Nominate a Deserving Mom For 1 of 4 $500 Cash Prizes!

Dear friends,

I want to thank the thousands of you who subscribe to my newsletter and read my blog. I am truly grateful to all of you for being in my life! This Christmas season I want to challenge you to open up your hearts by giving of your time, money, and hearts. I just got back from volunteering at the local soup kitchen/food pantry. Each time I go it is such a humbling experience and shows just how much we really have!

This year I would once again would like to ask for your help! I would like to give some money away to 4 moms who could really use a little pick up this Christmas season. Check out last years contest, and the winners I picked, and then check this video out.
Last years responses:
Last years winners:

Here are the rules:

1. Entries must be submitted in the comment box below.

2. Contest ends Tues Dec 29th at Midnight CST.

3.  All stories must be true and will be verified if selected as one of the winners.

4.  You can’t nominate yourself.

5.  Please share this with as many people as possible in order for me to find the most deserving moms.

6.  Please be reading the stories and if one really moves you and you want to give, email me at and I can get you in contact with the person.

7.  In the entry, please include who you are nominating, why you are nominating them, and what they would do with the $500.


  1. Susan Keough says

    I would like to nominate Melissa Clark, mother of 3 exceptional children: Maddie, Alec and Levi. She is a single mother who works with me here at the Stoughton Area School District, and also, at a Quick Trip (usually from 4am until 7am-before she has to get her kids and herself to school and work; and on the weekends). She works her second job to have spending money to do fun things with her children and purchase those “Extra” things her kids need. Their father tries to help as much as he can, but is among the unemployed currently. Her family is VERY close knit and openly express their love for each other all the time. A day doesn’t go by that that the children tell each other that they love them. What a family. Everyone adores the kids and how well mannered and considerate they are. In today’s “ME” society, they are truly the exception, and show the rest of us what “Family” truly means.
    Melissa Clark can be reached at work at 608-877-5072 M-F from 8-4.

    Submitted by Susan Keough 608-877-5004

  2. I would like to nominate my sister Becky.
    She is a single mother of an almost 7 year old little boy that keeps her very busy.She has done a wonderful job raising my nephew all on her own and always puts him first!
    She does in home day care and is up at the crack of dawn every day taking care of other peoples kids as well as her own son. She also takes care of kids later in the evening to earn extra money. Some days she has kids from 6 am to 7 pm. She rarely takes a day off as she needs the money and always feels bad when the parents need to find someone else to watch their kids.
    She is always willing to help anyone in need and goes out of her way to do so.

    Her son comes first and she has always put him before her own needs. In doing do she has become overweight and I know that it is hard to keep up with my nephew and all of his energy.

    I know that if she had the extra $500 and could use the money to work with you and/or a nutritional consultant that she would benefit greatly.

    Thank you for considering my sister to be one of the deserving moms. She definitely deserves it!
    Melissa N.

    Happy Holidays to all!

  3. Giving to a deserving mom is truly a great idea. Being able to share stories of people we love, publicly, not only allows others to choose to help, but it also provides a way for us to pray for those in need.

    I would like to nominate my sister. Although she has experienced trial after trial, she tries her best to give her all to her six-year-old daughter. My sister is a single mom who has been in abusive relationships, practically all her life. Not to mention, she was in a tragic car accident when she was seventeen. The memories of painful experiences seem to haunt her daily. She moved to Madison about 3 years ago in hopes of a fresh start. It is still a battle for her to escape her thoughts and her depression. Amazingly, though, she devotes her time and energy to support her daughter in every way she can. She provides for her daughter; eventhough, it’s not always easy. She is really struggling financially. Paying for basic needs is hard, let alone the piles of bills, etc that she has to face. My sister knows that everything happens for a reason, and that she is constantly learning what her place is in this world…yet, she is overwhelmed with hardship. She tries to see the positive in situations, and really tries to show her daughter that life is good…but she does have very low self-esteem. She is down on herself often, and she knows that is not healthy for her daughter to see.

    My main reason for submitting this entry is for prayer for my sister and my neice. Also, she does desperately need money, and if she did receive it unexpectedly, I know she would feel abundantly blessed. She would most likely use the money to pay bills and to do something for herself. Maybe even join a bootcamp or mamatone–a place where she could release stress and meet people to encourage her. The gift of money would also help her to see that not everyone she encounters is out to hurt her…and that she is a deserving person/mom.

    Thank you,

  4. Kati Corbett says

    I nominate Maleah Moskoff.

    Maleah is a hard working mom for many reasons. She currently participates in your (Dustin’s) Bootcamps three times per week. She has a son whom she takes to school and after school commitments. And Maleah also owns her own business!

    Maleah is more than deserving because she ALREADY puts her health as a first priority, so she can be a successful mother and business owner. Let me remind you (Dustin) that she has always followed your advice not only on workout recommendations but she is so disciplined with your nutritional recommendations as well!

    During tough economic times I know this gift of $500 would be a financial blessing for Maleah. I’m also pretty sure she would use this gift to commit herself to another year of your (Dustin’s) Bootcamps.


