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Volunteer Tribute: Eric Olson

Our hearts go out to the family of Eric Olson, who passed in December of 2016. We all know how proud he was of the Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha’s accomplishments and are eternally grateful for all of his support. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Olson family and everyone who loved Eric during this difficult time.

In 2008, Eric Olson and Mike Pitts Jr. started the Dairyland Cheese & Beer Fest that has raised over $310,000 for Boys and Girls Club of Kenosha activities over the past nine years. Eric received the distinguished Helping Hands Award at our 2016 Tennis Shoe Gala for his continued dedication and support of the Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha.

Eric was born and raised in Kenosha and graduated from St. Joseph High School. After school, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and rose to the rank of E5 Sergeant. After the military, he returned to Kenosha and enrolled at Parkside and started a 25-year love affair with Rugby. During his playing days and with various teams he played Rugby in Ireland, New Zealand, and France.

In 1973 he began a 31-year stint with Cherry Electric in Waukegan and Kenosha. He worked in advertising, sales and product management. He retired in 2006 to become Director of the Kenosha Casino Project where he worked for the Menominee Indian tribe, Mohegan Sun Casino and Hard Rock Hotels and Casinos. One of his true disappointments in life was the denial of the casino application and the benefits that would have happened to the poorest Tribe in Wisconsin and to the City & County of Kenosha.

Eric was a member of the Kenosha School Board for ten years and was President of the Board for Four years. During his tenure, he was part of a referendum that built or altered eight schools including four new buildings. He was a member of the Boys & Girls Club Board during the funding and building of the present facility. He also spearheaded efforts to take over Simmons ballpark and run the park on a volunteer basis until the Kingfish took over. This was partly a result of a long family in baseball in Kenosha. His father, Emil, was one of the founders of Little league in Kenosha and his brother Jon was a three-time State Champion coach at St. Joes.

Eric also founded and ran the Ameche Medal Awards and he and wife Alice host a Christmas Tom & Jerry Party to benefit the local All Airborne Wounded Warrior Project. He is a 25-year member of the Danish Brotherhood and Silver Dollar Club and served on the Pleasant Prairie Plan Commission for many years. He was a proud resident of Kenosha.