The Sharing Center celebrates 40th anniversary; announces purchase and expansion of headquarters

Supporters, sponsors, staff and directors of The Sharing Center celebrated the relief agency’s 40th anniversary at an event Thursday evening in Wilmot that also featured news about the agency’s future headquarters.

The Sharing Center was founded in 1983 by Kathy and Rick Fors as a way to help people in crisis get on their feet and back toward self-sufficiency.

For the last 12 years the center has operated out of the former Trevor Fire Department station in Trevor. That department was absorbed in the merger of departments that resulted in Salem Lakes Fire/Rescue and eventually a new station in Trevor was built. However, the Trevor Fire Department Association, a separate entity from Salem Fire/Rescue, retained ownership of the old station that houses the center.

“Twelve years ago, they took a gamble on us,” said Sharon Pomaville, The Sharing Center’s executive director.

Now that arrangement is going to change.

“The building we have called home for the last 12 years will be ours because they (the fire department association) are selling it to us,” Pomaville announced at the event.

In addition, Pomaville said, the center is planning a major expansion of the facility, perhaps four times as large as the current facility. Center officials are working with an architect and a capital campaign to support the project is planned for next year.

“We truly hope you continue to support us, even more so as we become the comprehensive hub of services for rural Kenosha County families,” Pomaville told the crowd of over 300 people.

The Trevor Fire Department Association’s support for The Sharing Center didn’t end with the impending sale of the building. The association also made a $50,000 contribution to the center in connection with the anniversary event.

Pomaville lauded the center’s relationship with the fire department association over the years.

“Mind you, there’s some really great perks to having firefighters as your landlord,” Pomaville said. “Things get done really quickly if they are important … They are the fastest, best landlord we have ever had I’m sure in the history of the center.”

Here is video of the announcement about the building:

The celebration was held Thursday evening at the Wilmot Mountain Ski Resort tubing facility in WIlmot. The center’s supporters filled the ticketed event, using both the inside and outside portions of the tubing building. There was musical entertainment, raffles and a silent auction. Young people wearing Wilmot Key Club t-shirts served appetizers.

In this video, Pomaville relates how the center was started by Kathy and Rick Fors:

Many of those in attendance were current or present supporters of the center or had had a role as an employee, volunteer or board member through the years, as was evident when board President Larry Ellis in addressing the crowd went through each type of supporter the center has and asked people to raise their hands. By the end, nearly every hand in the crowd was up.

“Every little piece, brings it together,: Ellis said.

Thinking about the event in recent weeks, Pomaville said “I realized everyone that was going to come through the door was going to be a friend. And if they weren’t a freind, they were family. And if they weren’t family, they were a collaborator. There was a connection to every single person who’s in this room tonight.”

Kenosha County Executive Samantha Kerkman read a resolution honoring the center’s history and declaring Sept. 14, 2023 The Sharing Center Day. Here is video of that reading:

Maria Dillman, a board member for over 15 years who now works as the center’s housing coordinator, said she thought she knew everything about The Sharing Center but learned even more after she started her new job earlier this year.

“It wasn’t until I started working here that I realized how hard everyone works here and how very many different resources we have for our community,” Dillman said.

Here are some more photos from the event:

A portrait of The Sharing Center founders Kathy and Rick Fors was on display.

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