By Steve Jagler Special to Published Dec 15, 2006 at 8:03 AM
They say the holidays are a time for giving thanks. Actually, that comes quite easily here at Small Business Times.

We are fortunate to be the messengers of two incredible, inspirational editorial projects each December.

The first is the SBT Health Care Heroes Awards program, which was held Dec. 7. If you missed it, here's some advice for 2007: Be there. You'll walk out of there feeling a little better about yourself and humanity in general.

The program honors ordinary people doing extraordinary things on the front lines of health care in the Milwaukee area.

At some point in our lives, each of us needs a Health Care Hero. Maybe it's a therapist who helps us recover from a medical condition. Maybe it's a nurse who goes above and beyond the call to provide comfort for a sick child or a dying senior citizen. Maybe it's a medical staff person or a volunteer who makes our hospital stay tolerable. Maybe it's a doctor whose research leads to new treatments that save or extend our lives.

The Health Care Heroes provide living proof that one person can make a difference in this world, and their stories are inspirational.

The second project that puts us in the Christmas spirit here at SBT is our special report on Executive Health, Wellness & Fitness. The report has become an annual holiday tradition for us, as we share the stories of local business executives who have overcome or are overcoming various medical ailments.

The executives profiled in this year's special report include: The Paranet Group Inc. president Linda Kiedrowski, who has survived a bout with breast cancer; Pabst Farms Equity Ventures LLC president Bronson Haase, who overcame prostate cancer; Wisconsin Health & Fitness Centers owner Jeff Littman, who was in a coma for seven days and nearly died in a bicycling accident; Legacy Bank co-founder Margaret Henningsen, who needed surgery to help her cope with degenerative spinal arthritis; and Columbia St. Mary's Hospital chief operating officer Therese Pandl, who underwent double hip replacement.

Just like their businesses, their physical ailments were different. However, their stories have some common threads. For one, at some point, they needed to let go and put their fates in the hands of a higher power. They also needed to let go and delegate some of their professional duties to others.

And on the other end of the tunnel, they now have profound appreciation for the little things. The little things that matter at the end of the day. The little things that matter at the end of a life.

I hope you find as much inspiration in reading their stories as we found in writing them.

To all of our readers at, merry Christmas from Small Business Times, and here's wishing you a peaceful, healthy and prosperous 2007.
Steve Jagler Special to

Steve Jagler is executive editor of BizTimes in Milwaukee and is past president of the Milwaukee Press Club. BizTimes provides news and operational insight for the owners and managers of privately held companies throughout southeastern Wisconsin.

Steve has won several journalism awards as a reporter, a columnist and an editor. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

When he is not pursuing the news, Steve enjoys spending time with his wife, Kristi, and their two sons, Justin and James. Steve can be reached at