Meet MaryAnn Kojis-Zopp


Carol Wagner Leader Correspondent

Photo by Carol Wagner MaryAnn Kojis-Zopp has been ringing bells for the Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign for five seasons.

MaryAnn Kojis-Zopp has been ringing bells for the Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign for five seasons.

Kojis-Zopp was born in Milwaukee, graduating from Mercy High School. She earned a degree from UW-Milwaukee in early childhood education and taught for four years. She then entered the Peace Corps going to Malaysia for two years training teachers in their own language and then to the Philippines for two years where she taught nutrition.

Kojis-Zopp then taught in schools in Milwaukee for two years. Then she was a Title 1 language development teacher and then taught kindergarten and first grade and Title I math teacher for the Menominee Indian School District for a total of 31 years. She retired in 2011.

Kojis-Zopp and her husband, Dennis, have been married 36 years and have three sons and one granddaughter. They live in the town of Richmond.

Q How long have you volunteered to ring the bells?

A “I have volunteered for five seasons. There are so many places in Shawano devoted to helping others-churches, SAM‘s House, Habitat for Humanity, Safe Haven, support groups and many others. The people in Shawano have been very generous and the donations are put to good use.”

Q Where do you ring the bells?

A “At Charlie’s County Market. Last weekend a World War II veteran put money in the kettle and said to me, ‘When I came home from Germany the Salvation Army was there to give us a meal.’ Last year a young mother came with her son who couldn’t have been more than six years old. She gave him some money and moved to produce, an area beyond the automatic doors, then that sweet child came up to me, put the money in the kettle and said, ‘Make sure the kids are OK.’ What a wonderful lesson that young mother had taught that little boy.”

Q Why do you volunteer?

A “My parents, Albert and Louise Kojis, raised us that we try to see other’s needs and do what we can to help. Ringing bells makes our efforts go full circle.”

Red Kettles will be at Qualheim’s True Value, Charlie’s County Market, and Walmart, where there is a small shed with a heater. Bell ringing times are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday in two-hour shifts. To volunteer, call 715-853-9340.