Welcome Betsy Wandtke – American Red Cross Major Gifts Officer

As one of the newest members of the American Red Cross team, I am thrilled about the people I’m meeting and the challenge ahead of me.  Being a Major Gifts Officer for such an important organization is going to be extremely exciting and fun!

My background is varied (to put it mildly).  I’ve been blessed to have the support I needed to try whatever I wanted.  The thing I realized is that I’ve always wanted to help people.  I guess it’s in my genetics.

Oshkosh is where I was born and raised. When I went to UW-Oshkosh, I studied Karate for fun and taught women’s self-defense at night.  I left school a couple of years later to get married and start two businesses with my husband.  As if having two stepsons wasn’t enough to handle, I joined the First Responder Team, became the Captain and joined the Volunteer Fire Department.

I was also raising money for the “Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation”.  After about ten years of that, I joined the organization as a “Senior Development Officer” for a five-state area (the Midwest).  I met the greatest people and had such a good time raising money – sometimes on the back of a mule or standing in a trout stream with a fly rod in my hand.  That’s when I realized that raising money doesn’t have to happen in a board room.

I left there and followed my other passion – emergency care.  I worked as a trauma EMT in Wausau at “Aspirus Hospital” for several years.  I loved the Emergency Room and the camaraderie.  I really felt like I was making a difference.  During my time there, I was in a position to donate a kidney to my Mom.  I found out that the hospital didn’t have insurance to cover lost wages for organ donation…they do now.  It was great working with them to change the policy.

A few years later I was offered a position as the Director of Operations for “Weatherby Foundation International”.  I jumped at the opportunity. We gave grants to get kids in the outdoors.  I did a total reorganization of the organization and enhanced their yearly, black-tie gala so it was making money.  I’m happy to say that WFI was operating smoothly when I left.

I had a chance to go to Cheyenne to be the Executive Director of “Wyoming Wildlife – The Foundation” while they went through a big transition. The consolidation took about three months.  That’s when I decided that my priorities had changed.  I missed Wisconsin, my family and the Midwest way of life.  I came home

I am still involved in outdoor sports, like hunting and fishing.  I am a First Responder for the Town of Algoma now.  I love where I am and where my life is headed!

I am humbled by the ARC volunteers and employees that give so much.  I am honored to be on the team.   My health and emergency services involvement, along with my fundraising experience will play an important part in what I do here. Everything I’ve done in my past has brought me here.

And “at this moment in time, life doesn’t get any better”!

One Response

  1. Congratulations and HUGE WELCOME, Betsy! Look forward to meeting you soon!! Vicki Jenks

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