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Brookfield couple recognized for volunteer efforts

Kleins help raise funds, attendance at Lung Association Gala

July 10, 2012

Tracey and Rick Klein have full-time jobs that, like most people, consume a lot of their time.

Tracey is a shareholder and a co-chair of the Health Care Department at Reinhart Law Firm in Milwaukee; Rick is executive vice president of growth and market development at Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee.

With no kids in their Brookfield home anymore - both are adults working in advertising - it would be easy to come home and not worry about any other obligations.

But that's not who the Kleins are, they said. They want to be involved, and they want to make a difference in the community.

Recently, they have been making this difference through the American Lung Association, the Wisconsin chapter of which is based in Brookfield.

The two got involved with the organization after learning about it from Reinhart CEO Jerry Janzer, whose son had lung cancer and is involved in ALA.

"He recruited us and was a real inspiration in us joining," Tracey said.

The Kleins, however, did not just ease their way into the organization in 2011. They were recruited to become co-chairs of the annual Oxygen Ball, an event held at the Milwaukee Art Museum and one of ALA's biggest fundraisers.

"It's like a part-time job," Tracey said. "It's a lot of fun, and the Lung Association is so well run. They make it fun to do it, but it is time consuming in the months leading up to the Oxygen Ball."

The couple didn't do too shabby in leading the way.

In their first year, the two helped increase attendance to 480 guests and raised revenue by 28 percent. Tracey said about $300,000 was raised in 2011.

But in 2012, under their leadership once again, 640 guests attended and the event raised $401,000. They take a personal stake in ALA as well, as they have personally raised nearly $150,000 in revenue as co-chairs.

What was the difference from Year 1 to Year 2?

Tracey said the organization got more sponsorships, especially United Healthcare.

"We each bring different skills and relationships in the community," said Tracey, who added that she was more of the driving force in the first year and that Rick took on more responsibilities this year.

For their efforts, the Kleins were awarded the American Lung Association Volunteers of the Year for the Upper Midwest in June.

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