WHY I GIVE THANKS: Faith, family, friends and the beautiful Northwoods

Kevin Hamann


Always be thankful for everything God has provided. God has provided family, friends and this beautiful place in northeast Wisconsin.

I am thankful for our church community, especially Father Nusi and the Knights of Columbus members, who support me spiritually as well as through fellowship. Giving thanks to God is something I need to do more often, not just once a year at Thanksgiving or just when life is going well.


Thankful for my wife, Sheila, who passed away almost two years ago, but spent 35 years putting up with me. Thankful for our twins, Amanda and Steven, who turned out pretty darn good. Glad they listened to their mother. Thankful for my mom and dad. As I grow older, I realize how much they sacrificed and were much smarter and wiser than I ever thought growing up. I am thankful for my in-laws — yes, in-laws. They all live in the Crivitz area and seem to have a get-together for every type of event. Typical holiday gatherings are 40 to 50 people, with no shortage of food, drink and friendly ribbing. They also taught me the tradition of hunting camp. Thankful for my dog, Lacey. The tail-wagging greeting after work, the numerous walks a day and that face that can change your attitude from a frown to a smile. Thankful for the rituals that give security and meaning to daily life. For those who know me, I like routine and normal schedules. These past few years have really tested me, and those rituals have gotten me through some tough times.


Thankful for my close friends, especially my best friend from high school, Roger. Thankful for him to be alive, as he is a heart transplant recipient, now going on eight years. Thankful for my work friends for my 25 years at Oconto County. Staying that long in one place, especially in my position, is unusual. Friendly and supportive co-workers make those years enjoyable. Thankful also for a supportive county board, who took a chance on a young, unpolished kid. Glad they still accept the unpolished portion.

Sometimes it the small things that I am thankful for. Neighbors waving hi, especially Mike who also gives Lacey the loving and dog treats. Also, Tom who rolls down his truck window just to say “Good morning, Kevin,” in a loud voice, to myself and Lacey, while we walk by early in the morning by the elementary school.


Peace and quiet in the woods, the fall colors, numerous places to fish, hunt and enjoy the outdoors. Sharp Park in Oconto has served as a peaceful and beautiful place to take a walk with Lacey after work to unwind and take all the stresses out of the day. A quite place on the bay or an inland lake to fish certainly is something to be thankful for. Thankful for the in-laws for the land to hunt in the Crivitz area. This time of the year to be out in the woods seem to soothe the soul and make me appreciate the wonders of nature.

I am truly grateful for faith, family, friends and the beautiful Northwoods. That is why I give thanks.

After serving Oconto County as administrative coordinator and now county administrator since 1996, Kevin Hamann is scheduled to retire Jan. 7.