SHERWOOD — “Getting students involved and connected is a big deal to us. When students get connected to service work, their faith comes easier,” said Dave Goeser, who along with his wife, Kay, is involved with the faith formation program in the tri-parishes of St. John-Sacred Heart, Sherwood; St. Mary, Stockbridge; and St. Mary, Hilbert.
“Sometimes teenagers can be self-centered and this kind of service brings them out of that,” Kay added. It expands their horizons and helps so many people in so many ways, they said, which is why the Goesers have gotten involved themselves. Kay has been teaching for more than 12 years; her husband has joined her for the past eight years. Currently, they are working with the 10th and 11th grade class, preparing them for confirmation.
In addition to teaching religious education, they are involved with Faith Factor, the parishes’ Fall Clean-Up Day, Mother & Unborn Baby Care, and Special Olympics. Dave attributes his passion for volunteering to his 12 years of being a Big Brother with Big Brother/Big Sisters.
The Goesers have a heart for service and often look to Scripture and sacred music to inspire them and their students. Kay cites the song, “Here I Am Lord, I Come to Do Your Will.” One passage Dave turns to is Heb 6:10: “For God is not unjust, such that He would forget your work and the love that you have shown in his name.” They also share bracelets with the passage from Phil 4:13: “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.”
When asked why they get so involved, Dave said, “We love to serve God and God’s people.” But he also points to the feeling of satisfaction such giving provides. “It is amazing,” he said. “Words can’t describe it. Take our Fall Day Clean Up, for example. When you look in someone’s eyes and see their gratitude, it is such a joy.”
The Fall Clean Up matches students and families with elderly and people with disabilities in the surrounding community who need help with fall chores. It may include raking leaves, trimming shrubs, washing windows, stacking firewood, carrying lawn furniture into storage, and more. This year’s Fall Clean Up is Oct. 29.
“Once you get involved with one project with students, it’s so easy to get into more activities,” Dave said. The religious education teaching led them to Faith Factor, with which they have been involved since about 2005.
Faith Factor is a three-day service program coordinated by Fox Valley Catholic Youth Ministers. After beginning each day with prayer, the students and chaperones divide into groups and go to different service projects throughout the valley. The students rotate sites so they experience six different projects during the camp.
The Goesers also love working with elderly and disabled persons. Dave is a referee and umpire with Special Olympics and calls bingo at St. Paul Home for the Elderly in Kaukauna.
Both are also involved with the nonprofit Mother & Unborn Baby Care/Woman Kind Medical Clinic in Appleton. Kay serves on the board and is treasurer; Dave has run the annual golf outing that raises funds for it for the past two years. The outing generated $35,000 this year, a 52-percent increase over last year’s $23,000.
“I got involved with Mothers & Unborn Baby Care after one of my daughters went on a March for Life trip to Washington, D.C. After that, I chaperoned the trip for three years and since then, I have brought students to the march in Chicago,” Kay said. The organization provides free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, STD testing, counseling, mentoring, education and baby products to women and babies in the Fox Valley. It also works with education programs in schools and the community.
“Through this organization, I have met so many good people,” she said. “I admire people who are on the front lines in this work.”
At their parish, they also help with retreats, Christ Renews His Parish (CHRP) and assist couples in FOCCUS marriage preparation. Their service includes serving on various councils and committees, including the finance council. Dave is an usher; Kay is an extraordinary minister of holy Communion, and both are greeters. They are also part of the adoration team at St. Pius X Parish in Appleton on Tuesday mornings.
In their work lives, Dave has been an insurance appraiser for 30 years. Kay has been accounting manager for a wholesale distributor of heating and cooling products in Kimberly for 30 years. They have two daughters, ages 25 and 21. Both are in college and will graduate in May — one is a senior at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., studying marketing and Spanish; the other is completing her master’s degree in adapted physical education at the University of Utah.
In their spare time, they enjoy hunting, golfing and gardening, as well as traveling. Dave and Kay attended a Cursillo retreat in 2016, where they made some good friends who also enjoy traveling. Last February, the Cursillo group made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
They said participating at Mass has taken on a whole new meaning as the Gospel comes alive after having been to the places where Christ walked the earth.