Barry Hafer and his wife, Michelle, are enjoying their third year in Antigo, with Barry Hafer serving as president of Amron and president of the local Rotary Club.
Amron is a division of AMTEC Corporation and a National Defense Corp Company. Amron is a world leader in the production of medium caliber ammunition cartridge cases and associated precision metal parts for the U.S. Department of Defense and allied international partners.
Rotary Club is like a hidden gem that needs to be seen more in the light, Hafer said.
“Our local club has done many, many park projects, trails, sledding hill, and last year was a Boys and Girls Club playground and upgrade project. Every year we also support most of the charitable organizations wherever there is a need such as the food pantry during the shutdown,” he said. “We raise money primarily through The Kids from Wisconsin, which unfortunately we’ll miss two fund raisers due to the extended COVID-19 impact.”
Antigo Rotary’s other big impact is through the Rotary Youth Exchange program.
“During the COVID-19 shutdown periods, we took advantage during our weekly virtual lunch by reconnecting virtually with many of the 55-plus international exchange students sponsored by our club over the years,” Hafer said. “It has really been motivating to hear from these now adults, as with very few exceptions, their experience living in Antigo through Rotary has helped make them extremely successful professionals with a significant international maturity.
“One former student was living in Rome working I believe for the World Food Program providing support to countries in need, and recently she received a great job working for the UN in NY. Our club knew them as former high school kids, and now most are doing great things. We’d like to believe that Rotary played a part.”
Hafer was born in Corning, N.Y., and grew up there in the Upstate and Western Finger Lakes region.
“Moving to Antigo was an easy decision as it reminded me of home with the culture, seasons and beautiful area,” he said. “My wife and I moved here from Tallahassee, Florida, because that’s what people do right? Retire to Wisconsin?”
Amron is the underlying reason for moving to Antigo, but the country made it an easy one for a couple of former Upstate New Yorkers, said Hafer, who earned a bachelor of science in chemistry from the State University of NY at Brockport.
“Michelle and I together, as a loyal Army wife, finished 26 years total service, retiring from the National Guard a few years back, so the Army was almost completely our other life outside of my day career,” Hafer said. “Now that we are empty nesters and retired from the Guard, we are heavily focused on grandkids and redeveloping a few hobbies we never had time for. We are always happy to volunteer to support good causes and will always support people in need.”
Hafer originally joined Rotary when he worked for Honeywell in East Texas.
“Although we did lots of good deeds, the club was the hub for the county and almost all leaders from the sheriff, school principal, churches, banks, businesses, chamber, media, etc., were all members which made it a great organization for collaboration, and of course, socializing.”
What is your favorite book or author?
“I’m not too sure that it is intellectually stimulating, but I really enjoy W.E.B. Griffin, who is a historical fiction writer, heavy on the military. I’ve read his main series ‘The Brotherhood of War Series,’ ‘The Corps Series’ and even the newer ‘Presidential Agent Series’ which is a modern, global war on terrorism type series.”
What picture is on your cell phone lock screen, and what is the story behind it?
“Our oldest grandson is my cell phone lock screen standing in the mountains outside of Las Vegas. Being good grandparents, we took our grandson to Vegas for Thanksgiving when his little sister was about to be born. That’s good, right? Actually, it was a great trip for an inquisitive kid, and we never set foot in a casino. We spent the whole week in the museums, the shark aquarium, the Body Exhibit and, of course, we needed to go hiking in the Vegas foothills.”
What is the next major community project for the Antigo Rotary Club?
“As we are short on resources without our annual fund raiser, we do not have a specific project this year other than completing the Boys and Girls Club upgrade. We are volunteering to help the Lions Club with the AMSOIL Championship Off-Road races at the Langlade County Fairgrounds the 5th and 6th of June, so we are hoping to make a team impact at this great Langlade County/Antigo event”
Why should someone consider joining Rotary?
“Our Antigo Rotary Club is small, but impactful, and we have great members with decades of giving and dozens of Paul Harris Fellows. We always try to make one big impact to our community every year, and every year we try to impact our youths by sending Antigo kids to cool, exciting countries for a year, and then we impact Antigo High School kids here by bringing international exchange students here for them to learn and grow with together for a year. We can’t tell you how many say mac and cheese is the best dish they remember with some good ole Wisconsin cheese.
“Just by being a member of Rotary, also, you get to have lunch with community leaders and friends every week listening to programs and what’s going on in our community. Our minor dues get rolled up to support the larger Rotary mission providing service to others, promote integrity, advance world understanding, goodwill and peace through our fellowship. As we always, seek to attract young new members, participating on boards and project committees through membership can also help with professional experience and giving which is always a positive career note, not to mention being a great source for professional and personal relationships.”
What was your favorite childhood toy?
“An Evil Knievel stunt cycle was my favorite toy, and I have the scars and broken bones to prove it.
Do you have a favorite quote or inspirational message?
“My lovely bride gave me a list of wise quotes when we got married called “Food for Thought,” which has about 20 inspirational quotes that I have in my office today. After about 20 years of marriage, she did give me another quote that says, “A successful man makes more than his wife can spend. And a successful woman has found such a man!” Laughter is, of course, the best medicine for a relationship.”