WESTON (WAOW)-- When Kim Kuklinski wrote her letter to nominate Craig Kersemeier and K-tech, the company he runs, for a Real Heroes Award, she had experienced firsthand what generosity can do.
"I wouldn't be healthy or happy if he didn't reach out to me," said Kuklinski.
Sick with cancer and let go by her employer, Kersemeier stepped in and offered her a job.
She wrote, "Craig always put my health and well-being before his company. He told me since the first interview that my health was number one and everything else would fall into place."
Kersemeier knew he'd helped, but didn't know the true impact until he read Kuklinski's letter.
He said, "I'll be honest, I had tears in my eyes. We've had a philosophy. We try finding a place for good people."
The K-tech philosophy not only applies internally, but to the community as well. In 2006, the company formed K-tech Charities, Inc. with the mission of making a positive difference in the lives of those who may need a helping hand from time to time. The group's very first project was collecting bedding and clothing for needy families through the Wausau Moose Lodge. From there it branched out to other events including holiday meals for needy families--a project that has grown exponentially.
"It has gone from the 25 to 50 to last year where we did almost 300," said K-tech Charities Director Sue Kersemeier.
The recipient families are so grateful. For many, the baskets make their holidays. K-tech leaders are only happy to help pitch in. The heads of the company are first to say their employees take on most of the work.
"The employees get involved with it, that was the thing. It wasn't just about writing a check and saying here's some money and then having other organizations take care of it," said Craig.
The employees make these projects their own family affair as well. Many bring their kids into the mix to help with events.
Sue said, "That's pretty important to them because if you ask them they'll tell you they're doing this to make life better for another child. So, they have a deep understanding of what they're doing also."
As if to come full circle K-tech also helps the Red Cross with a chili and spaghetti feed each year. When all the cooking and cleaning is done for those events there's a big check to handover.
"It's awesome. When we saw from the first time we did an event for the Red Cross to the second time we did that, the increase of dollars was huge, which keeps us wanting to do it again and again," said K-tech co-owner Lauri Nooyen.
This isn't the first time the company has been honored for its efforts. It boasts numerous awards for community service and corporate citizenship. This 2010 it adds a Red Cross Corporate Hero award, and there's no doubt they will continue to hold up their end.
Craig said, "We have a stewardship to our community that needs to be addressed. If we have a chance to make a difference why wouldn't we do it?"