    Kati Corbett
    Hair Stylist & Friend

  5. I would like to nominate Maleah Moskoff as well.

    I have known Maleah for going on 9 years now and have never known anyone with more dedication and drive. This translates to every aspect of her life. She has always been one to give her all to everyone around her and I believe that since going to these bootcamp programs she has truly found a place where she can give to herself as well. Maleah has always been dedicated to her health and living a balanced life but I have never seen her more excited about the realities of exercise and nutrition than when she started this program. I think the best part of that has been watching that enthusiasm be passed on to Ben (her son). You don’t see many kids begging to go to the farmers market or help prepare dinner. She teaches him and makes the healthy living that she’s learning about something fun for Ben.

    Maleah is a wonderful mother, an amazing business owner and the best friend I could ever ask for. I know that if she were to receive this much deserved gift she would take full advantage of every opportunity it afforded.


    Angela Cox

  6. Lawrence Lai says

    I would like to nominate Maleah Moskoff.

    Although I have known Maleah for 6 months, she has inspired me greatly with her enthusiasm toward life, compassion toward new friends such as myself, and dedication to the boot camp program to become a more confident and stronger person. She is who she is to be a great role model for her son and the perfect spokesperson for her tea business.

    Thank you.

    Lawrence Lai

  7. I would like to nominate LeAnn Bertagnoli.

    She has 3 children ages 7, 5, and 3. This past week their 5 year old swallowed a tack. He was rushed to UW Children’s hospital for surgery to take the tack out. But that night his brain swelled and they were left with the worst decision for parents to have to make. Caleb passed away on December 16th. He was a very active little boy. He loved being outside, sports and swimming. I can’t imagine what it’s like for them to lose a child, and so close to Christmas. If they won the $500 they would use it to pay medical bills, and hopefully a little something for themselves. If you would like to learn more about the Bertagnoli’s they have a memorial website set up at:

    Thank You,

  8. I would like to nominate my dear friend Sunshine (yes, that is really her name!). She is the mother of two girls, 17 and 14, and one boy, 3. She also took into her home her nephew, who was 12 at the time, and is now 16. She is by far the best mom I have ever known. I am always in awe of her. She is completely tireless in keeping up with her four kids – always on top of their school work, after school activities, social lives, the works. She always makes sure that her expectations are very clear, and that the kids understand them. They also always know what the consequences are of both fulfilling and not meeting those expectations.

    There is a lot of structure but also a lot of love in this family. The kids are affectionate with each other and their parents. Dad has a big extended family in our area and there is never a dull moment at their home. Always someone is dropping in, dropping off or picking up a child, calling up, making plans – all kinds of activity. They are all very active in their church and Sunshine tries so hard to instill those values in her kids and live them herself. It’s hard! But I’ve never seen anyone try harder!

    I love my friend Sunshine because she has always “been there” for me. She is a true support and a fierce protector of anyone she cares for. You do not want to make her mad! She is smart and tough and will not tolerate injustice against anyone, least of all one of her family or friends.

    Sunshine is only in her mid-30s; she had her first child when she was only 17. She struggles to find time to take care of herself, between the four kids and her full time job working for the County. Her husband works at a box factory, on shifts opposite hers so the kids never had to go to day care (and the youngest still doesn’t). This puts a tremendous strain on her marriage, and she fights hard to keep it together. Her husband is SEVERELY obese and his health is a constant worry for her. She is often trying to lose a few pounds too, and will start working out for a while, then have to let it go because there simply isn’t time. Truly, there isn’t: the other day we were talking about how we hadn’t seen each other in six months, even though we live in the same neighborhood! She shared with me then that despite all the people and activity around her, she is feeling really lonely. Her family lives many states away and at Christmas time especially she misses being around them. Even though she and her husband are both hard-working, employed people, there is very little money for anything extra – certainly not for plane tickets at Christmas, and certainly not when you have to buy so many of them (she could never spend Christmas without her babies!).

    Of course even $500 wouldn’t buy plane tickets for everyone, and anyway the prize won’t be given until after Christmas, but maybe it could buy Sunshine a trip home some other time in the year, or ease some of the financial pressure for this wonderful family. They teach me something about the meaning of family every time I’m around them. It is so hard to see them struggle when they work so hard. They really deserve a break. As I mentioned above, Sunshine is very active in her church and leans heavily on her faith. When one thing after another after another pile up on her, she always says “God only gives you what you can handle.” I just shake my head and wonder how any God could test any one person so severely. She is a light in my life and if I had five hundred extra dollars, I would give it to her myself!

    What a generous gesture on your part, Dustin, and I am looking forward to reading more stories about amazing women here on the blog.

    Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings to all!

  9. I would like to nominate Amanda Roe. She is a wonderful mom of 3 precious sons, Caleb (soon to be 6 years), Zach (3 years today) and Daniel (soon to be 4 months old). Amanda has gone through the loss of her own mother in June 2009 after she lost a battle to a rare form of cancer. She is a wonderful wife to our son, Jesse, who is a diabetic and has had to undergo surgery for retinal detachments as well as other vision-related treatments. Jesse has been laid off from his job as a welder/fabricator for the past 4 months roughly. Amanda and Jesse also stepped up to the roles of our youth group leaders in North Ridge Church in Abbotsford where the teens have opened up some of their deepest hurts and challenges with them. Jesse is a drummer on our worship team and Amanda is one of the lead vocalists. She also just started a college-age ministry for young women, meeting at the coffee shop in Colby. She has a big heart for others – even despite the many challenges life is throwing at her – as back far as her childhood when her parents divorced. She is a mature, strong, loving, beautiful, giving mom. I know this would be a gift that would bring tears of joy to her and her family. Merry Christmas.

