Posts Tagged ‘Spotlight’


Spotlight: Sergeant Major Edgar J. Hansen

September 3, 2010

By the time (Sergeant Major) Edgar Hansen came to Silver Lake College in 1980, he had already served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam, West Germany, and Korea.  Ed came to Silver Lake because he had always wanted a degree.  “I wasn’t a good student when I was younger, so when I came back to Silver Lake, I obviously had things I had to get better at.”  After writing endless papers on a typewriter, where “if you screwed up, you started over”, Ed honed his communications skills, which he knew would be important as his life moved forward.  “I loved my four years at Silver Lake.  I was the editor of the SLC Update and I helped with the Quiddity.  We started a chapter of the Business Administration Student Association.  We hosted touch football competitions and there were TGIF Drinking nights in the Student Lounge.  It was a great time.”

After Ed got his degree in Business Management, he moved to Colorado, where he started out in the retail business as a store manager at a toy company.  “After three years, I realized that I hated retail,” Ed relates.  He started his job search and came back to Wisconsin, where he worked with Office Technology (which has since gone out of business [of course, this had nothing to do with Ed working there, but probably only with his leaving]).  He started out as the warehouse manager, and then became the vice president.  He left briefly to work for a friend in Milwaukee, but then returned to Office Technology to implement a new software program.  “I thought the company would work through their financial problems, but they didn’t, so I got laid off,” Ed says.

That’s when Ed signed up to be in the National Guard.  As a volunteer in the National Guard, Ed volunteered to go to Afghanistan as an ETT Embedded trainer in 2003.  There, he worked with an Afghan battalion of about 500 soldiers.  He helped to train the army and worked with the military officials as an advisor.  The mission was to help build the Afghan government and build an army, so that the American troops could leave.

On another mission, Ed provided security for the Loya Jirga, which is the council of tribal elders and chiefs that was assembled to put together a new constitution and elect people to head the new government.  He also helped provide security for voter registration.

Ed also helped to set up medical points for people to get health care.  “It is a much different culture than here.  Fathers and grandfathers would bring the children to the health centers, and the men would come to describe the symptoms of their wives,” Ed explained.  “The whole time I was there, I never met an Afghan woman.”

After a 6-month break living in Minnesota, Ed was deployed to Iraq to work on the Military Transition Team, which would work to train Iraqi military officials to take over the leadership of the army, which was being held by Americans.

Ed returned to Wisconsin yet again, and went back down to Milwaukee to work for his friend at Anchor Rack for a second time.  Then he got activated for a special mission called PTAE.  His job was to make sure that soldiers to be deployed were properly trained first.  Part of Ed’s work at this time was to organize a program to keep track of the proper documentation of 3,000-plus soldiers.

In April 2009, Ed and his well-trained brigade were deployed to Iraq.  There, Ed worked with a 4-Star Commander to manage an international zone.  “We did everything.  It was like being the mayor of a large city.  We maintained security, managed check points, maintained electrical infrastructure, and helped to restore a lot of the war-damaged properties back to use.”

“While we were there,” Ed explains, “there was a big transition from American leadership to Iraqi leadership.  Iraqi armies took over the security of their country.”

As part of the support group, Ed got to travel quite a bit during this time, as he supported over 3000 soldiers all over the country.  “We controlled the ambassador helicopters, so they would fly us wherever we wanted.  It was a lot of fun, and we got to see a lot of the country.”

Ed’s office at this time was a bombed-out palace called Camp Prosperity.  This is also where dignitaries would stay when they came to the country.  “I met quite a few of the leadership of the Iraqi army, including General Odierno, who is the four-star general in charge of Iraq,” Ed said.

Ed just returned from the Iraq in January, and has been retired from the National Guard since July 31.  He is currently trying to fill his time with meaningful things, such as spending ample time with his grandchildren.

Ed received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Silver Lake College in 2010, for his significant professional achievement, and for the incredible contributions he has made to society.  Silver Lake College thanks Ed for being such a great example of what every SLC student could be!


Spotlight: Melissa Arps

March 29, 2010

The streets of Two Rivers are safer thanks to this Silver Lake College alumna….

Melissa Arps (Becker) has worked at the Two Rivers Police Department ever since she earned her Associate’s in Criminal Justice from Fox Valley Technical College.  She now continues to work there after her continued education: a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Silver Lake (’06), and a Master’s in Community Counseling from Lakeland (’09).

Melissa’s current office is at the Two Rivers High School, where she serves as the school resource officer, which is the job she had always wanted when she first decided to become a police officer.  At the high school, she teaches Intro to Criminal Justice and gives presentations on sex, drugs, and alcohol to students.  She also provides DARE classes to middle school students.

Her duties at the police department as a patrol officer are endless.  From field officer training to CSI to SWAT team to running lie detectors to third shift bike patrol, Melissa does about everything you could think a police officer might do.  “I like it all,” she says. “With a variety of things to do, I never get bored.”

