Though she had been aware of HCO’s existence for much of her life, Eva Pampuch did not know many specifics about the organization and its work for many years. That changed when her daughter, Anna, who has Down Syndrome, started receiving support services through HCO during the summer and, especially when, at age 11, Anna became involved in HCO’s musicals. Wanting to support Anna, her little brother joined her on stage when he turned eight. Eva and her husband have enjoyed volunteering to help with productions. “The more our family learned about the agency and the more people we met who were affiliated,” she says, “the more we felt that we needed to be part of such a caring organization.”
When she was asked to join the Board of Directors in 2015, she was honored. Eva has a business degree from Winona State and has worked in the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as both a bank examiner and compliance examiner. She says, “These opportunities provided me with skills used as a current member of HCO’s Finance Committee and past Treasurer.” She now works with Winona Area Public Schools in the nutrition area, which she says allows her to “make connections with many community members.”
Eva says her family is her primary focus. Her husband, Doug, works in the family business, Silver Eagle Trucking. Eva and Doug have been married for 25 years. They have three children: John, Anna, and Eric. Her oldest son, John, began serving on the HCO Human Rights Committee about a year ago and attends Winona State University, where he studies management information systems. Anna is a high school senior who loves to sing, dance, and “visit with any friend from school or HCO.” Eric, an 8th grader at St. Matthews, likes theater, biking, and computers. The family is joined by two cats, Stormy and Night.
Of her family, Eva shares, “I try to involve them in my interest in growing vegetables and blooming plants (with spotty success), especially when it comes to weeding.” Eva’s mother is from Germany, and Eva majored in German in college. She likes to watch German movies and shows to keep up with her German. She also likes to walk and bike.
Eva points out that the pandemic has forced numerous changes on HCO that may carry on well into the future. It has created an enormous need for a supply of personal protective equipment to maintain the health and safety of everyone involved with the agency. Eva also expects that technology will continue to play an important role for the organization even after the pandemic. With virtual meetings and even activities like Bingo, HCO has embraced a much larger use of technology than ever before. However, HCO’s greatest need right now is additional staff. “College students have found employment at the agency to be a wonderful, permanent job opportunity or an excellent addition to a resume,” she says. “However, fewer students returned to Winona at the start of this school year due to the pandemic.”
“HCO has the best staff around. They are hard-working and kind individuals who truly believe in HCO’s mission,” says Eva. “From the top down, everyone shares a passion to help make home life and community involvement better for many individuals.”
With such commitment, HCO will continue to meet any challenges that arise, including those that are new due the pandemic.