  10. Dustin: I would like to nominate my mother Dolores Banaszak as a deserving mother for this year. She has been an inspiration of faith, love, caring and healthy lifestyle throughout our lives. She and Dad raised a family of nine children as well as others who needed a safe and loving place to live for awhile when they worked through Madison Catholic Charities. She also helped raise many of her grandchildren by providing child care for some of us. She and Dad invested in their children rather than the stock market so now in her “golden years” she is low on income. My Dad who is 90 suffered a stroke last year and has been at St. Mary’s Care Center since just before Christmas 2008. Now this year, he fell and broke his hip on December 12th and will be moved back to St. Mary’s Care Center for rehab today. This will be the 2nd Christmas in their 68 yrs. of marriage that they will not be able to really spend this day together.

    It would be a wonderful way to show Mom how much she is appreciated and loved..


  11. Rachel Bailey says

    I would like to nominate my sister-in-law, Lisa. She is a very deserving mom who has had a trying year. She is a mother of 3 beautiful girls, 9yr. old Kaetlyn and 6 month old twins, Emma and Sophia. When she had the twins she decided she wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, unfortunately it just wasn’t feasible financially. She decided to work with a family friend doing daycare, so she could at least be with her twins and get her older daughter after school. There are only 2 adults and sometimes up to 12 or more kids with at least 6 under the age of 5. It would be exhausting for anyone! Her twin girls are very fussy and cry lots during the day and still are not sleeping during the night. One would be hard for anyone, but two is really difficult.

    My brother is wonderful and helps more than any Dad I know. He works full-time and has a second job on the weekends to help make ends meet. They are both stressed and sleep deprived, which brought on a grand-mal seizure for my brother after Halloween. He is still having pain in his shoulders from the paramedics sitting on him during his seizure and having small seizures during the night. It seems to be a cycle they can’t break. My sister-in-law has also had chest pains, even though she is only in her early 30’s because of the stress, constant worry and sleep deprivation. They have good support from my parents, sister and my sister-in-law’s parents thankfully.

    Lisa is always grateful for any help they receive. She is always putting herself last and doing for others even when she is completely tapped out. I wish their was more I could do for them. I worry constantly about my brother and Lisa and would love for them to find some relief instead of added obstacles.

    Lisa is so derserving for this. With medical bills adding up, pay being cut and the cost of raising kids, this $500 would really help them out. I know they would most likely use the money to pay for my brother’s medicine or for a monthly bill. I would hope maybe she would use some to do something for herself. I have turned her on to your website and tools, but financially she can’t do the DVD’s or bootcamps at this time.

    Bless you for doing this Dustin. There are so many deserving women out there!

    Blessings for a Merry Christmas and Happy Healthy New Year!!

  12. Dustin
    Iam nominating my coworker Jean.Wow where do I begin She is 65 years old and this was the year she was to retire but instead she will be working at least another 5 years or longer because she takes care of her son and his girlfriend and her granddaughter and boyfriend and their baby. Due to the economy the family she provides for do not work and she takes care of them all. She is venturing into buying a foreclosure home that I am sure will be tough to manage on her own income but will do so to provide a home for the rest. She really amazes me at work, we work for the legislature and some times during the budget we are at work up to 24 hours her age this is a feat.yet she muddles through because she has too and always with a pleasant demenanor. She lost her daughter to a car accident when her granddaughter was 3 and has since been looking after her as well. During her grandaughters teen years she made it real tough (as teens like to do)…. and everyday I would wonder how is she making it through… the stress the worry and on top of that all our extra hours at the office. It is amazing the strength people can have. She is always giving to others and never thinks to take time for herself. Often times I feel bad for her situation but admire at how her only concern is for everyone else around her. I really commend her all the time for all she does for her family when she is at an age where her family should be looking out for her. I think she is deserving because she is always doing for other people it would be nice to see her have something special for herself.
    Merry Christmas to all and Bless your heart Dustin. It is truly a giving thing your doing for some deserving moms.

  13. After reading the entries.. One really brought a tear to my eye..It was Melissas entry for her friend LeAnn. That is very sad. Please extend sympathy and know that I will say a prayer for her family.

  14. Dustin, I would like to nominate Heavin Bordwell. A little over a month ago, Heavin and her husband Chad were celebrating a Badger victory over Michigan. Today, Heavin, her 3 girls and all of Chad’s family and friends are preparing to say goodbye to Chad. Chad lost his battle with brain cancer early Friday morning. During the month that they were fighting, I was amazed with the strength that Heavin had to share with all of us the details of his fight. Through the website,, she let us into their lives, as tough as I can only imagine that it was for her. A month ago, I am sure that they were looking forward to celebrating Christmas with their 3 little girls and now she has to go on as a single mother. I know that she has a lot of people behind her, but I am certain a gift like this would be appreciated. Please feel free to follow their story at May everyone find the peace that they need during this holiday season.


  15. Susan Steinhauer says


    First I would like to say what a fantastic idea to do this. I would like to nominate someone who I have known for a year through work, because I rented an apartment to her. Her name is Tina Schlueter and has 10 children ranging from the age of 18 down to 4 years old (I believe this is her youngest). Tina was recently divorced last year which prompted her to find an apartment at the properties that I manage.

