Jefferson Award Winner: Holly Gintz - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Jefferson Award Winner: Holly Gintz


Chippewa Falls (WQOW)- She's a writer, actor and musical talent all rolled into one. You could say Holly Gintz has multiple personalities and that's one reason why she's been named a Jefferson Award winner.

The notes that float from piano ivories are the soundtrack to a one-woman show. "I became a clown 7 years ago," says Holly Gintz. "We have this one skit, it is so funny," Holly chuckles, rifling through a printed program. It's on the stage where her words spring, or perhaps stumble, to life. "Everyone should laugh as hard as we do at ourselves," she giggles.

Smiles as bright as their moniker, The Sunbeam Clowns, are a traveling troupe visiting area nursing homes and care centers. "We discovered there are so many people in nursing homes who don't get visitors," adds Holly. "They give us hugs when we come. Some of them even ask to have paint put on their faces so they can be clowns too."

"Our residents really love it," echoes Kayla Laplante with Lake Hallie Memory Care. "It brightens their day and you can see the smiles.  I know this is not the only place she (Holly) goes to. It's a lot of work to try and organize these people."

Clowning around aside Holly Gintz, of Chippewa Falls, says she's always been driven to volunteer. "I think everyone has a gift of some kind, and you should make a difference with it," she says with a smile. "That's what it's all about."

And if you think her clown car has brakes the joke's on you. Holly has no plans to slow down. What else could you possibly expect, from a woman who at 82, decided it was time she learn a new tune? "I told my children I've done everything I've wanted to do," recalls Holly, "Except play the banjo. I was just saying that because I've been a classical pianist my whole life. But on Mother's Day they all went together and got me a banjo. So now I'm taking banjo lessons," she laughs.

During the summer months clowning becomes a family affair, Holly's grandchildren join her traveling troupe.

If you know someone who deserves a Jefferson Award click HERE to fill out a nomination form.


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