Volunteer Profile

Meet Dan Braun

Carol Wagner, Leader Correspondent

Photo by Carol Wagner Dan Braun, third from right, is the director of the Board of Christian Service at St. James Lutheran Church in Shawano. The group provided the meal for the recent Community Dinner. Shown with Braun are, from left, Lynn Brodhagen, Chris Johnson, Chuck Dunnam, Jody Siahaan, Tina Singer, Kerry Piehl and Jean Umland. Not pictured are Bretta Carlton and Debra Downs.

Dan Braun volunteers for several programs at St. James Lutheran Church in Shawano. He was born and raised in Shawano, graduating from Shawano High School.

Braun earned a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and was a food service director in Minneapolis for five years. He returned to Shawano in 1989 to work for his father at Braun Dairy Equipment along with his brother, Mark. The brothers bought the business in 1995 and sold it in 2010.

Currently Braun works in internal audit services for the Menominee Nation. His wife of 27 years, Kathy, works part time at Shawano Lawn and Stone and State Farm Insurance. They live in the town of Wescott on the Wolf River where they enjoy boating, swimming and tubing when their two grown daughters are home.

Q Where do you volunteer?

A “I volunteer at St. James by serving as director on the Board of Christian Service. As a director, I also serve on the St. James board of directors. I volunteer as part of a four-person team that is scheduled four times per year to set up for the St. James celebration service held in the school gymnasium. I serve on the operations board and volunteer for the Shawano SHAZZ Festival held at Shawano Community High School each March. I serve as a congregational representative for St. James at the Wolf River Lutheran High School. I volunteer at the Wolf River Lutheran High School Family and Fun Auction fundraiser held each October.”

Q What do you do for those groups?

A “Director, St. James Board of Christian Service. As director, I lead the board in its purpose, which is to encourage the fellowship between congregation members spiritually and socially, and to integrate new members into the life of the congregation. Our main duties consist of coordinating the fellowship schedule, which is the coffee and treat served between services, the social ministry, which is where we plan and coordinate different types of gatherings for fellowship which usually involve food, and finally the small group ministry.

I also serve on the St. James board of directors, which is the overall governing board of the congregation. Certain operations of faith and worship decisions are made at the board level and others are made by the board of directors.

The celebration service team sets up and tears down the chairs, altar and coffee fellowship for the service. We also assist as greeters during our assigned services.

My service on the SHAZZ operations board involves giving input and new ideas in areas of my talents for the goal of providing a successful operation of this competitive high school jazz band festival. My wife, Kathy, and I plan and prepare the special food for the director’s lounge serving about 40 directors breakfast, snacks and lunch.

Wolf River Lutheran High School is supported in part both financially and prayerfully by a group of association churches, which are Lutheran churches within about a 30-mile radius of Shawano. I am a representative from St. James whereby I vote on items as a St. James representative and give input or feedback as I can.

I also choose to help the Wolf River Lutheran High School with their Family Fun and Auction held each October. I prepare the gallons of soup needed for the luncheon as well as selling six-packs of quarts in the live auction.”

Q Why do you volunteer?

A “I have volunteered at St. James since moving back to Shawano in 1990 and Mr. Will Kleinschmidt asked me to serve on a task force. This task force worked on identifying why people volunteer, methods to seek out volunteers, how to maintain an active file of volunteers and what volunteers were needed at St. James. Toward the end of our project we coordinated a soup luncheon, and that was the first of a still ongoing cooking relationship. I enjoy what I do and am amazed at what can be accomplished when even a small group of people get together to work toward a common goal. My volunteering affects some other person in a positive way, which affects me positively, and that’s why I volunteer.”