Candy Cane Lane Leader honored for Lifetime Achievement

Candy Cane Lane leader honored for Lifetime Achievement in West Allis

Ron Ziolecki helped make magical Christmas dreams come true and for over two decades was an important leader of the team which provided miles of smiles on Candy Cane Lane in West Allis as part of the “Sharing Christmas” program. Ron was honored on February 18 at the annual West Allis/West Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce annual banquet. He received the Chamber’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” for his efforts coordinating over two decades of Candy Cane Lane. Ron had to retire from his duties a few years ago due to health reasons and has been replaced by a dedicated group of neighborhood volunteers.

Ron worked with the neighbors to produce Candy Cane Lane which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2010. Thanks to the efforts of the neighbors who joined Ron, the generous sponsors and the thousands of visitors to Candy Cane Lane, a $1 Million Plus Gift of Holiday Hope was given to the MACC Fund to support research for childhood cancer and blood disorders research.

In addition to the Chamber’s award, Ron also received commendations from Governor Scott Walker, West Allis Mayor Dan Devine and the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors. Mayor Devine said how a trip down Candy Cane Lane was becoming a holiday tradition for his two boys. Governor Walker’s representative said the Governor told her that visiting Candy Cane Lane was an annual highlight for his family during the holidays.

During his decades of service, Ron was never complacent with past success. He was always looking for new and better ideas to encourage people to share Christmas on Candy Cane Lane. In addition to months and month of planning, Ron stood for hours in all kinds of weather for a month following Thanksgiving collecting funds for the MACC Fund’s life saving work inspired in part by his niece’s death to cancer as a child. Ron’s wonderful wife Bev was always in the background encouraging Ron to help the MACC Fund help kids. Ron’s cousin and longtime MACC Fund volunteer, Mike Moze, joined Ron every night as well. Hundreds of neighbors joined in by decorating their houses and helping in many others ways.

Ron also received the Golden Rule Award ten years ago. He used the Chamber’s award as an opportunity to complete some unfinished business which bothered him from the Golden Rule Award. Ron told me during Friday night’s reception that he always felt badly that ten years ago he inadvertently neglected to thank MACC Fund Development Officer Colleen Moran for all of her efforts working with him on Candy Cane Lane. Ron made up for lost time and put to rest his disappointment by acknowledging Colleen’s diligence and commitment in his acceptance remarks. Colleen could not attend since she was home taking care of her newborn son and his big sister. She was deeply touched by it when I texted her during the presentation and followed up with a phone call the next morning.

Congratulations Ron on your well deserved award honoring a lifetime of service to West Allis including a wonderful Holiday Gift of Hope for children with cancer and blood disorders. Thanks as well to all of the wonderful neighbors who live on Candy Cane Lane along with the sponsors and donors for donating more than $1 million to help the MACC Fund help kids.

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