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BEST FRIEND: Donna puts her family first to move to Texas, leaving a legacy of caring and compassion behind

Donna McClurg’s family is her world, and she is willing to do anything for her husband Dave, her kids Brittany, Brianna and Garrett and her two precious granddaughters Maisie and Willow. But the thing that makes Donna such a special person is that she can make so many others feel like they’re family, too.

That’s what makes this moment so bittersweet for her students, friends and coworkers. Donna and Dave are making a big move from Wisconsin to Texas for their family to stay close to Brittany, her husband Bo and their daughters Maisie and Willow.

Their gain is a loss to everyone at or near Windsor Elementary, but especially to Adam Zook, a longtime friend who credits Donna with helping him find success in the classroom. Like so many others before him and since, Donna played a vital role in making him feel supported as both a co-worker and friend.

“She was the first person I met,” he said. “I was pretty young and wasn’t too sure about what I was doing. She showed me the ropes, took me under her wing right away, and made me feel comfortable and appreciated. She welcomed me and my family.”

Adam began his career at Windsor as an educational assistant, and he later accepted a teaching position at the same school in large part because of Donna’s loyalty and passion in the classroom. They worked hand in hand for a decade and pushed each other to install programs that challenged students and held them accountable.

Donna did the same thing for Adam, too.

“I knew that’s who I wanted to work with,” Adam said. “I knew she was going to challenge me and push me and challenge our students and hold them accountable. She went the extra mile and did whatever it took to make our kids successful. She connected with all of them, and they all connected with her. People like her just don’t come around very often.”

As their mutual respect in the classroom grew, so did the friendship between Donna and Adam and their families. Adam got to know an amazing person whose heart goes out to animals and has a quirky sense of humor. He saw first-hand how much she valued her family and how often she delivered for them in their times of need.

“Everyone goes to Donna,” Adam said. “She is 100 percent passionate about her family and doing what’s best for them. She’s always there. If I have a problem, Donna is the first person I call.”

Just as Donna is preparing to move to Texas to support her daughter and grandchildren, she moved to Africa for a year in support of Brianna. She brought that worldly wisdom into the classroom with her and shared her compassion with everyone who crossed her path.

Donna’s path now leads her to Texas where she is sure to brighten up that community, too.

Still, no matter how far she might travel or how frequently they see each other, Adam will always remember the caring friend who took him under her wing and inspired him every day. He will also never forget the impact Donna had on his career and his life.

“She’s my best friend,” he said. “She’s my rock. No matter where she is, she will always be my best friend. I’m very appreciative of our friendship.”

Donna’s friend Sara will hold onto the memories too and wish Donna and Dave luck in their next chapter:

“If she’s having a bad hair day, LOOK OUT!!! Donna and I have been friends since Brianna and Kia took the 2’s class at Badger together. We became instant bestest friends. We ended up working at Badger together. We had great times there. Our kids grew up together, we spent time at the cabin, went to the movies, but I would say the best time we ever had was when we went to Orlando together. The Comedy Club and that’s ALL I’ll say. We think alike, yell at Dave the same way, love adventures, the outdoors. We have supported each other through everything. It’s what good friends do. I don’t care how far apart, how far a friend goes, true friends are in each other’s soul. I wish them good luck on their amazing new adventure.”