SACF gives awards to 5 volunteers

Recipients get $1,000 to benefit local nonprofits

The Shawano Area Community Foundation will honor five local volunteers as part of its ninth annual Celebration of Giving awards program.

The program celebrates the past year of giving through the SACF, and recognizes area citizens for their spirit of volunteerism. Each award recipient receives $1,000 to benefit the local nonprofit organization of their choice.

The following volunteers will be honored:

Crystal Phalen is receiving the Health Care Volunteer Award sponsored by ThedaCare Physicians.

Phalen is committed to improving the safety of children in Shawano County by volunteering as a car-seat technician. Not only does she give freely of her time to ensure car seats are properly installed, she also purchases car seats and makes them available to the less fortunate through ThedaCare Medical Center in Shawano.

Nicole Thornock is receiving the Youth Volunteer Award sponsored by the Shawano Optimist Club and Shawano Rotary.

Thornock’s commitment to volunteering has benefited local and global populations. Locally, she volunteers with Junior Achievement, Hope Community Church, Safe Haven, the American Red Cross and ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano.

Thornock has made an impact beyond Shawano County by volunteering at a Milwaukee homeless shelter and participating in international service trips in Haiti and the Philippines.

Kris Wondra is receiving the Bill Mielke Volunteer Educator Award sponsored by the Mielke Family Foundation.

Wondra is being honored for her significant service to the Bonduel community. As the Bonduel Elementary School counselor, she is aware of many community needs and goes above and beyond her job description to ensure her students have what they need. Wondra does this by providing lunch money, personal care products, weather-appropriate gear and shoes to kids who are in need.

Wondra organizes a community-wide clothing swap twice per year and donates leftover clothing to Safe Haven, Shawano Area Matthew 25 and the Cecil Community Closet. She makes the holidays special for her less fortunate students by organizing for Halloween costumes, Christmas gifts and Thanksgiving dinners for needy families, too.

Additionally, Wondra volunteers as the Parent Teacher Organization president for Bonduel Elementary School and spends countless hours building community through free social opportunities for families in the district, including the Family Fun Night and Spring Carnival.

Adam Resch is receiving the Robert D. Nueske Wittenberg Community Service Award sponsored by Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Meats.

Resch is being recognized for his local fundraising efforts for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. For the past 12 years, he has organized pool tournaments that have raised more than $91,000 for St. Jude’s.

The logistics of the tournaments are complex, including finding space, soliciting donations, organizing raffles and more. Resch rallies the help of his children and extended family to keep this long-running fundraiser successful.

Heidi Waukechon is receiving the Shawano Community Service Award sponsored by a fund holder within the Shawano Area Community Foundation.

Waukechon is receiving this award for her volunteer work with Shawano Cares About Critters (SCAC), a nonprofit that provides no-cost or low-cost trap-neuter-return services for local community members. Waukechon’s work helps ensure outdoor cats are vaccinated and neutered to prevent the spread of unwanted diseases and to keep the cat population a manageable size. Through her work, Waukechon has cared for more than 1,085 cats in the community.

When not preparing for this hands-on work, she is busy organizing the vital fundraisers that cover the costs of this community service. The work she does isn’t glamourous and often takes place during the early morning or late night hours, but she is tireless in her efforts.

The Celebration of Giving awards program is presented in part by the Shawano Leader.