Northeast Wisconsin Board Member Spotlight – Tom Rettler

Tom Rettler
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Menasha Corporation

Thomas Rettler - Menasha Corporation

Red Cross Board Member Since: 2012

We want to thank Tom for sharing his Red Cross story with us and are honored to have him as a member of the American Red Cross Northeast Wisconsin Chapter Board of Directors.

What are your responsibilities as a board member?
My primary responsibility is raising awareness of the Red Cross mission among my personal and professional network, which hopefully leads them to getting involved as either volunteers, donors or both.

Why did you choose to volunteer for the Red Cross?
Being a finance person, I was attracted to the scope, scale, speed and efficiency of the resources the Red Cross can bring to bear on disasters when and wherever they occur.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering for the Red Cross?
Playing a small part in assisting a great organization that serves a vitally important mission.

Where do you see yourself in the future with the Red Cross?
Right now I see my involvement primarily at a local level (NE Wisconsin Chapter) and staying involved as a board member.

Do you volunteer for other places/non-profit organizations?
I am on the Board of the Menasha Corporation Foundation. I occasionally volunteer at my daughter’s elementary school.

What do you and your family like to do together?
Traveling and just spending time together whatever the activity might be.

What are your favorite hobbies or past time activities?
Golfing and fishing are my two favorite recreational activities

What is one interesting fact about you that would surprise your friends and colleagues?
My oldest child is 26 and my youngest is 7. The youngest one keeps me young.

What is your favorite quote that you live by?
“Everyone faces adversity. How you respond to that adversity defines your character.”

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
We will never eliminate disasters or the need for blood. These are situations, for the most part, that can’t be prevented, they can only be responded to and supported. No organization does it better than the Red Cross.




Northeast Wisconsin Board Member Spotlight – Mary Walch

Get to know our board members from the American Red Cross Northeast Wisconsin Chapter. We thank Mary for sharing her story, and we are proud to have her part of our leadership team.

Mary WalchCurrent Location: Green Bay, WI

Career History: I have worked in the banking industry for 25 years in the areas of Retail Management, Consumer, Mortgage and Business Lending, and Private Banking.

Volunteer History: I started volunteering right out of high school. My first experience volunteering was working in a program called REINS, a therapeutic riding program for individuals with special needs. I immediately felt a connection with the individuals I was working with and was humbled by the experience. I continued to work volunteering into my life from helping a couple hours at a run, joining planning committees for large events benefiting non-profits, and board positions for non-profits.

Board Member Since: Fall 2012

Responsibilities/Duties as a Board Member: We are truly a fundraising board from spreading the word of the Red Cross and all the good that the organization does to the connections we have helping raise funds for the Red Cross. I am also on the Annual Heroes Golf Tournament and Dancing with Our Stars planning committees.

How did you become involved with the Red Cross? My first experience was in my early 20’s. I had an interest in helping others and took disaster training courses. I thought it would be interesting and was looking to get involved in ways to make a difference. While I never had the opportunity volunteer for a disaster, I was moved by what I learned about the Red Cross and the teams of volunteers that leave their families to help others.

What motivates you as a volunteer and board member? Seeing how my efforts impact people. When part of a planning committee for an event, seeing the attendees get enjoyment out of being there and raising money is a rush.

Mary and her son Craig on a skydiving adventure.

What do you hope to accomplish by being a board member? Meeting new friends and helping others in need. Being part of a team/group with likeminded goals of helping others and making a difference.

Where do you feel the Red Cross can grow while a board member? Through growing fundraising events and recruiting others – whether as board members, volunteers, or financial supporters. And sharing the history/story of the Red Cross and how the Red Cross impacts all our lives.

How does Northeast Wisconsin benefit by the services offered by the Red Cross? I think everyone sometime in their lives will benefit from the Red Cross. Whether through natural disaster, medical needs, or safety education, the Red Cross touches all our lives.



Get to know our Board Members: Pat Exarhos

By Erin Thayse, American Red Cross Volunteer 


Pat Exarhos_2093As a thirty-two year resident of Appleton, Pat Exarhos understands the importance of being active within her community. She started as a manager at Kimberly-Clark Corp in their Research and Development department in 1989 and grew into director and interim VP roles. While at Kimberly-Clark, she was instrumental in co-founding the Kimberly-Clark women’s network. Pat decided to be even more involved in the business community as a co-owner of Breadsmith stores in both Appleton and Green Bay. While her careers in the corporate world and as a business owner ended in 2011 and 2005 respectively, her activism in the community has been going strong. Pat has been a member of the Greater Fox Cities Habitat for Humanity since 2003, currently chairing the Leadership Development committee. She has maintained strong relationships with assisting women’s organizations by being part of the Women’s Fund, Mid-Day Women’s Alliance and Women’s Joint Organizations Event Committee since 2012. Pat brings a wealth of experience to the Northeast Wisconsin American Red Cross through all her past and current endeavors.

