Faith Over Fear



“Seek the Lord, He answers your prayers and calms your fears.”

These are the words that brought John Zingsheim peace as he battled complications from COVID-19 that were threatening his life in the fall of 2021.

He recalls waking up in the hospital bed scared, confused and unable to move.

“I was in a coma for two months and on a ventilator for 100 days,” John explains. “I felt helpless.”

John was known as a family man who enjoyed hunting and being active outdoors. But after waking up from his coma, he had to accept a new reality.

Upon his release from the hospital, John struggled to rehabilitate due to Long COVID symptoms, making it impossible for him to go back to work. With few options and his financial burden growing heavy, John didn’t know what to do. But he drew strength from the same words: “Seek the Lord, He answers your prayers and calms your fears.”

God had a plan for John—and He was about to reveal it through the generosity of others.

Meet Rita and Dan

Those acquainted with Rita and Dan Fellenz know they have big hearts for helping others. As leaders of Chapter 279 of Hartford and St. Lawrence, WI, they saw John’s need and were determined to help make a difference.

Along with volunteers from Chapter 279, they planned and hosted a fundraiser at the Addison Town Hall in Allenton, WI, which included a pancake breakfast, silent auction and bake sale.

Flyers were distributed throughout the town and the event was shared on Facebook to spread the word. “I was hopeful, but had no expectations (of the turnout),” says John.

No one was prepared for the outpouring of support John received.

The Community Responds

On May 7, 2023, hundreds of people from the community came to the event to support John.

“People just kept showing up!” Rita said. About 400 people attended the fundraiser and took time to meet and encourage John.

“Many people made generous donations and overbid on silent auction items,” Rita said. “Even a local

restaurant where John’s daughter works closed that morning and encouraged people to support the fundraiser.

By the end of the day, the chapter raised nearly $11,000—Catholic Financial Life provided a $1,000 donation through the Match Fund Program.

“A special thanks to all who donated, helped and attended this event to make it special for John,” Rita said. She and Dan will be stepping down after leading Chapter 279 and serving for 30 years.

The incredible support touched John and his family. “Every day is a blessing,” John said. “I’m thankful to everyone and to my family for their love and support.”

“I’m thankful to everyone and to my family for their love and support.”

Tagged: Faith Family Giving

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