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2020 Paul & Elaine Groth Mentoring Award:
Walter Zerrenner

Walter Zerrenner, Fox Valley Memory Project

This award recognizes an individual (or individuals) who has served as a mentor in the community over time and has, by example, made meaningful contributions to the quality of the life in the Fox Cities. An award of $5,000 is presented to the recipient’s Fox Valley charity of choice.

“I kind of eased into the volunteer work but I would say it began in a dental office. I was reading Fox Cities magazine and there was an article about Susan and John McFadden bringing the Memory Café concept to the Fox Valley. I reached out to them to learn more and then Aline and I attended the very first Memory Café in 2014. I later became very involved with the work of the Fox Valley Memory Project. In 2014, Susan McFadden recruited me to serve on the Fox Valley Memory Board and later convinced me to serve on the Marketing and Fund Development Committee. It was the mission of the FVMP to create and maintain a Dementia Friendly Community in the Fox Valley. It was a mission that was near and dear to me as a Care Partner for my wife living with Alzheimer’s and still is today.” – Walter Zerrenner, Fox Valley Memory Project

Award sponsor since 1998:

Who Qualifies?

An individual or individuals that meet the criteria above and have a beneficial presence within Outagamie, Calumet, Waupaca or northern Winnebago counties.

Nomination form


  • Nominations are evaluated on the nominee’s involvement of helping others.
  • Nominations are evaluated based on the nominee being a respected community leader.
  • Nominations are evaluated based on mentoring in a quiet and wise way and how the nominee has been a counselor or consensus builder to make positive things happen in the community.



Our 2019 winner is Dick Calder!
Watch Dick’s Award Video, filmed and produced by video production students at University of Wisconsin – Fox Valley and Instructor Tom Frantz:

For Dick Calder, mentoring and volunteerism are words to live by  By Andy Thompson, Appleton Post-Crescent

Dick Calder, of Appleton, is a former president of Banta Company Digital Group who was affiliated with years with the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley and has a long record of volunteer service in the Fox Cities.

David Horst, donor services and environmental grant manager with the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, nominated Calder for the award.

Horst said Calder hadn’t been awarded the Paul and Elaine Groth Mentoring Award previously because he had served for more than 15 years as the chairman or as a member of the board of the Mielke Family Foundation. The Foundation sponsors the award, so it would have been a conflict of interest for him to receive it, he said.
Horst said Calder has an enviable record of mentoring and volunteering.

”Dick has a very subtle manner in mentoring people. If you weren’t paying enough attention, you might be fooled into thinking you had done things on your own abilities.

“I experienced Dick’s mentoring when we worked together on the book looking back at the first 10 years of the Celebrating Volunteers event. I brought a newspaper background to the project, but Dick’s contacts in the book publishing industry and guidance on things like using lacquers and foil on the cover, were way outside of my expertise.”
Horst said Calder played a major role in the development of the Community Foundation and made excellent use of his deep roots in the Fox Cities.

“He thoroughly knows this community,” Horst said. “He knew, for example, that the Celebrating Our Volunteers event would work. He was one of its founders.”

Calder also mentored many people through Rotary, according to Horst.

“He has been involved with them since he and his wife, Chrissy, came to the Fox Cities in 1955. He served as president and district governor, and went to and took part in forming a program to develop board presidents and officers that was picked up by other Rotary Clubs.”

Calder also has worked to build leaders at the YMCA, various health-related causes, the arts and Boy Scouting, Horst said.

Calder retired from Banta in 1997, but he didn’t spend his retirement in leisurely pursuits. He embraced mentoring and volunteering, spending decades working with others, supporting volunteer efforts and helping to raise funds for a number of projects and causes.

He is one of the founders of the Volunteer of the Year event, and the fact that Calder is now getting honored at an event he helped to create isn’t lost on him

“It sounds kind of self-serving,” he said.

While he’s honored to be recognized for his long record of service, he finds it hard to put what it means to him into words.

“I get too emotionally tied up,” Calder said.

For Calder mentoring means everything. He recalled his first mentor suggesting that he attend Lawrence University. Calder took his advice and couldn’t have been more pleased with his selection.

Calder’s been a mentor to countless others over the years. He defines mentoring as establishing a relationship with an individual “to enhance the quality of that person’s life.”

He says he gets as much out of mentoring a person as the person gets.

“You get so much out of mentoring,” Calder said. “If you see that person succeeding, it makes you feel good. It’s a two-way street.”

Read the full story via The Post-Crescent

Past recipients

2019: Dick Calder
2018: Bob DeKoch
2017: Sally Podoski
2016: Mary Poulson
2015: Sue Kinde
2014: Maung Win
2013: Rev. Will & Ruth Bloedow
2012: Ruth Haviland
2011: Joyce & Len Hanstedt
2010: Jeff Knezel
2009: Tri-County Community Dental Clinic dentists
2008: Fred Gaines
2007: Thomas Scullen
2006: Dr. Bill & Paula Chandler
2005: Doug & Carla Salmon
2004: Jane Williams & Alice Zeiss
2003: Margaret M. Walsh
2002: Pat Boldt
2001: John Reeve
2000: Philip Keller
1999: Charles Lingelbach Jr.
1998: Winton A. Schumaker