Darcy Oligney has been named grand marshal for the 2015 Iola Winter Carnival.
He was selected for this honor because of his years of involvement with the Iola Winter Sports Club (IWSC).
In addition to being a member of the IWSC, Oligney is involved in his community.
He is a member of the Iola & Rural Fire Department and Ambulance Service and has been an EMT since he joined in 1992.
He served in the officer position of assistant chief-ambulance for the last eight years and as ambulance lieutenant for two years prior.
Oligney became a firefighter in the department in 2000. His decision to serve as a firefighter was influenced by the Father’s Day Fire, which destroyed a large part of downtown Iola in June of 1999.
He has been a member of the Northwest First Responder group for the last 23 years.
“You do it because you want to give back to the community,” he said of his EMT/firefighter service.
Oligney is also a member of the Northland Lutheran Church and has served on the church council.
As a longtime member of the Iola Winter Sports Club, he believes winter sports are an important part of the Iola community.
Oligney and his family spent many years ski jumping, cross country skiing and helping to maintain the IWSC complex.
“The IWSC provides a place to enjoy outdoor activities year-round, close by and in the community,” he said. “Getting outdoors in the winter helps keep people active and physically fit.”
Oligney served on the IWSC board for many years, including serving as the club’s president for 11 years.
He was instrumental in acquiring more land for trails and establishing an affiliation with the Ice Age Trail (IAT). According to Oligney, this alliance included the IAT purchasing the right-of-way for land they were using, which provided the funds for IWSC to acquire more land.
Currently, the Iola Winter Sports Club provides ski jumps ranging from K5 to K60, and 11 miles of trails, including four miles of lit trails.
Oligney noted that the cross country trails generate money to support the club’s facilities. The members help maintain the trails.
“We have an excellent membership base, with members from throughout many counties in Central Wisconsin,” he said. “People come from all over the state to ski here.”
There is plastic on two of the jumps, K5 and K30, which allows for summer ski jumping. In the winter, Oligney said it takes a lot of work to groom the hills and prepare the jumps.
“It is easier in the summer,” he said. “You just turn on the water and go.”
Oligney loves living in the Iola area because it is a small community that offers so much, including outdoor activities and a great school district.
“You know more of what’s going on in a smaller community,” he said. “And the school district is always highly rated.”
He graduated from Iola-Scandinavia High School in 1984, then attended Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton and graduated with an associate’s degree in diesel mechanics.
He worked four years at Scaffidi Truck Center in Stevens Point, and has since been working in vehicle maintenance at Waupaca Foundry.
“I love what I do,” Oligney said.
He and his wife Mary have been married for 23 years and have two children.
Their son Neil is a senior pursuing a degree in physics at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Their daughter Natalie is a junior majoring in education and Spanish at UW-La Crosse.