Ryan John Crain, Sr. receives a Rising Stars Under 40 award

By Ardith Van Riper

     The River Valley Media Group and The 7 Rivers Alliance selected 28 recipients from three states as the 2020 Rising Stars Under 40.  The Rising Stars is a program recognizing and celebrating rising stars’ achievements and encouraging them to remain in the region.  This year, Ho-Chunk Nation tribal member and motivational speaker Ryan John Crain, Sr., of Sparta, received an award.

     Honorees were chosen through an independent judging process.  Nominees must be younger than 40 on September 1, 2020, and work in the 7 Rivers Region, which includes the following Wisconsin counties: La Crosse, Vernon, Monroe, Jackson, Trempealeau, Buffalo, Juneau, Crawford, and Pepin; the following Minnesota counties: Winona, Houston, and Fillmore; and the following Iowa counties: Winneshiek or Allamakee.

     The winners were announced in a virtual ceremony with stories, photos, and videos on www.lacrossetribune.com

     The 7 Rivers Alliance website describes Ryan John Crain, Sr., “Sometimes it seems like life gives us more than we can handle, but don’t tell that to Ryan John. 

     “He grew up with his father in prison and lived in and out of foster care because of instability, alcohol abuse and fighting at home.  Both his parents died of cancer and he had facial reconstructive surgery twice after a brutal beating from a stranger. 

     “But Ryan John found his calling while a student at UW-La Crosse, creating the bylaws for Lambda Chi Alpha and adding a clause that has led to over 500+ hours of community service in the 7 Rivers Region.  He enjoys motivational speaking for at risk youth because he had some great mentors who have believed in him.  He tells others to find those mentors and learn from them…”

     In a video where Ryan John and his infant son appeared, Mr. Crain acknowledged, “We’d like to thank the 7 Rivers Alliance for all they do in our communities. 

     “We want to thank Dr. Lewis.  He nominated us for this award. 

     “As well, we’d like to thank my wife, Cassidee.  She is my inspiration.  She allows me to get out in the community as much as I do, and I honestly think she is more deserving of an award like this than I am…” 

     Ryan John Crain, Sr., was recently added to the Trust and Investment Committee.