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Nominations open for 2018 volunteer awards

2017 Award Recipients

Carolyn Ragusett, 2017 Arts Award. Above, Jane Dwyre Garton, 2017 Rugland Community Service Award.

Kaylie Bittner, 2017 Youth Award

Sally Podoski, 2017 Groth Mentoring Award

Mary Downs, 2017 Janet Berry Award

Kimberly-Clark and the Diaper bank, 2017 Business Partnership Award

Lee Hillstrom, 2017 Health Care Award

Photos courtesy of The Post-Crescent

There is much good in our community and much of it is driven by volunteers working anonymously, just out of love for a particular cause or dedication to improving the community overall. Now is the time to shine the spotlight on them that they deserve. Nominations are being accepted for eight Celebrating Volunteers awards to be presented at the annual gala on April 26.

Nomination forms must be submitted by Feb. 5.

The annual Celebrating Volunteers gala is co-sponsored by the Community Foundation and The Post-Crescent. Award sponsors include:

  • Business Partnership of the Year Award – SECURA Insurance
  • Daniel P. Spalding Volunteer Educator Award – School Specialty
  • Hanns Kretzschmar Award for Excellence in the Arts – Thrivent Financial
  • Health Care Volunteer Award – Ascension and ThedaCare
  • Janet Berry Volunteer of the Year Award – The Post-Crescent
  • Paul and Elaine Groth Mentoring Award – Mielke Family Foundation
  • Walter L. Rugland Community Service Award – Thrivent Financial
  • Youth Scholarship Award – Community First Credit Union

Award recipients receive $5,000 for their favorite Fox Valley area charity (youth recipient receives $1,000 for charity plus a $1,500 scholarship). Since 1998, award sponsors have given $669,000 to local charities in the names of award recipients.

To nominate a volunteer, go to to read the award descriptions. When you have selected an award category, fill out the form on the nomination page. Committees for each award sponsor select the award recipients.

The death of Paul and Elaine Groth in a car accident April 30, 1997, in Green Bay was the inspiration for this uplifting annual event. A circle of the Groths’ friends created Celebrating Volunteers to honor the couple’s dedication to volunteer service.

For the inaugural Celebrating Volunteers event at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in downtown Appleton on April 2, 1998, organizers feared they would see virtually an empty banquet hall. The event drew nearly 600 people.

It continues to take place at the downtown hotel and nearly fills the grand ballroom every year.

See more about the history of the event.

The 21st annual Celebrating Volunteers Community Gala will begin at 5:15 p.m. on April 26 at the Paper Valley Radisson Hotel. Online registration will be available March 1.

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