Rhinelander Chamber’s volunteer Linda Krebsbach
Linda Krebsbach admits she is not one to sit around reading a book. Retirement, for her, is an active time that has her pitching in wherever she’s needed in the community.
One of the organizations close to her heart is the Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce, and she can be counted on to help at almost every event the chamber holds throughout the year. Chamber staff members have learned to depend on Linda, who has earned their Volunteer of the Year award, among other accolades. They’ve also come to appreciate the home-baked treats that Linda often brings in to share.
As manager of the West Bay Camping Resort in Rhinelander, Linda is very busy through the summer months. But during the rest of the year, she can be found helping out not just at the chamber, but throughout the community.
Having officially retired 10 years ago, she is a regular volunteer at the local food pantry and has helped the last four years with the backpack program (sending food home with disadvantaged children for the weekend). She is also president of the Rhinelander Area Ambassadors, welcoming new businesses.
Her latest project, for which she took a leading organizational role, was the fi rst annual Ho-Drags on Ice, a car/truck racing event which was held in March on frozen Lake Thompson in Rhinelander. “It was modeled after the ice drag races held in Merrill,” Linda explains. “That’s been going for 50 years, and the participants are always looking for more chances to race.”
Linda’s brother, Dick Jennejohn, and his friend, Joe Peek (who together make up Two Buddies Racing), along with Jim Krueger were instrumental in organizing the new race, but they couldn’t have done it without Linda, as well as Chrissy Peterson and Lara Reed of the chamber. “We started working on it in March of 2012,” says Linda, “and I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve put into it, getting business sponsors and setting all the details.”
When it came down to the day of the race, things happened fast. “We had 22 drivers lined up and held 39 races throughout the day. The eighth-of-a- mile track was plowed down to the ice on the lake. That is just 660 feet, but our top speed was 146 miles per hour.” “We expected about 300 spectators,” she says. “But we had 1,500 to 2,000 people show up! There were lines of cars all the way from the lake to the ice arena. There was a 45-minute wait for fans to get onto the ice. Thank goodness there were lots of guys with trucks and plows who were able to make more parking areas.”
Linda is already working on plans for next year. “I can’t wait,” she says. “We had so much fun. I even got to race.” In the meantime, she will be getting ready for the annual Home Show and the new Rhinelander Girlfriends Getaway, a chamber event that will offer a chance for fishing “widows” to have some fun May 3- 5, opening weekend of fishing season.
Amid workshops, fitness demonstrations and educational presentations, Linda will be teaching a class on making truffles. “I love to bake,” she says. “During the summer at the campground, I have my oven on every day. Anyone who is having a bake sale or fund raiser calls me.” At a recent raffle/auction, one of Linda’s cheesecakes sold for $200. “I love to donate to a worthy cause,” she said. “But I also just love to share with people. I usually bring a treat when I visit the chamber office.” “We expected about 300 spectators. But we had 1,500 to 2,000 people show up!”
She regularly teaches community education classes on candy making. “I cook from old-standby recipes-I still have a cookbook from my high school days-and am always looking for new ideas on the Internet.”
Linda worked full-time at the Department of Transportation office in Rhinelander for many years. “I was a driver’s license examiner,” she explains. “I was determined to retire at 55, but I got an offer to go to the DOT office in Sheboygan for the last five years of my career and I did it. I still drove back and forth up here to the campground every weekend.”
It was in 1991 that Linda began at West Bay, selling time shares. Twenty-fi ve years later, she is the campground manager and loves every minute of it. “I live on site in the summer and organize a lot of fun activities. We have Christmas in July, where people decorate their camp sites and I always share cookies and candy. We have Halloween in August, too.”
“There are so many families who come back year after year, and many seasonal people who park their campers here all summer. It’s really more like a family.”
Sue Schneider is a freelance writer who lives in Rhinelander.