    This woman is so sweet, caring, and hard working. One of her 10 children, her 6-year old daughter has a rare form of cancer. The cancer prognosis and divorce all came at the same time. The cancer prognosis is not good, but Tina’s preserverance to comfort her daughter and the rest of her children seems to get them through.

    Tina delivers newspapers in the early morning and also cleans floors for a local restaurant so that she can get by. Money is tight and she is struggling right now.

    I have to say I dont know her as well as other nominators may know who they are nominating, but what I do know is very wonderful. When you look at her eyes you see hopelessness but you also see a smile, with a sweet tender voice. She is trying…

    I can only imagine is she is chosen, she would be so fulled with gratitude and emotion, she would be speechless. I am positive that she would be able to necessities for her children such as clothing and food.

    Thank you for doing this!

  16. I would like to nominate my mom, Barb Pettijohn, who would use the money to join a gym and pursue regular exercise for the first time in her life. She has talked about it for years, found excuses to put it off and I would like to do all I can to encourage her before it is too late.
    My mom is 59 years old, overweight, stressed and has Type 2 diabetes.
    My mother suffers from “othering” and in every situation, puts herself last. She got herself out of an abusive, adulterous marriage, but then was stuck as a single mom who did her best to make ends meet. That’s how she spent the first half of her adulthood.
    Now, during the second half, she cares for her mother who can no longer live on her own. She arranges her doctor appointments, does her laundry, manages her finances and even wrote her Christmas cards this year.
    Since I had my first child 7 years ago, she has made the trip from Chicago to Madison every other weekend without fail to spend time with her grand kids. She means everything to them…and if she doesn’t change her lifestyle soon, I’m afraid their time with each other will end prematurely.
    She has already made the New Year’s resolution to begin exercising, but seems to think a gym membership for herself is just “too indulgent.” I would like to show her that she is worth the money, the time and the effort it takes to live a happy, healthy and long life. I have tried to set a good example for her by taking my own health and happiness seriously and hope she notices that by doing so all the people around me are better off as well.
    There is nothing in the world that I would like more than to see my mom live the life she deserves…one in which she makes herself a priority. Using the $500 to join a gym and commit once and for all to improving her health is just the wake-up call she needs.
    Thank you, Dustin, for always looking out for us moms (young and old)!

  17. Katy Spaulding says

    Hi Dustin,
    You have a great program here and I would like to thank you for how you’ve helped and continue to help so many people with your talents and knowledge.

    For your contest, I would like to nominate my mother, Geraldine Stratton. She’s had a really rough life, dealing with physical and emotional abuse starting when she was a child, and then dealing with years of painful custody battles against my father who was abusing her physically and mentally as well as myself. That just tore her to pieces because she loved me so much and couldn’t do anything about it for so long! I also have two older brothers and when they were real young (the younger of the two wasn’t even born yet), their father just up and left my mom with the two boys and a mobile home, no means of income, no car, nothing. She’s gone through a lot.

    With my brothers she had to be on welfare for quite a while and then would ride her bike miles to work every day to provide what she could as a single mom. With me I remember her bundeling me up tight even in the dead of winter and riding her bike across town with me in the little attached seat from infant up into my toddler years to take me to the babysitters. She did that so she could work her 3rd shift warehouse job to provide everything for me as she only ever got $50 a month for child support from my father. This is just a small picture of what my mom has gone through, and through it all, she did everything she could for us kids, and nothing for herself!

    My mom also has many health problems. She has arthuritis all over, high blood pressure, hip replacements, and within the last 10 years she has battled and overcome skin and breast cancer.

    Now all three of us kids are out of the house and married, and she still does nothing for herself. I just recently got married just over a year ago, and so now she is working on paying off the loan for the big meal she insisted my husband and I have to celebrate ouronce in a lifetime event! She has a piece of junk car right now that we really never know if she will make it for a visit. Its got lots of fixes needed on it, needs new brakes, it leaks so bad any time it rains or anything the floors inside turn into lakes and it smells horible, and just her last visit she had to tie a rope from one door to the other on the inside to keep her door shut because her driver’s side door will not close. As you can imagine, it was a pretty cold trip in the cold Wisconsin winter! She does nothing for herself because she would do anything for ANYONE else.

    My mother is an incredible and sweet, loving, selfless woman, living paycheck to paycheck struggling most of her life to stay on top of things, and I feel like even what I did say about her does no justice for who she really is and what she does without taking any credit herself. I wish my husband and I were more financially able to help her out right now, but we’re not. If anyone deserves the reward you’re offering, she does! If you choose her, I’m positive she would use the money to helpf fix up her car just enough to be functional again and maybe to help toward paying off her big loan! She deserves so much more than anyone can offer her, but $500 would be a huge help to someone who I believe truly deserves it!

    Thank you!
    Kate Spaulding

  18. I would like to nominate a mom-friend of mine, Rachel. She’s a stay-at-home mother of two boys, ages 3 and 1. Her oldest son has a lot of energy and will power (you could almost say behavioral issues), making most of her days long and tiring. She is going back to school so she can get back into the workforce to help support their family. This fall she told me she had to sell items from around her house to get money to buy Christmas presents for her boys. I know she’d appreciate the money you are giving away to help pay for school fees, for herself and her oldest son, and to help pay for the little things she’d like to give to her children. Thank you for considering my nomination.

