Red Cross Honors Volunteers at Annual Celebration of Support

The Northeast Wisconsin Chapter celebrates its life-saving mission by recognizing volunteers and donors alike.

November 16, 2011 – Last night, American Red Cross volunteers and community partners were honored with service awards at the annual Celebration of Support. The American Red Cross is driven by volunteers to provide relief to victims of disaster and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. The Celebration of Support is one way to thank and honor volunteers for their contributions down the street, across the country and around the world.

Bemis Corporation received our Community Partnership Award and special certificate signed by American Red Cross CEO, Gail McGovern, for their support of the American Red Cross' aid to the victims of the Joplin, MO tornado.

Setting the stage for the evening was a first hand account of the killer tornado which hit Joplin, Missouri earlier this year. Although 900 tornadoes touched down in April, this one storm was responsible for hundreds of lost lives – yet the response and on-going recovery is a message of strength. Sharing a Fox Valley perspective was Bill Austen, from the Bemis Company Foundation which has a manufacturing plant in Joplin. While the plant was undamaged, several of their employees escaped the winds with just clothes on their back.  Their story demonstrated the need for local preparedness and the strength and appreciation of trained Red Cross staff and volunteers who rapidly arrived to support emergency needs.

Volunteers make up 97 percent of the workforce for the American Red Cross. Three volunteers, Joyce Keyes and Linda Michels (Fond du Lac) and Gloria Wachholtz (Oshkosh) received 5-year pins while MarJean Buck, Neal Buck (Fond du Lac) and Greg Gibbons (Oshkosh) received 10-years of service pins. 

The following awards were presented at the event:

  • The Exceptional Volunteer Service Award for Community Programs is granted to a volunteer who has proven exceptional performance and enthusiasm toward the community programs at the Red Cross. This year’s recipient was Dixie Laehn, who volunteers each Monday for the Bridges program.

    Congratulations to Dixie Laehn for receiving the 2011 2011 Exceptional Volunteer Service Award for her work with our Community Service programs.

  • The Exceptional Volunteer Service Award for Blood Services is presented to the individual who has shown exemplary effort and dedication with regard to volunteering in the blood services program. This year’s recipient was Edna Mae Cragin who has chaired two Montello blood drives per year since 2006 and has helped save up-to 3,615 lives.
  • The Exceptional Volunteer Service for Health & Safety Services is presented to the individaul who has show exemplary efforts and dedication to teaching and promoting our life saving training within the community. This year’s recipient was Bob Mayer, honored for his flexibility and his ‘can-do’ attitude that is so appreciated. 

    Congratulations to Bob Mayer for receiving the 2011 Exceptional Volunteer Service Award for his work with our Preparedness, Health & Safety Program.

  • The Exceptional Services Award for Services to the Armed Forces is given to the individual who plays an important role in the local to global support of veterans, military members and their families. This year’s recipient was Linda Bishop from Appleton who provides 24/7/365 emergency communication support for service members and their families while in crisis.

Congratulations to Linda Bishop for receiving the 2011 Exceptional Volunteer Service Award for her work with our Services to the Armed Forces program and for helping with general office support at our Appleton location.

  • The Special Employee Recognition Award was given to Nick Cluppert,who has spearheaded our Services to Armed Forces and disaster preparedness and response programs. He was recognized for his management skills, excelling in disaster training and his disaster deployments around the country.

    Congratulations to Nick Cluppert for receiving the 2011 Special Employee Recognition Award.

  • The Exceptional Services Award for International Services is granted to a volunteer who portrays exceptional effort in promoting Red Cross services worldwide. This year’s recipient was is the Nakashima family, who rose to the occasion to support the people ofJapan after the Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear incident devastated the country many family members call home.
  • The Community Partnership Award is awarded to any company, agency or organization that actively collaborates with the American Red Cross to improve the welfare of the community in which they are part. This year’s recipients were J.J. Keller, Menasha Corporation, Bemis Corporation, Community First Credit Union and State Farm.

    Congratulations to Community First Credit Union for receiving our Community Partnership Award for outstanding support of our special events.Congratulations to State Farm for receiving our Community Partnership Award and many thanks for sponsoring our Celebration of Support event!

  • The Leadership in Giving Award is presented to a person who exemplifies philanthropy throughout his or her life. This year’s recipient was Jim Thomas, (Fond du Lac) who has volunteered with the Red Cross for more than six years, served as Chapter chairman and led a five-year strategic plan.

    Congratulations to James Thomas for receiving the 2011 Volunteer Leadership in Giving Award.

  • Two Exceptional Services Award for Disaster Services were presented to individuals who illustrate extensive personal commitment to helping those in need of emergency assistance. This year’s recipient include Andrew (Andy) Stanislawski, (Waupaca) who has been a dedicated local and national disaster volunteer including multiple deployments this year alone. He also supports the Waupaca office, works at blood drives and is always ready to lend a hand. The second award was presented to Neal and MarJean Buck. They both serve as Fond du Lac area Disaster Action Team captains and their dedication was not deterred when their own home flooded yet they spent five days working full time helping neighbors in need before they tended to their own basement.
    Andy Stanislawski received the 2011 Exceptional Volunteer Award for his work with our Disaster Services program. Congratulations!
Congratulations to MarJean and Neal Buck for receiving the 2011 Exceptional Volunteer Service Award for their work with the Disaster Services program.

The Clara Barton Award, one of the highest honors bestowed by the Red Cross, is presented to a volunteer whose performance in a number of leadership positions and personal expertise has enabled the Red Cross to contribute valuable services to the community. This year’s recipient was Vicki Jenks, from Wild Rose, WI who has spearheaded local Heroes efforts, rallies community engagement and serves on the Board of Directors.

Congratulations to Vicki Jenks for receiving the highest honor of the evening, the Clara Barton Honor Award. This award is given to an indvidual who mimics the true humanitarian spirit of American Red Cross founder, Clara Barton.

 The Northeast Wisconsin Chapter serves 20 counties with a mission to prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters. To learn more about local Red Cross programs, volunteer opportunities, and how you can help, contact the Chapter headquarters at 920-231-3590 or visit Find us on,, the local blog is and Chapter photos are at