It was 2008 when I created Jenny’s Heroes, offering everyday people up to $25,000 to spend to benefit their communities.
My first hero was Travis Wiersma.
Travis was a night janitor at Madison Area Technical College (MATC) in Wisconsin and he requested $25,000 to provide new training equipment for the nursing program. Today, Travis is battling cancer and I just want to share his story so the world can see what a special person this is and what a difference he made with his gift.
I chose Travis from over 2,000 applicants. In his application he wrote: “i clean at night and thier is one program at the school that could use some help with upgrads the nures program..all the stuff they use looks like from the 60&70.it would be a dream too see the staff teach the stundents with state of art stuff,this would help the stundents,by the time they pass the corse,they would be able to use state of art stuff.when the get into the real world..then next year there would be new stundents ready to learn..this would go on for ever” His grammar wasn’t perfect but his idea was.
Travis bought the school $25,000 worth of new equipment!
- ~ He was on the news and featured in the local paper.
- ~ He was the guest of honor at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the grand re-opening.
- ~ He got a standing ovation from over 150 faculty and staff at the school.
- ~ He got a plaque installed in his honor.
- ~ He was congratulated by the MATC’s Dean of Health, Dr. Sido.
Over 250 registered nurses and over 1,000 nursing assistants graduate every year from MATC and his gift will be in use for years to come, ultimately helping many thousands of healthcare workers as they head into the workforce. Travis’s proud mom, Sandy, who also worked at MATC, was there for the grand re-opening, taking this photo with her son.
Travis said, “I was just shocked to be selected. I never thought I would be one of Jenny’s Heroes. It’s an awesome feeling. I know my dream will be helping many nursing students coming in and it will just keep revolving. It will be a gift that keeps on giving. As for me, this experience has changed my life.”
Travis’s grandmother was a nurse, his mother worked at MATC for 17 years, and his grandfather worked at the school for 35 years until his retirement, which makes his donation even more personal.
Travis’s grandmother, Bea Spyros.
~ TRAVIS PASSED AWAY ON MAY 26, 2020. ~
To see more of Travis’s story, click here.