UWRF in 1991 with a degree in Accounting. Kristi graduated from CVTC in 1988.            

Jay and Kristi were married in November of 1991. They started dairying in May 1994 with 50 cows and currently have 1400 dairy cows with a water system that uses ultra-filtration and reverse osmosis to concentrate nutrients and create clean, dischargeable water from cow manure.

Their son Jacob was born in 1995 and their other son Jason was born in 1998. In 2003 they were honored to be named Wisconsin Outstanding Young Farmers. In 2004 they were once again honored to be 1 of 4 couples to be named national Outstanding Young Farmers. In 2011 they purchased the NAPA store. In 2012 they partnered with Craig Hollerud and Jake Hartung to open SSR Race Cars. Jay and Kristi have provided farm tours for Spring Valley Elementary 4th graders since 2005.

They both have been involved in other things too. Jay sat on the committee to study for the new high school. He was a board member of Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin for 6 years. He has also served on the Ad Hoc Committee for the Pierce County Jail, Pierce County Planning Commission, the Red Cedar Speedway Board for 10 years (4 yrs. as President) and the WISSOTA Board for 3 yrs. (2 yrs. as President). Jay is currently serving on the Spring Valley Senior Living and Health Care board, and the Foremost board. Kristi has served as Church Bookkeeper for 20 years and was a volunteer at Spring Valley Elementary for 6 years. Jay and Kristi allowed a group of our middle school students to come to their race shop where Jake Hartung and their son Jason showed students many different things about racing. 

Bill and Brenda Karnes - Bill grew up in the big town of Wilson which he often referred to as East Wilson when he lived there. He graduated from Spring Valley in 1978. His favorite teacher was Larry Hoolihan and his favorite class was History. Brenda grew up in the rival town of Elmwood. She graduated from Elmwood in 1981. Her favorite teacher was Don Blegen and she enjoyed all of his classes. They met while working at lndianhead Motor Plaza and got married in 1984. They built a house and lived there until they moved to Spring Valley in 1994, also lovingly referred to as the East side.

Bill has worked at Stockman Farm Supply, Gibson’s WaterCare, Loparex and now 3M Menomonie. Brenda has worked at McMillan Electric Company and now 3M Menomonie. They have two children: Kyle and Jennifer.

Kyle owns a home in Menomonie and works at Cardinal Glass. Jennifer owns a home in Montevideo and works for State Farm Insurance. She has two children: Lucy 6 ½ and Ridley, who turns 2 next month. Vacation time is usually spent with the grandkids. They enjoy going to Lark Toys, The Crayola Experience and Nickelodeon Universe Amusement Park. Their granddaughter Lucy enjoys taking care-bags to the Hudson Infusion center for the kids taking treatment. Her goal is 1000 bags by the time she graduates. She has already taken over 400 bags. 

Over the years Bill has served on the school board, coached Youth girls’ basketball and was involved with the basketball club. Both have been involved with the Spring Valley Royalty, Spring Valley Food Pantry, helped build Habitat for Humanity homes for 7 families in the Elmwood and Spring Valley area, helped with Benefits for community, and are presently coordinating the Backpack Program for the Spring Valley Schools. Bill and Brenda prefer to practice Random Acts of Kindness.