[Inside UW-Green Bay / June 2006 Issue] [Inside]

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Notes from 2420 Nicolet


Pay it forward …

Scholarships link donors, alumni, students:
Albert Einstein/Mahatma Gandhi Scholarship
David L. Damkoehler Endowed Scholarship
Jack and Engrid Meng Scholarship

Students/donor reception photo

'Their generosity was contagious'

Rose still tops

The 1-2-3 of creating a scholarship

Advice to parents
Ron's helpful hints
Student loans: how much?

[Campus News]

Northeastern Wisconsin's Growth Agenda

Photo: Eleven million reasons to thank community

Newest alumna continues
to inspire

A gathering of friends

... more campus news

[Alumni News]

Alumni news:
April finds dream work
Soccer star's ministry
Calling all authors
New Alumni Web site

Alumni notes

[Inside Archive]

[Back to the News]

Stories from the June 2006 Issue / page 4

[Alumni News]

Animated April finds dream work

April Struebing. Reflecting on her career, April Struebing can barely contain her smile. The '96 theatre grad works at a dream job, near a dream town with a big-time production company aptly named "DreamWorks."

Yes, that DreamWorks. Home of blockbusters Shrek, Sharktale, Madagascar and the recently released Over the Hedge.

In theaters in late May, Over the Hedge follows a mischievous raccoon and his buddy turtle along with other creatures, who negotiate encroaching suburbia.

Struebing, recently promoted to production supervisor, put the finishing touches on the final production — think "wind in fur" or "clothes on the humans."

She has also received her Screen Actor's Guild (SAG) card for voice work in the film. The union membership allows her to work as an actor if the opportunity presents.

"DreamWorks is the most creative, aspiring atmosphere you could imagine, totally what you would think," she said. "My boss and others are really great role models, inspirational and successful. I feel very fortunate to work with a company that promotes creativity and encourages moving up from within. It's everything I could hope for."

DreamWorks 'Over the Hedge'.Struebing credits UW-Green Bay coursework for prepping her for a career path that, at the time, was just beginning to take off (DreamWorks' Prince of Egypt and Antz were among the top five releases purchased in 1999).

"Many people I work with in production management have a background in theatre," she said. "All those classes — Art Appreciation, Lighting and Stage Management, Acting — they all helped create such a good base."

After graduating from college and working for a local production company that folded, she was faced with a crossroads. The Brillion native told her father, "I'm moving west." When he asked if that meant Madison, she responded, "No, Hollywood." Concerned at the time, but ever proud, he even escorted her to a Hedge screening and wrap-up party in April.

Up next for Struebing? The fun has already begun for her and one of DreamWorks' next big productions, Kung Fu Panda, expected in theaters in 2008.

Mystery, murder, obsession, faith:
Soccer star's homeless ministry garners national attention

Adam Bruckner, circa 1994.He's traded in his long locks for a buzzed pate, and his quirky habits for more industrious ones, but the biggest change in Adam Bruckner '98 is a peace about who he is and what his mission in life has come to be.

Green Bay friends who had lost track of Bruckner found him last fall by way of the national media. ESPN The Magazine dedicated 10 pages to Bruckner's crusade to help the homeless in his new hometown of Philadelphia, and his absolute obsession in solving the mysterious murder of an unidentified street person.

Bruckner, a former midfielder for the Phoenix men's soccer team, has just completed his second year as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Kixx of the Major Indoor Soccer League.

The bigger story is that he dedicates countless hours and his own finances to the homeless. For his work he was named the MISL's 2004 Humanitarian of the Year.

He is quick to ask that his story not be characterized as just a humanitarian effort, "a good guy thing," but something deeper.

Adam Bruckner."I believe Christianity is a call to live as Jesus called us to live," he explains. "Love thy neighbor stuff. I just trust that God will provide the means to do so. My faith is not a crutch. I did not hit rock bottom. I just started searching for God and came to believe in Jesus."

