Ceremony honors Marie Lewis as she begins her retirement

By Ken Luchterhand

After a lifetime of working for the Ho-Chunk Nation, Marie Lewis has decided to retire.
A retirement party for her was held Tuesday, March 21, in the Tribal Office Building atrium.
Taking the podium, Personnel Executive Director Carol Garvin offered a few words of appreciation for Marie’s service to the Nation.
Her most recent job as an Elder Insurance Manager, Marie worked with elders to obtain the correct health insurance to ensure their claims are properly handled. Before that, Marie was the Tribal Aging Unit director.
“Marie might be retiring from working with the Nation, but she is not retiring as a Ho-Chunk member. She is active in the community. She supports family and Ho-Chunk members in their endeavors,” Garvin said. “She’s a role model for everyone.”
Since she made known her plans for retirement, she has been training the person who will take her position, Tanya Kessen.
Then, Marie’s grandson Marcus Lewis took the podium and told the audience that he was raised by her. He said he appreciated her kindness and the fact that she is always caring for people.
Marie has worked in many positions with the Nation, including in the Education Department, with Four Winds Insurance (the name used years ago), with the Tribal Aging Unit and now with Insurance, he said.
“Throughout all these jobs, her theme has been trying to help people out,” Marcus said.
When his Choka was sick, Marie took care of him, even missing time from work to do so, even though she doesn’t like to miss work, Marcus said.
After her husband died, she would visit the elderly Ho-Chunk people in the nursing home. Throughout her adult life, she has been taking care of people, he said. Right now, she has custody of four children who aren’t related to her.
“She believes that it is important for people to attend school, she’s a real believer and lover of God. She’s strong spiritually and knows how to treat people with love and respect,” Marcus said.
While the Nation may be losing a valuable employee, the Ho-Chunk community is gaining a member, he said.
Lewis and Garvin presented her with a Pendleton blanket and the drum group sang her an honor song. A meal and cake were offered to everyone present.