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May 3, 2010

Contact Pat Kerrigan at 608-796-3041 or


LA CROSSE, Wis. – Duane Ring Sr., a retired banker noted for his outstanding civic involvement and service, and Dave and Barb Skogen, promoters of servant leadership and community philanthropists, are recipients of the 2010 Pope John XXIII Award for Distinguished Service.

The award banquet and ceremony will be held Monday, May 24 at 6:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center.

Ring, the chairman of the board and chief executive officer, retired from then-Norwest Bank (now Wells Fargo) in 1996 after more than 40 years in the banking business. He was known as a tireless promoter of his community and he was particularly proud of the way his employees were involved in local fundraising projects. One of the largest efforts was a bank-sponsored food drive that involved collecting large amounts of food which would be put on display in the lobby to remind customers of the need for support. “We are heavily involved in the community. Every time five people get together we want to be there too,” he said during his tenure at Norwest.

In the community, Ring served as a board member of the La Crosse Salvation Army, as campaign chair of the United Way, and as president of the La Crosse Community Theatre and the La Crosse Area Development Corporation (LADCO). Other organizations he has helped include the La Crosse Police and Fire Commission, the Greater La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce and the Gundersen Lutheran Foundation.

The Skogens have also made community involvement a large part of their lives. As successful owners and operators of 14 Wisconsin-based Festival Foods grocery stores, the family—Dave and Barb, daughter Sue, along with their son Mark who took over as president three years ago, have nearly 3,200 employees. At the core of their successful operation is the principle of servant leadership—that to serve is to lead. Based on creating a high trust environment where values and relationships are important, the Skogen’s exceptional attention to customer service and its employees have been recognized by others. Festival Foods received the Torch Award for Business Ethics and Integrity from the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau and in 2005, Wisconsin Grocer of the Year.

In terms of philanthropy, the couple’s philosophy is simple: Giving is not a choice. It’s an obligation. The only choice is whether or not we want to give to our capacity, or we can choose to give as little as we can.

Individually or as a couple, Dave and Barb have supported efforts at Viterbo, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, the Onalaska Omni Center, Gundersen Lutheran, Franciscan Skemp Healthcare, YMCA, Bethany Lutheran Homes, the La Crosse Hmong Community Center and multiple other area charities and local scholarships.

The Pope John XXIII Award is the highest non-academic award bestowed by Viterbo University. Last year’s recipients were Herb Heili and Green Bay Auxiliary Bishop Robert Morneau.

Call Chris Sanger at 608-796-3070 for banquet and ceremony ticket information.

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