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Perspectives

Big City Guy Learns About Small-Town Friendliness

NameWesley Escondo
Family: Spouse, Jessica; stepdaughter, Jannelise (15); sons Zachary (5) and Matthew “MJ” (3).
Neighborhood: Grover Heights, Eau Claire

Background 

Originally from the Chicago suburbs, Wesley Escondo moved to the Chippewa Valley in 2012 to become CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Wisconsin. When asked if he made the right choice in moving to the Chippewa Valley, Wesley gives a resounding “yes” and offers this story: When he first relocated, he stayed briefly in Chetek, where one day while getting coffee at Kwik Trip he was “graciously greeted” by a woman in her 70s or 80s. “With a warm smile, she said, ‘Good morning, how are you doing?’ ” he recalls. “I smiled back, said ‘How are you doing?’ and went on my way to get my cup of House Blend Karuba Gold. In the moment that I was about to walk past her, she grabbed my arm and said, ‘Son, I asked you a question.’ Holy smokes, this person literally wanted to know how I was doing this morning!” This genuine interest from a stranger made an impression. “I still count the number of people that say hello or good morning each day,” he adds. “Even after seven years, I still get a warm feeling of the general kindness that exists in this part of the state.”

In addition to his duties at Big Brothers Big Sisters, Wesley chairs the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force at the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce, serves on on the board of Group Health Cooperative, and finds other ways to volunteer. When it comes to family time, you’ll find him with his kids at Carson Park, scarfing down Ramone’s ice cream, or going on other “Dadventures.”

I love the Chippewa Valley...

...for a variety of reasons, but the most compelling is the warmth and welcoming nature that this community has extended to myself and my family. The relationships we have built here are undoubtedly ones that will last a lifetime. I also love the Chippewa Valley for the overwhelming creativity that resonates around here. Whether it be food, music, or art, there is no shortage of creative expression that in turn inspires me in my everyday life.

I couldn’t live without...

...my children and the pride they afford me in being their dad! (And the vanilla ice cream at Ramone’s, but please don’t show my primary physician this answer.)

I make sure to never miss...

...an opportunity to make a funny social media video for Big Brothers Big Sisters.

My favorite place to take the kids is...

...Express Baseball games at Carson Park. They do such a good job creating a family-focused experience.

My family has taught me...

...that the most valuable things in my life are relationships and experiences.

I never leave the house without...

...checking that the garage is closed … twice.

Our typical weekend is...

...exploring the Chippewa Valley and beyond. I call it “Dadventures.”

In the fall, you’ll find us...

...at one of the region’s parks getting our walk or bike on.

When the kids are with a sitter...

...I love to catch up with friends.

My friends laugh at me because...

...I am obsessed with accents. I often practice my British or Russian accent on my friends.  

If I had one super power...

... it would be reciting lines from funny movies.

My kids will tell you that their dad is...

...funny and makes the best forts!

If I could pass on one bit of advice...

...it would be 90% of humanity is great and only 10% is bad. So, spend 90% of your time and effort celebrating the part that is great and the other 10% ... golfing!


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