Mr. LuAnn Mueller
An episode of the growing-up classic "The Wonder Years" featured young Kevin Arnold going to work one day with his dad, to see what life was like for Pops away from home, to get a peek at how the world treated his father.
It wasn't pretty.
It can be dicey being with loved ones when they're on the job because we all have personas outside the family. The person you are when you punch in is different--in some cases, very much so--than the one who walks through the kitchen door later that night.
I had the chance to see my wife in action at work Friday night as she and her office mates pulled off another successful Muscular Dystrophy Association Black And Blue Ball at the Wisconsin Center. I know how hard she and the crew work to make a single night of magic, to host 1300 guests and to raise a scad of money for neuromuscular disease, but to see the whole thing from deep inside makes me proud to call her my wife and her co-workers my friends.
I co-hosted the night with Jann Carl, a longtime MDA friend and former "Entertainment Tonight" correspondent who now has a show on RFD-TV among other projects. She's perfect for the job, able to talk at ease with the kids as they make their pitch for Summer Camp donations. Jann and National Goodwill Ambassador Reagan Imhoff of New Berlin have a future on The Strip in Vegas, their banter so natural, organic, funny, and emotional all at once. You could have heard the proverbial pin drop as they held court on the in-the-round-stage.
There are so many pieces to such a huge event--what was happening inside the hall, the auctions and other fundraisers in the lobby outside and there, in the middle of it all was my wife, her boss Lisa Lodde and their colleagues plus an army of volunteers making sure that all came off seamlessly, never letting anyone see them sweat.
To watch her do this so easily, to see how connected she is in the community not because she is married to me but because she is a force on her own, a personality in her own right, a community contributor who is loved and respected and cherished made the night even more magical, the pride all that more intense.
As the program ended and the band began, MDA was $1.2 million dollars better off than it was when the doors opened some four hours before. $1.2 million dollars gross, money that will help kids with all varieties of neuro-muscular disease, that will allow those children to go to camp where they won't be "different" because of their braces and wheelchairs.
I've helped out in the past and answered the phone when my wife would call with some small duty that she needed carried out. To be back at the event again, to be on the inside to see how such a large undertaking comes together was truly eye-opening and to see my wife (and the rest of the crew) do what they did so smoothly was a joy to observe, an honor to even have a minor role in.
At the end of the night, I couldn't have been more proud witness the eternal generosity of the Milwaukee community, of local businesses (especially Harley Davidson), of sponsors and guests who haven't been touched by the disease but who come out anyway because it's the right thing to do.
And, I couldn't be more proud to be Mr. LuAnn Mueller.