Profiles of Impact: Don and Charlotte Williams

Don and Charlotte WilliamsDon and Charlotte Williams were both life-long citizens of Moline with strong ties to their community. Charlotte's family owned the Moline Iron Works. She worked for a while at WHBF with her own radio show, "Kiddies Corner," and was known as Aunt Charlotte to her many listeners.

Don worked with his family to create the Don E. Williams Company, a small pneumatic air tool supplier. The family business prospered. Don and Charlotte were married in 1949. Don was known for his giving spirit at work. On his birthday, he would never ask for gifts, but instead would fill birthday cards with $10 bills for friends and employees to surprise them on his special day. Charlotte shared his giving nature.

One night while at dinner at the Port Byron Lighthouse, they noticed a table of high school students out to dinner for what looked like a special event. It turns out it was their senior prom. Don and Charlotte decided they would buy the group their prom night dinners, as a special touch to remember a special night.

They enjoyed a life full of fun, hard work, and success.

Don passed away on October 9, 1997. Charlotte passed away on September 5, 2003. The Community Foundation of the Great River Bend is pleased to administer the Don E. and Charlotte Williams Scholarship Fund. The couple viewed our young people as the future, and each year they help young people achieve their educational goals.

Two of the young people who have received the scholarship are Lindsay and Ryan Koresko. Their father, Donald passed away a decade ago from complications of ALS. The children and their mother, Joydene were devastated. But they managed to rally together. Joydene says the children helped her survive.

"Lindsay and I had to become adults," Ryan says. Lindsay admits she had a hard time for a while. The tragedy has created a disconnect between the sadness she felt and the attitudes of her friends, who hadn't experienced this type of loss. When Lindsay met a girl who had recently lost a close relative, it was a turning point, and they helped each other get through it.

Both Lindsay and Ryan put their heads down and focused on school. The hard work paid off. In different years, both were awarded the Don E. and Charlotte Williams Scholarship. It's renewable for up to four years as long as the students maintain their grades.

"It would have been a lot harder to go to school without the scholarship," Ryan says. "It meant a lot less pressure, and less debt to pay off in student loans."

Lindsay graduated from college and is now employed by United Healthcare. Ryan will graduate in 2012 from Monmouth College and plans to be a teacher. Ryan and Lindsay are very grateful for the scholarships. Lindsay wants to pay it forward by someday developing her own nonprofit event--an ALS Walk in the Quad Cities area.

Don and Charlotte Williams would approve.

Click here to apply for the Don E. and Charlotte Williams Scholarship.

 

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The Community Foundation made its first grant from the Community Impact Endowment in 1967. That grant, of $2,000, was funded by an estate gift from Bea Conrad.
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