Where Past Meets Present

RCHS History Makers logo
Saturday, April 29, 2017

Celebrate Local Achievers …

At this 1940’s experience

Dance, dine, celebrate — join us on Saturday, April 29, 2017 as you’re transported back to the 1940’s at the USO-style History Makers. Enjoy the experience while recognizing the accomplishments of those who have made a significant contribution to Rock County.

You’ll feel like it’s the 1940’s when you enter The Armory, complete with USO-themed décor and live, big band music. Plus, mix with the USO re-enactment group WW2 Stateside, as they mingle all night long. 1940’s clothing welcome!

Purchase tickets to RCHS History Makers

Ticket Information

  • The General’s table: $750. Reserved table for you and seven guests. Includes the full History Makers experience plus two drink tickets each; appetizer pre-set at your table; and a “general’s-sized” USO ration kit for each person.
  • The Colonel’s ticket: $75. Includes dinner, dancing and auctions plus 2 drink tickets and a USO ration kit.
  • The Captain’s ticket: $50. Includes dinner, dancing, and auctions.
Tickets are extremely limited! For availability, please contact Samantha Bomkamp at (608) 756-4509, ext. 300.

Attention! Your Evening’s Itinerary

Cocktails, music and dancing all evening!

Saturday, April 29

  • 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. – VIP cocktail hour exclusively for RCHS members*
  • 6:00 p.m. – Cocktails and silent auction begin
  • 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. – Food stations: choose from an array of scrumptious dishes
  • 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. – Awards & Live Auction
  • 9:00 p.m. – Silent Auction & 50/50 Raffle Closes
  • 9:30 p.m. – Event ends

* Please contact Alexa Grafft, Development Manager, at alexa@rchs.us to reserve your spot at the members-only cocktail hour.

Live Auction Sneak Peek

Been trying to score tickets to the hit Broadway musical Hamilton? Here’s your chance, as we auction two tickets to the hit musical Hamilton in Chicago. Package includes a $400 gift card to any Kimpton Hotel in Chicago, plus a $200 gift card to Presidio restaurant in Chicago!

That’s just a taste of one Live Auction “experience” at this year’s History Makers. All auctioned by George Realty and Auction.

Quilts of Valor logo

Giving Back

For every ticket you purchase to History Makers, the Rock County Historical Society will donate a portion to the Quilts of Valor Foundation, whose mission is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.

Michael McGraff poses with his Quilt of Valor
Michael McGraff, a Vietnam veteran from Brodhead, Wisconsin, was awarded a Quilt of Valor in November, 2014 at a Broadhead Elementary School.

The 2017 History Makers Are …

RCHS History Makers Generations Award

Bob Kimball

About Mr. Kimball

Bob Kimball has been a steadfast champion of worthy causes in the community for many decades. Serving on the boards of organizations that embody and value education, two of Bob’s most recent projects highlight this commitment. The first was the relocation of the Frances Willard Schoolhouse to the Rock County Historical Society campus, allowing this historic building to be a part of the RCHS campus. Secondly, Bob created the Kimball Education Center by donating the building, which houses the Rock River Charter School. Through these efforts and more, Bob is helping to instill lifelong learning opportunities for all of Janesville.

RCHS History Makers Community Pride Award

Chris Rabuck

About Mr. Rabuck

Chris Rabuck was an admirer of history. He walked Janesville’s neighborhoods capturing daily life and the past. Through the power of social media, he became the primary contributor to a social page called Growing Up in Janesville, dedicated to sharing stories of the city’s past via visual imagery. Through Chris’ leadership and inspirational posts, the group has grown to more than 11,000 members, sparking daily dialogues about the community’s events and culture. Chris tragically passed away in 2016, yet his impact for creating community pride and love for local history lives on.

RCHS History Makers The Scholar Award

Sherry Thurner

About Ms. Thurner

Storytelling makes history come alive. Sherry Thurner was born to tell stories. A retired English teacher, Sherry has dedicated her passion toward bringing stories of the permanent residents of Oak Hill Cemetery to life. Every summer and fall, she invites citizens to join her on a tour of this “library of people’s stories.” Sherry has given tours to hundreds of visitors to Oak Hill, keeping the cemetery and those who rest there in the public consciousness.

RCHS History Makers The Phoenix Award

Jane & Mick Gilbertson

About The Gilbertsons

Jane and Mick Gilbertson long envisioned a rebirth for downtown Janesville. Throughout their lives, they revived two significant historical buildings in Janesville: the Janesville Performing Arts Center and the Armory. Founded in 2004, JPAC was created from a theater in the historic Janesville High School. Today it is Janesville’s hub for the arts, offering dynamic performances for all ages. In contrast, The Armory was a mustering and training station during WW2 that was also a previous home to the Rock County Historical Society. Now it is vibrant dinner theater and rental venue. These two facilities have become an essential thread in the fabric of the community.

RCHS History Makers Good Neighbor Award

Charles & Rebecca Cooner

About The Cooners

Restoring a home is a labor of love: long hours of work and endless expenses, culminating in the worn jewel being restored to its original luster. Charles & Rebecca Cooner did just that with the Lovejoy Manor at 220 St. Lawrence Avenue, located in the historic Courthouse Hill neighborhood. Originally built by the Lovejoy family, the home transitioned into a site for the YWCA and later a minister’s place of business. When it fell into disarray during the 2000s, Charles & Rebecca purchased the home and began renovating. Like good neighbors, they have not only restored a historic home for their family, but also continued to preserve the character of a cornerstone neighborhood in Janesville.

RCHS History Makers Young Historian Award

Gabriel Britt & Kyira Romero

About Mr. Britt & Ms. Romero

History is happening right now. Gabriel Britt & Kyira Romero not only understand this, but are proposing solutions to issues we’re facing now and in the future. Students at Rock University High School, Gabriel and Kyira travelled to Monterrey, California to present on the Global Disarmament and Nonproliferation at the Critical Issues Forum. At the heart of their presentation, titled Atoms for Peace, the two created a website to start a dialogue about current challenges regarding nuclear disarmament and examine “close calls” with nuclear weapons. Through their work, these young historians are opening discussions about world peace with world leaders and citizens around the globe.

History In Focus: Sharing Stories. Supporting Community.

Share Your Story

At this event, as we honor all who have served in the military, we ask you to share: What Does Freedom Mean to You?


Thank You To Our Generous Sponsors

ABC Supply Co.
Blackhawk Community Credit Union

Our Mission

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The Rock County Historical Society enriches and engages the communities in Rock County, Wisconsin through preservation and dissemination of the unique history and heritage of our area.

Learn more about RCHS

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Helen Jeffris Wood Museum Center
426 N. Jackson St.
Janesville, WI  53548
(608) 756-4509

Charles Tallman Archives
430 N. Jackson St.
Janesville, WI  53548
(608) 752-5891

Lincoln Tallman House
440 N. Jackson St.
Janesville, WI  53548
(608) 756-4509