Waunakee Rotarians were treated to Shekinah King’s beautiful voice as she performed her original song, “Heart to Heart,” at the May 18 meeting. 

Shekinah is the vocalist and keyboard player for the Project Brave Band, begun by Kerri Kane, a Waunakee realtor, and Scott Mooney, owner of Milio’s in Waunakee. 

The band has performed at larger Project Brave events, intended to get people talking about issues with mental health and substance abuse so they can find inspiration and help. 

Scott, Shekinah and Mike Gorski spoke, as well. As Scott asked how many people in the room knew someone who has struggled with mental health issues, suicide or substance abuse, nearly everyone raised their hand. 

Scott spoke of Project Brave’s origins, recalling when he first met Kerri at a Chamber auction a few years ago. She found out Scott played the drums, and invited him over to jam. The Kanes are a musical family, Scott said, but their children no longer live at home. 

They wound up talking about mental health issues. Scott said he has seen his own employees struggle with mental health needs, and he and Kerri spoke about the need for community members to support one another. 

The Chamber of Commerce hosted a program on the topic where just shortly after losing her son to fentanyl poisoning, Michelle Kullmann spoke. 

Both Scott and Kerri were struck by how brave she was to share her story. 

“When people are struggling, they often turn to music,” Scott said, adding that led he and Kerri to begin forming the Project Brave Band to play at an event with music where people told stories about overcoming their struggles to show that we all have rough patches to overcome. 

The Project Brave momentum picked up as community members got involved, and they had that first event in Waunakee in 2022. That has led to a smaller weekly group meeting Monday mornings at MNM Coffeehouse for coffee, conversation and support. 

The Project Brave Band played in a fundraising event at Lone Girl this week as the nonprofit begins looking to expand its scope. 

“We have a lot of ideas and plans and needs,” Scott said. 

Mike, who is a videographer, said while mental health treatment resources are in place, there may be a wait, and Project Brave can fill in the gaps. They would like to have someone on call and offer more support groups. They would also like to raise funds to help defray the costs for mental health care for those eligible. 

Mike is building a website with Brave stories, allowing people to share their struggles and stories of resilience. 


Other News:

- President Joe Baer is back from Croatia and happy about the boys’ golf team he coaches winning its fifth Badger Conference Championship. 

- Joe was also happy to present a Waunakee High School graduate with the Service to Humanity Scholarship, one of four awarded by the Rotary Club. 

-Janette Jordee attended Tuesday’s Fellowship event and said only men were there. But she felt welcomed, she said. The next one will be at the Missouri Tavern at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Janette might like some women to come along, too. 

-Tri 4 Schools could use three more volunteers for the second shift this Saturday. 

- New member orientations will be at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Zoom May 31. If you’re a new member, Joe can give you details. 

-The Madison West Rotary golf outing is June 19. 

Guests: Shekinah King, Scott Mooney, Mike Gorski, guests of the club. 

Visiting Rotarians: None. 

Birthdays: May 26, Bob Lenz

Anniversaries: May 25, Mick and Jeamie Holm; May 25, Jon and Barbara Townley; May 30, Phil and Betty Willems.

Greeters: May 25, Corey Randl and Tom Roepke; June 1, David Rupp and Troy Salisbury; June 8, Ellen Schaaf and Todd Schmidt; June 15, Phil Simon and Jeff Smith; June 22, Dan Statz and Harriet Statz; June 29, Ray Statz and Howard Teeter.