Come Tuesday, you’ll almost certainly know where to find Lou French, Jim Janette and Dave Jones. Just as they have been for nearly the last two decades, they are likely to be volunteering with Insipirio Youth Ministries – formerly the TYME OUT Youth Center – in Nashotah.
French, 82, Janette, 82, and Jones, 81, were honored recently with the Green Bay Packers Community Quarterback Award for their almost 20 years of volunteer service.
The Green Bay Packers Community Quarterback Award, sponsored by the Green Bay Packers, Green Bay Packers Foundation, NFL Foundation, and Humana Inc., recognizes volunteers who rise above in leadership, dedication and commitment to their communities.
Nicknamed the “Tuesday Guys,” these men, along with the other award recipients, volunteers from 10 non-profit organizations, were honored with a luncheon on Friday, Nov. 14, in the Legends Club inside the Lambeau Field Atrium. Each award winner received a $4,000 grant for their non-profit group as well as two tickets to the Dec. 28 Packers vs. Detroit Lions game, where they will be recognized on the field during the game.
The men were nominated for the award by Kimberly VanBeek, development associate for Inspirio, and Brenda Benishek, coordinator of housekeeping and maintenance.
“As soon as we found out about the award, we knew we had to nominate these guys,” said VanBeek.
Inspirio Youth Ministries is a non-profit organization that offers ministries for middle and high school youth and their leaders: retreats, social justice ministries, family ministries, parish resources and minister and teacher formation.
“We are focused on developing faith in youth … to create a culture for youth to flourish in their faith,” said Joe Nettesheim, executive director of Inspirio.
French, Janette and Jones have volunteered nearly 18,000 hours to carry out that mission. Their dedication began when friends recommended the TYME OUT Youth Center in the 1990s.
“I was retired and enjoyed doing maintenance work,” said French, a member of St. Mary of the Hill Parish, Hubertus, and a former treasurer with ATT. “I came to TYME OUT shortly after the fire (in 1996) at the Pewaukee center. I was overcome by what I found and have been coming ever since.”
Soon after, Jones, also a member of St. Mary of the Hill, told French he planned to join him, “and he’s been going to help ever since,” said French.
The men visited the TYME OUT Youth Center for a Tuesday prayer group, and were inspired by the youth faith formation that the center embodied.
“I came out one Tuesday, and then another, and it kind of became a habit,” said Janette, a member of St. Joseph Parish, Wauwatosa, who worked for Allstate Insurance. “It’s a wonderful habit to be in. The people who work there are great models to the youth.”
Every Tuesday for 20 years, the men have come to the youth center to lend their talents. They performed work ranging from sticking stamps on envelopes to painting, plumbing, carpentry, electrical work, maintenance and repair work, and more.
“We did whatever came along that week, even making beds,” said Jones, formerly a researcher at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. He and his wife, Carol, have three children and five grandchildren.
With so many retreats happening at the center, there is always plenty of work, and every week the volunteers look forward to finding a list of tasks for them to complete.
“They’re teenagers, things are always getting broken,” said Janette, who is married to Gerry, and the father of three, grandfather of four. “We’re always needed.”
For French, part of the appeal of the volunteer work is that it keeps them busy during the week.
“There is always an opportunity for us to offer new ideas or make updates,” said French, a father of three and grandfather of four, who will celebrate 56 years of marriage to Lois in January. “Coming to Inspirio keeps us off the streets!”
Without the commitment and devotion of volunteers, Inspirio Youth Ministries would not be able to carry out all of their programs and resources. The Tuesday Guys demonstrate to the youth how to foster a loving Christian community by serving others.
“Volunteers are an essential part of our ministry,” said Nettesheim. “These men are hard working and caring men. They have extremely high characters and exhibit characteristics of loyalty, trust and faith.”
Although the Tuesday Guys do not work directly with the middle and high school students, their volunteer work benefits the youth in different ways.
“They’re not always aware that we’re there,” said French. “But they notice our work. We keep the place clean and safe.”
The Tuesday Guys were surprised when they received the award. They don’t volunteer for the recognition; they volunteer because they enjoy the work and they like helping the youth.
“It came as a pleasant surprise,” said Janette. “It was not anything we needed; we’re encouraged to continue to help the youth.”
For all three men, the work is enjoyable and important, but the best part of the job is the people.
“I very much like the people that I work with,” said Janette. “I want to impact youth and their futures, and this is work I can do to help make a difference. I think I’m doing God’s will. It’s given me a wonderful array of tools.”