New equipment donated for Hoffman Hall pool in memory of local man

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Six new benches made of recyclables now grace the pool deck at Hoffman Hall, thanks to a generous donation in memory of the late Jim Coorough, who passed away last August. A basketball hoop and volleyball nets for the pool were also purchased with the donation, and the remainder of the $6,000 gift has been added to the Hoffman Hall Improvement Fund. Pictured is Jim’s wife, Pat, along with Parks and Rec Director Mike Ulrich and Instructor/Lifeguard Suzette Cunningham. (Photo by Correne Martin)

By Correne Martin

The state-of-the-art pool at Hoffman Hall recently received a few new additions, thanks to a donation in memory of the late Jim Coorough, a native of Prairie du Chien, an Army veteran and a retired Wolf Machine Shop machinist. Jim and his wife, Pat, have been active members of Hoffman Hall for years. After his passing in August 2014, Pat and the Coorough children contributed a memorial of almost $6,000 so that six benches, a basketball hoop and volleyball nets could be purchased for use in the pool area. A portion of the gift has been placed in the Hoffman Hall Improvement Fund as well.

“The pool was more or less our entertainment,” Pat stated. “We came nearly every day. We met a lot of good friends.”

Both Jim and Pat were great proponents of the Hoffman Hall Improvement Campaign since it began in the late-2000s, never missing a meeting regarding the renovation efforts. They actually started utilizing the facility a number of decades ago, back when it was still the Campion School. “It was part of the community,” Pat said. “The kids could come in and use it on Sunday nights and usually one night during the week.”

In their older years, the Cooroughs became avid participants in the daily water aerobics programs offered at Hoffman Hall. While the exercise helped to keep them physically fit, it was the socialization that they relished in the most.

“I like the social part of it. It’s a very caring group; everyone looks out for everyone,” Pat noted.

According to Suzette Cunningham, aerobics instructor and lifeguard at Hoffman Hall, anywhere from just a few to as many as 30 people attend water aerobics classes.

“We have a good time,” Cunningham said. “Jim loved it. He was such a character, he laughed all the time and he loved to tease and torment.”

After some health issues started causing Jim difficulty in getting around in recent years, he didn’t let that stop him from making it to Hoffman Hall.

“By the time I’d get home from walking every morning, he was ready to go to the pool,” Pat remembered with a smile.

In addition to pool activities, the Cooroughs also enjoyed potluck parties at the hall. It was another opportunity to socialize with people in the community.

Because they strongly appreciated all that Hoffman Hall has offered them, when Jim passed away, Pat and her family discussed what kind of a memorial could be done in his name. When they settled on Hoffman Hall (as well as Holy Family Parish), they contacted Prairie du Chien Parks and Recreation Director Mike Ulrich to see where they could help, particularly considering pool amenities.

“We sat down and thought about the things at the pool that we needed and that we could use,” Ulrich said. “The benches replaced some pretty old, worn-out outdoor chairs.”

Cunningham added: “The basketball hoop was in pitiful condition and the nets were not very useful. The new ones are pretty high class.”

Ulrich pointed out that all of the donated items can be used both for open swims and classes. Pat herself has enjoyed using the volleyball net in the pool.

“It’s a lot of fun,” she said, noting that Jim would have been proud to see the new equipment. “I’m just sorry more people from Prairie du Chien don’t use this place. We’ve loved it. They’re missing out if they don’t join. There’s always room for more.”

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