  19. Merry Christmas!

    I’d like to nominate my own mother, Shirley. My Mom pours herself out daily for those around her. She wakes up each day asking God to use her to bless someone that day. She’ll drop anything to help someone in need. Many years around Christmas I remember us buying bags full of gorceries and occasionally Christmas trees for families who couldn’t afford them. One time in particular, I remember dropping off bags of presents to a battered woman and her children. We were never monitarily rich. The richness we delighted in was reaped from the love and generosity my parents sowed over and over throughout my childhood toward others.

    These last few years have proven to be more financially stressfull than my parents could have imagined. Everyweek my Mom lays out the bills and asks God to provide for them because there is never enough to cover them. And amazingly they have always been able to pay them. Usually it comes in a most unexpected way, a gift from a friend, etc. Most people would sink in the tide of discouragement they have experienced. Not my Mom. She stands firm in her joy, knowing these sufferings to pail compared with those in greater need. She even goes beyond that and extends her joy to others in the form of hope, encouragement and selfless love.

    I have given her many small gifts over the years, but nothing seems sufficient to cover the deep gratitude I have to her as a Mother, Nurturer, Friend and now Grandmother to my children. She has set a beautiful example for us all and I can’t imagine a better surprise for her this Christmas than this. I can’t speak for exactly how the money would be used, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that others would also benefit from this blessing, keeping the chain of grace flowing.

    Thank you!

  20. I would like to nominate you, yes you, you have no idea who I am, and I have no idea who you are, yet I know you. You must be interested in fitness and health, otherwise you wouldn’t be on this web site….perhaps you read the blogs wishing you could join the classes, but not quite having the funds to do it, you have tried at home to lose weight and gain health on your own and no luck, you have tried other programs and no luck, that is why you are reading Dustin’s web site-you see the success of others and are trying to figure out a way to incorporate his programs into your life. So here it is, I nominate the first person who responds to this nomination-but you must meet my requirements to be nominated:

    You must put the money into one of Dustin’s programs, and you must plan on attending at least 3 days a week-NO EXCUSES.
    You must listen to the trainers and do as they ask-NO EXCUSES.
    You must open your mind to the future that lies within you-NO EXCUSES.
    Lastly, you must be more than 70 pounds overweight.

    This may seem weird, just call me someone who doesn’t want money to keep you away from being the person you want to be, choose today to make a difference in yourself…..this could be life changing and life saving.
    So again, first to respond will be my official nominee.

    You will be up against some stiff competition, as all the nominees are worthy, but you are worthy as well!

    Good luck and see you in class!


  21. Cheryl,
    I accept your challenge.

  22. Mike Moskoff says

    Dear Dustin,

    I am pleased and proud to be among the many who have joined in the chorus to nominate Maleah Moskoff for the “Deserving Mom Award.” I have known Maleah for 34 years and, therefore, can speak with some authority regarding Maleah’s attributes and why she is deserving of this inspiring award.

    Maleah is an exceptionally wonderful mother of Ben, a 5-year old boy with a ton of energy. In addition to participating in Bootcamp three times per week, in addition to participating in Ben’s school activities, in addition to being a loving wife to Dan, Maleah is a creative, hard-working business women striving to build a successful tea company.

    Maleah is known in the business world as confident, reliable, dependable, and passionate about her teas. Maleah is all of these and more, including tenacious and disciplined so that she will be successful physically, mentally, and emotionally.

    Maleah knows health and nutrition are key to a successful, balanced, and long life; and Maleah has committed to taking care of herself, and being a good role-model for Ben.

    I have no doubt Maleah would use the $500 to take your classes and continue her successes on her journey to being healthier for herself certainly, and for Ben especially.

    As Ben’s grandpa, knowing Ben is on his way to a healthy life, and as Maleah’s dad, I can not be more excited to know Maleah is choosing a healthy lifestyle for herself and her family.


    Michael Moskoff
    2818 Lakeland Avenue
    Madison, WI 53704
    Tel: 608-244-6460
    Cell: 608-698-6453

  23. Cheryl Moskoff says

    I would like to MOMinate Maleah Moskoff for your Deserving Mom award. Maleah is a dedicated mom. She is striving to make a positive difference in her life – which in turn positively affects her family, especially her 5 year old son, Ben. She is setting a wonderful example for him with her exercise and diet changes and choices. She has been working very hard in the Mamatone program and has made great strides in her life. Maleah would love to continue with the program and this award would make a significant difference in her ability to do so.

  24. Her name is Phedora. Hers is an amazing story of survival and overcoming. Raised in the Chicago, by an alcoholic mother, Phedora did not have the opportunities that we so often take for granted.

    Married for 10 years she and her two children have suffered at the hands of an alcoholic husband. If anyone has suffered through an addictive relationship, breaking the cycle is almost impossible.

    Phedora found the courage to step out on her own and change her life. While her faith provides the foundation of strength from which she daily draws, she is also hopeful that her husband, now serving a four year sentence for drunk driving and getting treatment for the first time, WILL find sobriety.

    Even though her husband is incarcerated she is not making excuses for her life. She works 40 hours a week, making $1500 a month. She is diligent and faithful to provide, nurture, and take care of her children.

    But, the reason I am compelled to give a snap shot of this amazing woman, what stands out above anything she has overcome is – Phedora has lost over 100 pounds! Within an abusive relationship, alcoholism wreaking havoc in her life, she has found the want to within herself and has conquered morbid obesity. WOW!

