A woman in love with the lakes, sand, cities and people of Michigan, Joan is proud to say she's been a resident of Michigan for 41 years. She was born and raised in Minnesota, attended high school in Ohio and then moved to Michigan. It was here she raised her family, got involved in many kinds of volunteer endeavors, completed her college degrees, and started her career.
Joan has been married to Dave Brausch since they moved to Michigan in 1971. They are the proud parents of two adult children and have three grandchildren in whom they take great pride.
After marriage, Joan became involved in many volunteer activities at church and in the community: Girl Scouting, recycling, Vacation Bible School and more. As her children got older, she realized that she wanted to return to college to complete her degree work. She commuted to Madonna University in Livonia for two and a half years to complete a B.A. in Religious Studies in 1985. She then commuted to St. John's Provincial Seminary in Plymouth, MI, for another two and a half years to complete a Master's Degree in Theological Studies in 1989. Getting those two degrees and traveling all those miles are two of the accomplishments of which she is most proud and has always been so grateful for her family's support during those years.
In 1989, she was hired as Director of Worship for her home parish and worked in that position for nine years. After a hiatus of two years, she came back to Blessed Sacrament, her home parish, as Director of Adult Faith Formation, and worked another nine years. In these two positions, Joan used her talents to teach, to preach, to organize events both large and small. She coordinated groups, lead committees, acted as an advocate within the church and raised awareness on justice in the church community. She was the chairperson of the parish Social Awareness Committee for nine years and as chairperson created a bi-monthly newsletter for the church bulletin which educated the community about various issues: local, national and global. She and other members of the committee created the ‘Alternative Bazaar’, an annual holiday event, in which the vendors would be various charities and groups that could sell their merchandise or raise funds through gift certificates. It has been a tremendous success.
Passionate about her country, Joan has always believed that ‘those who get involved make the difference.’ She has served her local community as a member of the City of Midland Local Officers Compensation Board, 2006-2011. Joan has been involved politically over the years, working in a number of presidential, gubernatorial and local campaigns. She has been a member of the Midland County Democrats for over 20 years. She has served as a Precinct delegate and most recently has been a member of the Executive Committee for the Midland Democratic Party and second Vice Chair. She also, over the years, served as a precinct delegate, a poll watcher and an election official.
During the 1980s and 1990s, Joan became more involved in social justice issues in the larger community: hunger, poverty, peace, oppression and prejudice. She became aware of the poverty in the county and city of Midland, and efforts that were being made to address it. Her involvement in these issues became more intense after 9/11. She coordinated Midland Citizens for Peace for six years as they both educated the public about and protested the war in Iraq. She organized and recruited folks for the American Dream group in Midland this past summer and fall, which was great fun because it was a group that was very eclectic – people of all parties and backgrounds, who simply wanted to have a better country for everyone. At the end of October, Joan left the group which then merged with a Tri-County Occupy group.