Nominations sought to honor volunteers in the Fox Valley

Jan. 5, 2013

How to nominate

Nominees for “Celebrating Our Volunteers” awards must reside in or do the majority of their volunteer work in Calumet, Outagamie, Waupaca or northern Winnebago counties. Online nomination forms and a listing of the eight awards and their descriptions are available at The nomination deadline is Feb. 11. Winners must be able to attend the April 23 awards banquet. For questions about the nomination process, call Melissa Scherer at 920-993-1000, ext. 387.

If you go

What: Celebrating Our Volunteers 2013
When: April 23; reception at 5:15 p.m., dinner and awards program at 6 p.m.
Where: Radisson Paper Valley Hotel, downtown Appleton
Cost: $30 per person; $300 per table of 10. Register by April 16 by calling 920-830-1290. To register online, go to

Awards at a glance

Youth Scholarship Award
The Youth Scholarship Award honors a high school student who shows exceptional leadership in promoting volunteerism. The award, which is sponsored by Community First Credit Union, can be earned for a single volunteer act or several volunteer efforts.
The winner receives a $1,500 scholarship and $1,000 to benefit his or her Fox Valley charity of choice.
Recipients of the following awards each receive $5,000 to benefit their Fox Valley charity of choice.
Paul & Elaine Groth Mentoring Award
The Paul & Elaine Groth Mentoring Award, sponsored by the Mielke Family Foundation Inc., recognizes an individual or group that has served as a mentor in the community over time and has, by example, made meaningful contributions to the quality of life in the Fox Cities.
Health Care Volunteer Award
The Health Care Volunteer Award, sponsored by Affinity Health System and ThedaCare, recognizes a Fox Cities individual or group for a commitment to improving the health and well-being of others through volunteerism.
Daniel P. Spalding Volunteer Educator Award
The Daniel P. Spalding Volunteer Educator Award honors an individual or group with a history of dedication to education. The award, sponsored by School Specialty Inc., goes to a volunteer or volunteers currently working with pre-K-12 students in a creative program. Other characteristics include an evident passion for education and the ability to work in the best interest of students and teachers. School Specialty renamed the award, originally called the Volunteer Educator Award, in 2003. The change is a memorial tribute to Dan Spalding, former chairman and CEO of School Specialty, who died of a heart attack at age 47 in the spring of 2002. Spalding was described as the “ultimate education volunteer.”
Hanns Kretzschmar Award for Excellence in the Arts
The Hanns Kretzschmar Award for Excellence in the Arts recognizes an individual or organization for leadership and volunteer service in local arts organizations and activities; for long-standing commitment to the local arts community; and for noteworthy personal involvement in developing and promoting arts within the community. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans sponsors the award.
Business Partnership of the Year Award
The Business Partnership of the Year Award, sponsored by Secura Insurance Companies, is presented to a business and a nonprofit for promoting, encouraging and supporting volunteerism and collaboration. The recipient organizations are outstanding examples of how a company, a nonprofit and their employees work together for the benefit of both organizations.
Janet Berry Volunteer of the Year Award
The Janet Berry Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes an individual or a couple for exemplary volunteerism through a single act, or a number of acts, that have made our community a better place in which to live. The award, which predates the Celebrating Our Volunteers event and is sponsored by The Post-Crescent, honors the late Janet Berry, who contributed many hours of volunteer service to the community despite a disability that kept her homebound for most of her life.
Walter L. Rugland Community Service Award
The Walter L. Rugland Community Service Award recognizes an individual who has positively impacted the quality of life in the Fox Cities through his or her leadership influence, long-standing commitment and enthusiasm and personal and professional volunteer service to diverse organizations in the community. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans sponsors the award.


The Fox Valley community would not be what it is without the commitment, caring, creativity and concern of its many volunteers.

To thank those who think of and provide for the needs of others without expecting anything in return, the annual Celebrating Our Volunteers event each spring honors a selection of volunteers and highlights their stories.

The nomination process opens today for the 16th annual Celebrating Our Volunteers event, which takes place April 23 at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in downtown Appleton. Anyone can nominate outstanding volunteers in eight award categories. The award nomination deadline is Feb. 11.

“I am encouraged to live in a region that seems to have an endless group of very deserving honorees,” said Curt Detjen, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region Inc., which co-sponsors the event with The Post-Crescent.

“Every year we have so many deserving nominees. Each story is unique and impressive, and inspires the rest of us to do more.”

Detjen said the award categories are diverse.

“Some honor individuals for their volunteerism and impact over an extended period of time, while others will recognize outstanding single acts of volunteerism,” he said. “The nomination form is simple and online — and none of this is possible without people taking a few moments to act.”

The awards acknowledge volunteers’ contributions to community service, health care, youth leadership, mentoring, the arts, education and business-nonprofit partnerships. The Janet Berry Volunteer of the Year Award, which The P-C sponsors, recognizes a person or a couple for an act or multiple acts of exemplary volunteerism.

Honorees each receive $5,000 to benefit the Fox Valley charity of their choice, with the exception of one youth award winner. The Youth Scholarship Award winner earns a $1,500 college scholarship and $1,000 for a Fox Valley charity.

“The COV event is one of the coolest, most interesting and most uplifting nights of the year in the Fox Cities,” said Dan Flannery, The P-C’s executive editor. “But the selection of the honorees, by a collection of the area’s leadership organizations, is one of the most humbling experiences, too.

“When we go through the dozens of nominations for the Janet Berry Award, for example, I’m always struck by the overwhelming amount of goodness and kind works that occurs in our community on a daily basis. Choosing one that stands above the rest is always a difficult and challenging process, but ultimately, it’s a process that confirms our feelings about community.”

The deadline to register to attend the event is April 16. Admission costs $30 per person or $300 per table of 10.

“It is important that our community has the opportunity to recognize these outstanding people, not that they are looking for the attention, rather because they are not, and their stories help to define our community and inspire each of us to do all we can do to make our own difference,” Detjen said.

— Kara Patterson: 920-993-1000, ext. 215, or; on Twitter @KaraNPatterson

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