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10 things heard at Celebrating Volunteers

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Kaylie Bittner, Youth Scholarship honoree, with Joannie Johnson, Community Relations Manager with Community First Credit Union. She receives a $1,500 scholarship and gave her $1,000 prize to the Neenah Menasha Emergency Society.

Nearly 500 people gathered in the grand ballroom of the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in Appleton May 2 for the community’s 20th year of celebrating volunteerism. Celebrating Volunteers captures what’s special about living in the Fox Cities by honoring the recipients of eight volunteer awards. Go to to see the award recipients, the nonprofit organizations they designated to receive $36,000 in award money, and their videos produced by UW-Fox Valley’s Communication and Theater Arts 106 class under the guidance of Tom Frantz.

Here are 10 things that were heard during the evening.


    1. “I just feel like I get so much out of the sharing. I feel the like I’m using the skills and the gifts that I’ve been given.” — Mary Downs, Janet Berry Volunteer of the Year.

    2. “Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and volunteer.” — Kaylie Bittner, Youth Scholarship Award recipient.

    3. “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” — Lee Hillstrom, Health Care Volunteer, quoting Edward Everett Hale.

    4. “We all have the capacity to share encouragement, empathy, respect and honest feedback with others. We can all offer guidance and insight. We can all provide support and a can-do attitude. This is mentoring.” Sally Podoski, Paul & Elaine Groth Mentoring Award recipient.

    5. “I have my parents, who raised me to always think of others. I have my husband, who has the biggest heart I know, who supports me every single day and helps me show our two children how kindness counts.” – Marie Waddell, Dan P. Spalding Volunteer Educator.

    6. “We wanted Attic to continue and keep on being an integral part of our community,” Carolyn Ragusett, Hanns Kretzschmar Award for the Arts recipient for her work with Attic Theatre.

    7. “The fact that the Fox Cities has that kind of infrastructure, with the United Way helping to define the needs of the community … that’s what I take away from this and can be excited about the future,” Aric Melzl, Huggies Brand Director, Kimberly-Clark Corp., which was co-winner of the Business Partnership of the Year Award for the Fox Cities Diaper Bank.

    8. “K-C has been a wonderful partner every step of this very wonderful journey, and I’m eager to see where it takes us in the next five years,” Rhonda Hannemann, United Way Fox Cities, which was co-winner of the Business Partnership of the Year Award for the Fox Cities Diaper Bank.

    9. “We are fortunate to live here. We are obligated to step up and jump in.” — Jane Dwyre Garton, Walter L. Rugland Community Service Award recipient.

    10. “It’s been an inspiring night. Our award winners exemplify the spirit of volunteerism that makes the Fox Valley region such a wonderful place to live.” Emcee Peter Kelly, United Way Fox Cities President and CEO.

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