American Red Cross

Board Member Since:  April, 2013

Responsibilities/Duties as a Board Member: I joined the Major Gifts and Programs & Facilities committees.  Since I am a new board and committee member, I am in learning mode regarding the responsibilities and duties but I am excited to help in any way I can!

You are a very active volunteer. How did you get started in volunteering? I have been volunteering since I moved to the Appleton area. I wanted to learn more about and give back to the community. Initially, I was involved in blood pressure screening and car seat training programs. When my children were young, my volunteerism was aligned with their school and extra-curricular needs and interests.  In recent years, I have found my own areas of passion that matched with my skills – and volunteered where needed.

What motivates you as a volunteer and board member? The mission of the Red Cross; it is hard to argue with the very critical needs it represents. Red Cross has an excellent reputation so I am honored to be part of this volunteer organization.

 How did you become involved with the Red Cross? I was attending the local Red Cross fundraiser, Dancing with Our Stars event as my husband’s boss was a local celebrity dancer. I met a former colleague, Pete Dulcamara, and he recruited me to apply for a Board position. 

What do you hope to accomplish by being a board member? I hope to help this Red Cross chapter accomplish its goals, especially on the committees I am serving. As I think about people I know, I would like to get the word out about the Red Cross and recruit more volunteers. There are more people like me who want to give back. Beyond that, I am learning more about the organization – for example, I am in the process of taking disaster relief classes as I would like to serve in this area. So this is a growth opportunity for me as an individual.   

Where do you feel the Red Cross can grow while a board member? I am still learning; as a person new to the organization, I think the visibility of the local Red Cross chapter could increase resulting in more dollars and volunteers from the local area.


Welcoming our Newest Board Member, Tom Rettler

By Lauren Lindstrom, American Red Cross Communications Intern

We are excited to introduce one of the new additions to the Northeast Wisconsin Red Cross Board of Directors, Tom Rettler.

He’s an Appleton native who returned to the area four and a half years ago after more than 20 years in Milwaukee. He serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Menasha Corporation.

A busy man in the office and at home, Tom is married with three kids, two in college and one beginning kindergarten in the fall. He says his hobbies include fishing and golf, but most of his limited free time is spent enjoying time with his family.

Tom calls himself a “periodic blood donor” who saw an opportunity to get more involved with the community in another way. He is also a board member on the Menasha Corp Foundation, and felt he could also assist the NEW Red Cross with his skill set and career history.

Why Red Cross?

“It’s an efficiently run organization,” Rettler said. “As a CFO, using donor dollars well is something I am sensitive to…people want to see the money go to the problem, not overhead.”

Tornado Damage Hits Close to Home to One Member of our Red Cross Family

Guest Blog Post: Rick Parks, American Red Cross of Northeast WI Boardmember and President & CEO of Society Insurance

While all of us involved with Red Cross feel a sense of loss and empathy when we see disasters like this occur sometimes we have a more personal connection that makes us feel even stronger about supporting an organization that helps others in their time of need.

My path to living and working in Wisconsin was a journey that started as I grew up in a small town in southern Indiana and then spent most of my early adult life beginning my career in Illinois.  Going back 15 years I would make a sales swing through Harrisburg, Illinois about every six weeks.  In spite of it being a small city a little off the beaten path it was a favorite of mine, because everyone you met there were “good people.”  To see that town utterly destroyed with such a loss of life was an emotional experience.  But this past week brought all of that even closer to home -literally.

I grew up in Clark County, Indiana. Henryville, which was essentially erased as a town, is about 15 miles from my family home. I played many high school basketball games at Henryville High School, as they were a conference rival.  The village of Marysville, Indiana was noted to be “gone,” and that little curve on the highway was only five miles from my hometown.  The community center that was destroyed there (along with every home in the village) had been the K-3 two-room school where many of my future high school classmates started their school experience.

Tornado Damage: Chelsea, Indiana

The even smaller village of Chelsea, Indiana, where four people lost their lives, was only four miles up Highway 62 from where I grew up. My late parents shifted their church affiliation to the now destroyed Baptist Church in Chelsea when a beloved pastor took a position there.With Facebook and other social media pepole like me who have made something of a journey of life can still keep up with those who were important in their past. Within a few hours you can account for your close friends and family and get the news on who lost what. The people of small towns like Harrisburg, Henryville, Marysville and Chelsea also take care of their own on an incredible scale.  Many familes will come together under the remaining roof they have and live as one while they rebuild. But even in small town America not everyone has that available to them.  Many people need the care that an organization like Red Cross can offer immediately after a disaster, but some will need ongoing assistance. Knowing that Red Cross can be there to help if needed gave me peace as these very personal disasters unfolded in the media and with contact from friends and family back in Illinois and Indiana.

My thanks to all of you for being a part of Red Cross. You make a difference in people’s lives.

Rick Parks

Tornado damage: Henryville, Indiana

Tornado Damage - Marysville, Indiana