Dave & Barb Erickson
The Ericksons: Stepping Up to the Plate to Give Back
On a warm, breezy autumn day, Dave and Barb Erickson looked out onto the Chad Erickson Memorial Miracle Field with a mix of pleasure and wistfulness. The couple helped to sponsor the development of the baseball park, partly in remembrance of their son Chad, who passed away at age 15 in 2005. “It’s been therapeutic for us to come here and watch the teams,” Barb says. They laugh about the times Dave has worn the mascot costume whenever asked. “It’s a passion of ours to help take care of the field – and the community.” Chad always loved baseball. It seemed fitting to keep his adventurous spirit alive on the diamond field, where children of all abilities can play.
That Y project in 2009 was the Ericksons’ first of many philanthropic adventures. Most recently, they helped to sponsor the Y’s new Healthy Living Center. As part of the Y organization since 1982 when their kids started swimming lessons, they enjoy spreading the Y’s message. “A lot of people don’t have the chance to come to the Y and find out about the opportunities provided,” Dave says. “With the scholarships and financial aid offered, anyone can be a member.” Barb serves on the Y board of directors, and the couple participates in the Annual Campaign to help raise awareness and support. “We’re very lucky to be a part of a community that cares so much,” says Barb, as she and Dave point out the Y’s new building additions and variety of excellent programming for all ages and abilities. “Whatever is happening, this community really steps up to the plate.”
They witnessed that support yet again for LIVESTRONG at the YMCA’S first annual Riders for Survivors Event in June 2016. As motorcycle enthusiasts who enjoy traveling across the country on their bikes, the couple found the Y offered another great chance to give back. When Dave was named Commodore and Barb First Mate for Riverfest this summer, they continued to spread the Y’s good news.
As active volunteers and philanthropists, they’ve stayed true to their “goal of doing more than writing the checks,” she says. “You can make a difference. Time is the greatest treasure that you can give.” Barb, 60, and Dave, 63, are continually participating in events, at times with their family, which includes their two daughters and six grandchildren. A Viroqua native, Dave has taught boater safety classes at the Y for over 25 years, and he’s taken many Freedom Honor Flights with veterans. An Onalaska native, Barb was named to the high school’s Wall of Excellence. “Anyone can give back. It’s easy,” Barb says. “It’s therapeutic for us. It’s helped us stay hopeful and to stay positive.” ~ By Kim Seidel, Seidel Ink LLC