Uniquely Wisconsin: Washington County – Part 1

Hailey Rose

June 16, 2023

Photo Credit: Discover Mediaworks

Washington County is all about community, which makes it a truly special place. Home to the Habermans–a resilient family appreciative of their supportive community, Jordan Stolz–world champion and Olympic speed skater, and Jim Barnes–the music man of Germantown, it’s a county like none other. Follow along to hear the unforgettable stories of Washington County’s very own local Wisconsinites.

Building Up Our Community: 9/11 Memorial

Photo Credit: Discover Mediaworks

Sept. 11, 2001, was one of the darkest days in our nation’s history. After tragically losing their daughter, Andrea, on that day while on a business trip to New York, Gordon and Kathy Haberman, along with their daughter, Julie, decided to make something positive out of their grief. Their idea was to create a place where the lives lost on that tragic day were not forgotten.

The family has worked tirelessly to remember their daughter and all those lost. Because of their work, vision and incredible community involvement, they were able to create Wisconsin’s officially recognized 9/11 Memorial in Kewaskum in Washington County.

Today, it is a space where people can not only learn about that day but also feel a sense of pride in the strength and resilience of American citizens.

Watch this Uniquely Wisconsin short here: 

World Champion & Olympic Speed Skater: Jordan Stolz

Photo Credit: Discover Mediaworks

Eric Heiden. Bonnie Blair. Dan Jansen. Iconic Olympians and beloved sons and daughter of Wisconsin. Add to this impressive list 18-year-old Jordan Stolz, who has trained for the ice ribbon since he was five years old and today is catapulting to the top of the speedskating world.

In March of 2023, Stolz became the first man and the youngest to win three individual gold medals at the World Speed Skating Championship in the 1500m, the 1000m and 500.

Growing up in Washington County and specifically in Kewaskum, Stolz grew up with a strong interest in skating. With a family that supported him and a community that cheers him on, his path to the top has been years in the making.

In 2022, Stolz attended the Calgary World Cup where he won three medals and claimed two records. At just 18, he broke the junior world and American records in the men’s 500-meter where he won the silver medal, just .01 behind the gold medal. On top of that, Stolz also became the youngest man to win an individual World Cup speed skating race in history! He won the 1500m in just one minute, 44.891 seconds.

All of his accomplishments, paired with his performance at the Winter Olympics in 2022 and most recently at Worlds, have positioned Jordan for an incredibly bright future.

Watch this Uniquely Wisconsin short here: 

Rocking Retirement: The Music Man of Germantown

Photo Credit: Discover Mediaworks

Plato once said, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”  For Jim Barnes, no truer words have ever been spoken. He has brought his rhythm to Washington County since 1987. He was the band director for Germantown High School and left a big impact on his students. And in his retirement, he continues to make a difference, creating numerous bands and impacting area musicians with whom he’s worked. Jim has created a chosen family with his bandmates, and he is well-known and well loved. His willingness to lead has built an incredible community of musicians in Washington County.

“One of the greatest things I can do is find that 40-or-50-year-old adult whose instrument is in a closet for 20-or-30 years and find that sense of belonging in a band and make music once again,” said Barnes.

Whatever point in their journey, Barnes is there to cheer on his friends and recognizes the role music plays.

“It’s quite an honor to witness how individuals go from the beginning levels to where music becomes such an important part of their lives,” said Barnes. “Music binds us together, no matter what kind of group you have, whether a Dixieland group or a high school band or rock band, it’s a family.”

Watch this Uniquely Wisconsin short here: 

Washington County, and its community, are noteworthy and like none other. With a resilient family like the Habermans, an amazing Olympic speed skater like Jordan Stolz, and magnificent musician like Jim Barnes, Washington County is truly one-of-a-kind. 

Want to learn more about Washington County? Watch these full Discover Wisconsin special episodes ‘Uniquely Wisconsin: Beginnings & Endings’ and ‘Uniquely Wisconsin: Heart & Soul’ now:

*Narration provided by Wondervox.

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