If you take a minute to think about who you are today, the person you’ve become both personally and professionally, and how you got to this point, you may lend credit to key influencers like leaders in your school or community and activities you were involved in. Katie Fransee, Sun Prairie Kwik Trip employee and Special Olympics Wisconsin (SOWI) athlete, credits her family, the Kwik Trip community and sports through Special Olympics.
Katie became an athlete of Special Olympics Wisconsin 11 years ago and has participated in many sports—her favorite: bowling. Katie’s mother has always said “it’s in her blood!” Overtime, Katie has discovered new strengths and abilities, garnered new skills and experienced a multitude of successes. It is true that the values learned on the playing field, from discipline and focus to teamwork and determination, ultimately transcend to the workplace. And Katie has done exactly that with nearly two years as a Kwik Trip employee.
At the Sun Prairie Kwik Trip store, you may find Katie stocking shelves, greeting customers with a huge smile (or hug!) or doing her absolute favorite job: unloading the truck. When her daily tasks are done early, she doesn’t head out the door, she simply asks, “What else can I do to help?” Through her disciplined work ethic and radiating personality, Katie has gained the respect of her fellow employees and her manager, Jim Parise. Jim shared, “[Katie] fits in really well with the team–everyone loves working with her.” When asked if Katie has enjoyed her experience at Kwik Trip thus far, she quickly responded, “I like working at Kwik Trip a lot.. they’re like a piece of my family.”
Jim and his employees have only known Katie for a short time, but it didn’t take long for them to realize the positive impact that Special Olympics has had on Katie’s life. Over the past two years, Jim has sent a team of his employees to Stevens Point for Special Olympics Wisconsin’s State Summer Games to cover one of the shifts at the Kwik Trip tent and cheer Katie on as she competes. Jim said, “[Summer Games] is an absolute blast. The atmosphere is none like I have ever experienced and it is my favorite day of the year.”
The support of Katie’s Kwik Trip team does not stop there. Last year, during the Kwik Trip icon sales, Jim placed a bet with his employees. Sell the most icons in their region, and he would take the Polar Plunge in a speedo. The challenge was accepted and the mission was accomplished with 2,149 icons sold! When asked how the sales went, Katie shared, “We did so good and WON! A lot of money was raised for the Polar Plunge and Special Olympics Wisconsin.” On February 13, 2016 in sub-zero conditions, Jim took the Polar Plunge side-by-side with his fellow employees, including Katie and members of her family.
Icon sales for the 2017 Polar Plunge will occur from November 11 through November 24, 2016. It takes $552/year to support athletes just like Katie. Don’t forget to stop-in to your local Kwik Trip to purchase your icon! By doing so, you will give more than 10,000 Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes continuing opportunities to defy odds, experience joy and demonstrate courage both on the playing field and off.