    In addition to her victory, Phedora is now developing a business plan. Hodge’s Healthy Alternatives. She is planning to launch a breakfast food cart in the spring of 2011. She is passionate about helping others make better choices about what they eat…especially for breakfast.


  25. Christine Nygren says

    I would like to nominate my friend Barb Cushman. She is 45 years old and a mother of 4. Although her children are now either working or in college, she still puts them first for everything. After her divorce she was let go from a position which she held for 20 years, then she was fortunate enough to get another job 6 months later but at about half her pay. She had to sell most of what she had and move in with her brother to try to make ends meet. This past year she was finally able to get assistance to get her very own condo which she is very proud off, however, she since has lost another job due to economy and is on the virge of losing it. When she does have employment she is always willing to work as hard and long of hours as necessary. What little she has she gives to those in need, her children and her first grandson. She helps out at food pantry’s, has done meals on wheels. She just entered college to try to get her degree as that was something she couldn’t do at 18 as she was prenant with her first born. If she were to be nominated for this award, she would use the money to get groceries in her fridge (bare) and help to pay her mortgage payment. It would be a wonderful xmas or new year surprise for her.

    Barb can be reached at 608-669-7104. Middleton.

  26. I would like to second Melissa’s nomination of LeAnn Bertagnoli. LeAnn has always been an absolutely amazing parent. Her 3 children Cole, Caleb, and Caidee are 3 of the most well behaved children and fun loving children I have ever met. Their house has always been full of a lot of joy and love.

    This past week LeAnn’s family suffered a horrific tragedy. Her middle child Caleb passed away after a terrible accident. Both LeAnn and her husband Dan have showed amazing strength during this difficult time. I would have nominated LeAnn as a deserving mom before this tragedy. However I believe that she could really use the cash prize more now than ever. They do not have the greatest of medical insurance and are now faced with hospital bills and funeral costs. It would help bring a small bit of joy this Christmas season to a family who really needs it.

  27. I would like to nominate someone that has worked for my family for the past 5 years. Her husband was just incarcerated this past year for child abuse and molestation of their only daughter who is 12 years old. They have three children together and had been married 17 years; the children are a 15-year-old son, the 12-year-old daughter, and a 9-year-old son.

    Her children are suffering through the emotions that are a result of their father’s actions. The mother is doing every thing she can to heal them. She works so hard without complaint and is completely reliable. English is her second language; and although she has her driver’s licence, she does not have car insurance. The car insurance had been under her husband’s name, and she is divorcing him, and now has been in two car accidents since this fall.

    She does nothing for herself and everything for others. She works so hard yet never gets ahead. She is sweet, beautiful, selfless, and kind. Her children are amazing and lovable. She would do anything to help someone else, and I’d love to be able to help her with this financial gift.

  28. I would also like to nominate LeAnn Bertagnoli.

    She is a very devoted mom to her three wonderful children. It is a horrible tragedy that one of them was taken from her recently. I can’t think of a more loving and caring mother and she really deserves this recognition right now.

  29. Amy Whitbeck says

    I would like to nominate my friend, Maleah Moskoff. She is always putting others’ needs ahead of her own. She is a kind and caring person who works hard and puts her heart into everything she does. She always talk about your class and how good she feels. This would be a wonderful gift for someone as deserving as she is.

  30. I also would like to nominate LeAnn Bertagnoli.
    Although I have never met her this story moves me a great deal. Any extra money would help a family in this situation. My thoughts are with LeAnn and her family.

  31. Diane Reiner says

    Hello and Merry Christmas,
    I would like to submit my friend Anita as a mom who could use some help at this holiday time. Anita has had a life changing year. She was laid off from her job in February and has yet to find permanent work. She is also going through a divorce and is trying to keep life normal for her 2 young boys. Recently she was told by her insurance company that she had to fix her chimney on her house or her home owners insurance would be canceled. She needs to make her house safe for her family while still trying to pay for heat bills and put food on the table. Anita is always the first to lend a hand in need when she can and the additional gift of money would help with this latest struggle Thanks Dustin for this generous gift that you give. Anita can be reached at 608-225-6652

  32. I, too, like Nancy Trimble, would like to nominate Phedora – her story is amazing as is she.

  33. Hey Dustin—Merry Christmas!

    I would like to nominate my mom, Cindy. She has been attending boot camp for close to a year now. She was so focused and determined in the beginning…dropping, I believe, almost 20-25 pounds in her first 6 weeks. Those were the most dramatic results she had seen after years of different attempts. However, lately things have kept her from bootcamp. I want her to win this and give the money back to you as her trainer and someone to hold her accountable. In the beginning when she was “answering” to you, she was charged and ready. She is my very best friend and means the world to me…so her health is important to not only her, but me and my family also. I want 2010 to be her year. She is always putting everyone and everything else above her–and this would be the perfect gift for her and her health. Please consider her in your deserving mom award—I am lucky to have her for mine! I love you mom!

  34. I would like to nominate my mom, Jan. In her younger days she was incredibly fit and athletic. After having my brother and I she remained active, inspiring both of us to value physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle. But, over the years the stress of meeting everyone else’s needs took its toll, and she began to battle with weight gain. She has tried various different ways to lose the extra pounds and regain some semblance of her former physical self, but nothing has worked. This past year she became a grandmother (twice, as both myself and my sister-in-law had our first children) and this has increased her desire to live in a healthy manner. I firmly believe that if she were given the financial means to take act on this, that she would stick with it and transform herself into the “Fit Grandma” that she so strongly wants to be.
    Thank you for considering her.

