skip mobile navigation

Volunteer of the Year

Announcing our Janet Berry Volunteer of the Year Award for 2021!

Congratulations, Melanie & Mike Mailand

Married for 34 years, Mike and Mel Mailand have been volunteering together for just as long, much of their time being spent at Pillars, a homeless shelter in the Fox Valley.

“I don’t think we keep track of the hours,” said Mike. “We just do what needs to be done when it needs to be done.”

Their effort and dedication to helping others stood out. That’s why they were chosen for the 2021 Volunteer of the Year Award sponsored by Amcor.

“Holy cats,” Mel exclaimed during a surprise Zoom interview.


Here’s how we surprised the couple in this “reveal” video:

It’s not just giving back that brings them joy, it’s doing it together and learning a few more things about each other along the way. They share a few of those sentiments in the video above.

While they volunteer for a few other places, they’re at Pillars on average 15 times a month. If you’re interested in learning more about that organization, click here. With the $5,000 the Mailand’s received from the award, they’re donating it right back to the place they love to spend so much time.

Our Celebrating Volunteers partners, the Post-Crescent and NBC 26, are also featuring our winners this week. Here is the Post-Crescent story on Mike and Mel. And here is the video NBC 26 produced:


Award sponsor:


Who Qualifies?

An individual who meets the criteria and who has positively impacted the Fox Valley community. Candidate must reside or do the majority of their volunteer work in Outagamie, Calumet, Waupaca or northern Winnebago counties.

Nomination form


  • A volunteer who has made great strides in their efforts to impact positive change in the Fox Valley, by creating, working for, or donating to a local nonprofit agency or community organization.
  • A volunteer whose efforts – either through time, resources, or influence – have been paramount to the success of the program or community need in which they have worked to improve.

Past recipients


2020: Chad Kazel
2019: Cindy Reffke
2018: Cheri Duchrow
2017: Mary Downs
2016: Drew & Diane MacDonald
2015: John Bergstrom
2014: Katie Davis
2013: Emily, Gloria & Cliff Siebers
2012: Jerry Koenig
2011: Matthew Gerrits
2010: Nancy Peterson
2009: Mel Heckel
2008: Judy Collar
2007: Jean Long Manteufel
2006: Jay Breyer
2005: Kevin Kendall
2004: Erno & Anna Szilagyi
2003: Raymond Barlow
2002: Tim Higgins
2001: Beth Nemecek
2000: Tony Guckenberger
1999: Chris Doyle
1998: Joyce A. BytofHonorees prior to Celebrating Our Volunteers Gala:
1996: Diane Ragus
1995: Veta Wichman
1994: Erwin Gauerke
1993: Ethel Diermeier
1992: Mary Jane Popp
1991: Sue Coenen
1990: Roman Griesbach
1989: Lynn Dahl
1988: Milton Walter
1987: Joe Appleton and Judie Gillespie
1986: John Day
1985: Nancy Winslow
1984: Janet Erdman
1983: Dick Weinert
1982: Janet Berry