On top of all the things she does for work, Melissa is also involved in the community.  She is a Special Olympics volunteer, and also has been putting her counseling degree to work by offering supervised counseling to emergency service personnel and their family members.

But that’s not all that’s exciting in Melissa’s life.  Over the course of her studies at Silver Lake, Melissa was married to Bob Arps, a police officer in Manitowoc.  She recounts, “Actually, Bob proposed to me after I got out of a class at Silver Lake.  He met me out in the parking lot after class, and led me to the AmericInn, where there were a dozen roses waiting, and an empty ring box.  When I turned around, he had the ring out and was asking me to marry him.”  Melissa and Bob’s lives will certainly be much more busy, when in less than a month, they will welcome their first child into the world!

If you’d like to contact Melissa, please e-mail her at


Spotlight: Ruth Fuersten (Belleau)

August 6, 2009

RuthwShe can have you handcuffed and restrained in less than two minutes.  Yes, Ruth Fuersten, class of 1973, a double major in Special and Elementary Education, has gone on to enjoy quite a few diverse careers—not all of which are directly involved in education.  From her first job at Algoma school district, teaching 2nd and 3rd grade, and then special education, to teaching at a small school of 100 kids in Park Falls, to selling Pampered Chef, Ruth’s life lives up to a quote from her friend: “God never takes us from A to B.  God takes us on the scenic route.”

Currently, Ruth works for the Homme Youth and Family Program in Wittenburg, Wis., teaching math and science to kids who are “in the system”.  Her job is both rewarding and frustrating.  She teaches kids with an extensive four-letter word vocabulary (not appropriate to quote in an article) and sometimes has to go “hands-on” to prevents a kid from hurting his/herself and others.  However, she says, “What keeps me there is that every once in a while a kid will get discharged and will give you a hug, and whisper in your ear, ‘Thanks for believing in me.’  And I tell them, ‘I love you.  I love you dearly.  But I don’t ever want to see you again!’.”

Along with this demanding job, Ruth is also a motivational speaker and direct sales coach.  After twelve years of selling Pampered Chef products, she wrote a book, How to Book, Sell, and Recruit Your Way to Success (

Ruth has many fond memories of Silver Lake College, which she describes as a place where you can “leave your purse sitting on a table and someone will find you and remind you to pick it up”.  She decided to go to Silver Lake because when she walked into the building to check it out, the first person she saw was Sister Mary Grace, wearing sandals and a peace sign.  Sister Mary Grace would later celebrate with Ruth and the other students at the End of the Vietnam War party, and even spend a weekend at Ruth’s house.

Ruth spent much of her out-of-class time around the same table in the Student Lounge, studying and joking with her friends.  She even spent some of her in-class time out of class, since she got kicked out of Bishop Morneau’s class (then Father Morneau) [you’ll have to e-mail her for the rest of that story!].

Ruth was most impressed with the professors, who she considered profoundly knowledgeable.  To Ruth, the professors wanted their students to be successful and did everything they could to help the student to be successful.  Ruth once brought her son on an admissions visit to Silver Lake, and Sister Arlene noticed her and said, “I suppose you’re not Miss Belleau any more.”  After 22 years, Sister Arlene not only recognized Ruth, but remembered her name.

Ruth went on from graduation in 1973 to change the lives of countless students, and now is helping people who are involved in the direct sales industry to improve their party plan business.

To contact Ruth, e-mail her at


Spotlight: Sister Andree DuCharme

August 6, 2009

srwA woman with a mission: to serve the Church and serve the Lord.

You may remember Sister Andree?  She worked full-time in the art department starting in 1967, and although she retired in 2006, she certainly isn’t through teaching and helping out at Silver Lake!

But we’ll get back to that.  Sister Andree’s story at Silver Lake begins a bit earlier, with the very first class that graduated from the current SLC building.  In 1959, Sister Andree graduated from SLC (then, Holy Family College), and her name, along with the names of her fellow graduates, were placed into the building’s cornerstone.  After receiving her bachelor’s in English, she went to Marquette and Notre Dame, earning her Masters in Art.  After her graduate studies, Sister Andree returned to Silver Lake to teach art.

Sister Andree saw many changes through the thirty-nine years she taught.  She was head of the department for 22 years.  One of the biggest accomplishments of the Art department through her career was that the program received state certification to offer an art education degree.  Sister Andree also established and ran the Children’s Art Program for 35 years, which offered children more opportunities to exercise their creativity.

In 2006, when Sister Andree retired, one of the senior students hugged her and said, “You weren’t supposed to leave until I graduated!”  She has touched many lives– true to her mission of serving the Church.

She’s still touching lives today.  She currently works for the art department setting up shows, making contacts, and tutoring, etc.  She also visits the sisters in the convent infirmary and helps them to write letters.  Humbly, she says, “Whatever needs to be done that I can do, I do.”  We’ve truly been blessed to have Sister Andree as part of the faculty/staff all these years!

To contact Sister Andree, please e-mail her at