The outward result of his conversion is the homeless ministry, but the story of the murder is what put the ministry, and Bruckner, in the spotlight.

The brutal beating death of the middle-age woman offered few clues, not even a positive ID. The victim matched no missing-person reports. Philly police assumed she had been homeless, a transient.

Bruckner, though, had a hunch the answer could be found on the streets, by those who must have known the woman, by those who trusted him — the homeless he had come to regard as brothers, sisters and friends.

He asked around and revisited previous contacts. In the shadows of the city, those drifting on the street disappear and reappear even to those who see them, but Bruckner managed to establish that a woman known only as "Angie" was, in fact, truly missing.

Investigating independently, Bruckner discovered that Angie, perhaps enjoying rare good fortune, had taken a small room. Upon finding the apartment and a few clues, and with the help of a detective and dental records, he helped confirm that the woman murdered was indeed Josephine Angelo, known by her friends as "Angie."

He also discovered that his favorite homeless guy, "Red Colt," was an acquaintance of Angie's, and might be able to lead both Bruckner and police to Angie's murderer. Colt was nowhere to be found.

Bruckner made a bit of self-discovery in the process. Colt, he learned, suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder, a condition Bruckner had long recognized (but not labeled) in himself.

Because of Bruckner's experience with the disorder, he knew Colt wouldn't stray far from his old habits. (There is tremendous security in routine for those afflicted). Meanwhile, Bruckner's own obsession with the case helped detectives locate Colt and the overwhelming evidence that revealed him as Angie's murderer. Despite the disappointment in Colt, Bruckner never wavered from his faith, love, or trust in people on the streets.

Adam Bruckner.

"I really like Red Colt, but I knew from the start that he was ill," Bruckner says. "It never caused me to doubt my work. If anything, the experience showed me how much the homeless cared for each other and how God was in everything good that was happening."

Bruckner eventually began an outreach to Colt, making jailhouse visits to the man who long suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. Bruckner now focuses his passion and faith through a non-profit outreach program, "Restart," run through the South Jersey Youth Alliance, with 100 percent of the donations going to helping the homeless restart their lives. It includes a weekly meal and assistance in obtaining proper identification such as state IDs, birth certificates and social security cards.

Providing the long answer to the short question his homeless friends hear everyday — "Why don't you just get a job?" — Bruckner responds, "There are many good men who want to work but cannot. Without a proper ID you can't get a job or cash a work check. You need money to pay for an ID or driver's license. It's a vicious circle. I show guys how to get their ID and then pay for it (checks written directly to the agencies). Thousands have come to get IDs and driver's licenses and some of them get off the streets."

The outreach, still in its infancy, is "incredible but stretching," says Bruckner, who spends most of his personal resources on the cause.

"I am spending much more than I make, but men and women are getting jobs and some lives are changing," he insists. "I've raised much less than I spend, but I know that God will always provide a way."

Those who knew him at UW-Green Bay will probably be surprised by his strong faith and his new outlook.

"I was a good teammate...but I had some rotten things about me...I don't know if it is as obvious from the outside, but there is no question I went from dark to light in many ways."

If you are interested in contacting Adam or making a contribution to his homeless ministry, view his Web blog at www.phillyrestart.wordpress.com.

Books by UW-Green Bay alumni.Calling all authors!

Do you have a published book or novel to your credit? UW-Green Bay would like to have a copy for display and promotion purposes. Send your works to Mark Brunette, Alumni Relations, CL 830, UW-Green Bay, 2420 Nicolet Drive, Green Bay, Wis., 54311-7001.

New Alumni Web site home page.Introducing …
the new Alumni Web site

It's a good one. Photo galleries, money-saving offers, schedules of fun and/or educational activities of interest to you.... Check it out at www.uwgb.edu/alumni.

The Web site is also an entry point to link up to the exciting new Phoenix Circle network.

Alumni notes

An archive of alumni notes is available online at www.uwgb.edu/alumni/. Check the Website often for the latest news on your fellow graduates.

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