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Rice, Uncle Willy & students team up for a cause

November 15, 2018

By David Nordby

The Brillion News

BRILLION – Some stories just feel good to be a part of. Rebecca Rice, a Brillion Elementary School music teacher, and Willard Born, a lifetime tab collector, played big parts of a feel-good story last Friday.

Rice gave birth to her daughter this past spring. With complications, the family was transferred to the Children’s Hospital of Milwaukee and was fortunate enough to stay at the Ronald McDonald House for the 58 days they were there.

“I had a baby in April, my very first child, and she had some things she needed to work on before she could go home,” Rice said. “When you stay at the Ronald McDonald House, you get to stay there for free. The whole idea is that families get to stay close to their babies and their kids in the hospital, so that it’s not as scary for them especially if they live really far away.”

Rice says that rooms at the Ronald McDonald House are like a hotel room with meals cooked. Other organizations help, too.

“It’s just a really wonderful thing,” Rice said.

To give back, Rice started a tab drive to donate to the Ronald McDonald House, which is what the house relies on to keep going. The tabs are pulled off soda, soup and other aluminum cans. The tabs are made solely of aluminum, so they carry a value when recycled. (The actual cans are often not made of just aluminum). The donated tabs help offset costs for the Ronald McDonald House.

The story got better when Rice learned that students in the school – Natalie Schnell (4th grade), Claire Schnell (3rd grade) and John Schnell (kindergarten) – have a great uncle, Born, who has been collecting tabs as part of his life mission for many years and has buckets full of tabs that he was willing to donate to a cause. Born, now affectionally called “Uncle Willie” by the elementary students, has dealt with cerebral palsy his entire life.

Born donated more than 70,000 tabs to Rice’s cause and met with the elementary students last Friday morning. The collection has been completed with large help from his family.

Please see the complete story in the Nov. 15, 2018 edition of The Brillion News. 



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