  35. Beth Nichols says

    I am nominating my friend Becky. She is one of the most positive people I know even though she has had to see her children through more life threatening illnesses than anyone should have to. She is truly an inspiration. Becky is has 3 amazing children who seem to have the same “glass is half full “attitude. I truly can’t think of anyone more deserving of an award.
    Becky’s son, Jake, after beating leukemia the second time decided that he wanted to give something back. He enlisted in the Army. While he was waiting to be deployed to Iraq, his younger sister, Megan broke her neck in a diving accident. When home on leave to see his sister, he found out that the cancer was back. He underwent a stem cell transplant at the UW and is currently in remission again.

    Megan has undgergone quite a few surgeries because of her spinal injury but has a great attitude. I have never seen a “poor me attitude”. She doesn’t want anyone feeling sorry for her. I give credit for much of that attitude to Becky. Megan has maintained a 4.0 GPA in school and will be attending UW-W in the fall.

    Her third child, Alysa has been an incredible support system for Becky and her siblings. She has taken on so much responsibility with little complaint.

    The $500 would help Becky pay for a portable ramp to keep in the accessible van. Megan’s mobility issues make is hard to visit friends and relatives who do not have a ramp to enter a house. She has only been able to visit her grandfather once since her accident 1½ years ago.

    Thank you for considering Becky.


  36. I am nominating my step-daughter Machel. She is a mother to 5 gorgeous kids (okay I’m a little biased but I am the grandma so I’m supposed to be!). Machel lives near Spring Green and holds a full-time job in Madison. She lives on a dairy farm. They are struggling financially and may lose the farm in the very near future. To try and make ends meet, she also does a paper route EVERYDAY of the week so she gets up around 3:30am. Most nights she’s lucky to be in bed by 10pm. Yikes!!

    She shares custody of her 3 oldest children with her ex-husband who lives in Richland Center. Needless to say, she spends A LOT of time on the road running the kids to their dad’s and all of their extracurricular events. She never complains about her busy and hectic lifestyle and thorougly enjoys the moment.

    Somehow she managed to lose 70+ pounds after baby #3 and again after baby #5. I’m really not sure where she finds time to exercise and/or eat right??? She has a HUGE heart and is always giving and doing things for others. She is beautiful both inside and out. She is an inspiration to me and others!

    With my husband being laid off and my job instability, we have not been able to extend any more financial support to her and this breaks our heart. This $500 gift would be a HUGE blessing for her and her family.

    Thank you for considering her as a winner.

  37. Not sure why my post says it posted at 12:55am, cause it is only 11:55pm. Hmmm??? Weird.

  38. I would like to nominate my wife, Patricia. My wife stays at home with our 2 wonderful kids (a lot of work that any stay at home mom or dad knows) and shuttles them to and from school, practices, etc. – although, a tough job in itself, nothing out of the ordinary. Why I would like to nominate Patricia has to do with our son.

    Our son has been diagnosed with a Primary Immune Deficiency. Essentially, he does not have a immune system and will have this problem the rest of his life. First, aside from the struggles of my son and what he deals with personally, my wife spends each day medicating him, each week and/or month shuttling to different doctor’s appointments, and each minute keeping my son’s spirits up telling him how important he is and how much she loves him.

    If it wasn’t for my wife’s persistence we may have not caught this problem. Many Doctor’s had told her that she just wanted to keep our son sick. She knew something was wrong and when a door shut she would keep banging on it, eventually, getting some doctors to realize that my wife wasn’t crazy and that something was wrong. It was because of this persistence that we have discovered the true problem with our son and now he receives the right treatment.

    On top of Patricia having to deal with medicines, doctors, and trips to Children’s Hospital; she spends many hours learning about our son’s disease and talking to doctor’s around the country. All this exhausts her physically but also mentally as she cries in her heart everyday for our son to be like everyone else. Although, I know she would take the $500 and add to our son’s education or to buy something special for him so he will feel special, I would like to give my wife a relaxing day at a spa, to rejuvenate, as I know she will be right back at it, spending her waking hours figuring out how to cure my son’s disease.

  39. I would like to nominate my mother, Anna. My mother is deserving for a multitude of reasons, as many of the nominated mothers are.

    My mother is one of the strongest women I know. From having to live on her own at the age of fifteen to caring for my father as he undergoes treatment for cancer, my mother has struggled through and has overcome a wide variety of challenges. Her selflessness, optimism, and bravery are demonstrated in her words and actions every day.

    With two daughters attending college and my dad battling cancer, our family has accumulated a great deal of expenses. Every last penny is put toward our debts and necessities. I can’t recall the last time my parents were able to spend a weekend together, or enjoy one another’s company without the stresses and pains of finances or his illness.

    Despite the obstacles and hardships, my mother’s strength and courage has continued to grow. Unfortunately, she came to a small breaking point last night. She was rushed to the ER, to find that all of her stress had taken quite a toll on her body. For a while, she refused to let us take her to the hospital. She was adamant that she could not be sick, and that she needed to stay home to care for my dad, my sisters, and myself. While she was in the hospital, preparing for surgery, she was reminding each of us of little things that needed to be done for one another. She never stops being there for us, regardless of the barriers between her and us.

    Because of this situation, I began to realize just how much my mother is taken for granted. I hardly ever take the time to thank my mom for the hard work she does for my family, the time she spends on each one of us and the love she nurtures us with. And with all of the time she spends running around to keep things moving smoothly, she never thinks twice about taking time for herself.

    Originally, everyone in the family had saved up for his or her share toward a family vacation in early January. The trip was booked and we were all set. However, with my mom and dad both in the hospital, our trip has been canceled to focus on their health and well-being. Unable to escape from our daily lives, I want my mom to still have the opportunity to take some time for herself.

    If my mother was privileged to receive this gift, I know that by instinct she would want to use it to cover the necessities and to make sure my dad and my sisters had our needs tended to first. However, I would encourage her to use the money for herself and ensure that she focuses on her physical, mental and emotional health. Afterall, she deserves it.

  40. First, I would like to thank Dustin for the generous gifts that four undoubtedly deserving women will receive and then benefit in some way to bring them a little bit of relief and some happiness in their own personal situations.

    I would like to nominate my daughter, Pam, for the “Derserving Mom” award. She is deserving in so many aspects of her life. First, Pam and her husband have two adorable daughters. Pam loves her family and her life revolves around her daughters needs while finding it impossible to take care of herself. Seven years ago, Pam gained a tremendous amount of weight during a pregnancy and developed gestational diabetes. She has tried a host of weight loss programs, but has never been able to lose the weight. Unfortunately, she is at significant high risk for developing diabetes because of her present weight, less than ideal eating patterns, lack of exercise, high stess level and her strong family history of diabetes (her mom and other relatives have type 1 diabetes). Pam “hates” the way she looks and feels and it breaks my heart to see her pain.

    This past year she and her husband experienced severe financial difficulties and needed to file bankruptcy. This was very difficult and extremely embarrassing for them. Pam’s company downsized and she lost her job as well. Her husband works long hours and often needs to work from home on his off-work days. Pam has taken on a third “at-home” business to help with expenses while actively applying for full-time work. I know they are struggling with day to day expenses as well as maintaining health insurance. These financial and emotional stresses took their toll with a compromised immune system and Pam developed Bells Palsy. The paralysis has subsided, but she experienced depression and was very self-conscious.

    The weight gain has affected Pam’s health, self-esteem and marriage. The financial and emotional stresses have added to her depression which in turn impacts her entire life. With all these tribulations, she continues to be a kind, loving, caring mom, daughter and dear friend to those around here. I suspect Pam would use the money to pay bills and for other family necessities. I would encourage her to do a little something “special” with her family and as well as join a healthy weight loss and exercise program.

  41. I would like to nominate my sister-in-law, Jana Carter. Her and my brother have two biological children ages 10 and 7. They have been foster parents to 5 other kids for approximately the last 3 years and what a wonderful job they have done. The 5 foster children are siblings and my sister in law and brother thought it was very important to keep them all together so they took all 5 in. Recently they have legally adopted all 5 kids who range from ages 3 to 7. She does not work outside the home, but does volunteer to manage/run a teen center. She opens the center up for teens to come and have a place to hang out and have some fun with friends. She works with pregnant teens and teen moms showing them responsibility and good ways to live their lives. She teaches them by example with kids. She is very patient and willing to help out anyone who needs it. Her patience and understanding show through the actions of her kids. She deserves this award!!

  42. I would like to nominate my mother. She is the greatest for to me and so many individuals in her neighborhood. She not rich with money but is so rich in her services. My mother enjoys helping and taking care of people. She is 52 years old and loves everyone no matter background race or religion. She goes to the the nursing homes and call bingo for the elderly takes to most of the residents a few of them she would bring their clothes home wash dry and iron them. She also cleans churches, mows grass helps people move goes grocery shopping for many that cant leave their homes takes care of individuals parents who dont want to send them to a nursing home. She is well known within her community and I feel sometimes the things she does go unnoticed by many. I love her dearly she is a grandmother to 8 grandkids and helps with them also when she can. I love love love her. Now she has slowed down a bit being that she has fibromyalgia she constantly in pain but never complains or mentions it. She continues to work dilligently always giving 100%. Shes so deserving. Mom also send out over 100 inspirational messages to people through text and when people are having hard times or bad days shes always there to listen. I believe with the five hundred she will pay some bills since she is on a fixed income and everything she does is volunteer.

  43. Michelle birky says

    This individual is my mother. She’s been a hero not just to me but to many others in so many ways. She has been a single mom of 4 for 18 years making less then 10 dollars an hour. After my sister passed away at the age of 21 for unknown reasons she dedicated he life to helping others. We had what needed and more even if some nights she didn’t eat or get what she needed. It wasn’t only us that she helped and raised she kept and feed bought clothes for many kids in my neighborhood that their parents abandoned, couldn’t take care or abused them. She is still helping others as we move out others in need move in. Not only does she have a full time job but she’s also goin to school to be a counselor for children and women who have been abused or addicted to drugs or alcohol. She is amazing and deserves something good to happen to here after all the good things she done for everyone else. Gina birky is her name she can be contacted at 765-618-7959. I michelle birky can be reached at 317-997-7873


  1. […] Click here to read all of the entries and see how you can be a blessing into the lives of others! […]

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