Five North Central Wisconsin honorees recognized at the 2021 Governor’s Service Awards

MARSHFIELD, WI (Submitted to OnFocus) – Reflecting upon the significant difference that engaged Wisconsin citizens have made within the state, Governor Tony Evers stated that the 2021 Governor’s Service Awards would be “honoring nine Wisconsinites and five organizations in our state that are spearheading positive, impactful change through their service to the people of Wisconsin.”

He continued, telling the honorees that they “have made a real difference thanks to your tireless efforts to support and help your fellow Wisconsinites. But your service is not only outstanding because of the impressive, quantifiable impact you have had in the number of students served, masks made, meals delivered, and many other important measures. It’s also outstanding because of the compelling stories of the impact you have had on folks and entire communities across the state.”

Five of the honorees have impacted North Central Wisconsin through their service, including Marshfield Clinic Health Systems AmeriCorps Volunteer Wisconsin, Mildred “Dolly” McGeshick, the Copper Lake / Lincoln Hills Foster Grandparent Program, DPI AmeriCorps Farm to School, and the Wisconsin Association of Free and Charitable Clinics.

  • Marshfield Clinic Health Systems AmeriCorps Volunteer Wisconsin was recognized with a COVID-19 Response Service Award for the efforts of their AmeriCorps members to facilitate volunteer response to the pandemic and assist relief activities throughout the state.
  • Mildred “Dolly” McGeshick from Crandon, WI was recognized as the AmeriCorps Seniors Volunteer of the Year. She has given service throughout her life to Wisconsin tribal communities, including over 6,000 hours of service since 2015 with the Great Lakes InterTribal Council Senior Companions Program. An outstanding example of this service includes her eagerly volunteering to accompany a tribal elder to dialysis treatment last year, despite needing to drive an hour and a half and it being during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Copper Lake / Lincoln Hills Foster Grandparent Program was recognized as the AmeriCorps Seniors Program of the Year. Their Foster Grandparents volunteer in the living units, school classrooms, and their reading buddy program to serve the young people at the only Type 1 Correctional Facility for youth in the State of Wisconsin, striving to bring a spirit of love and care to these youth.
  • Department of Public Instruction AmeriCorps Farm to School was recognized as the AmeriCorps Program of the Year. Their AmeriCorps members are dedicated to increasing access to fresh, healthy foods in schools and providing nutrition education to students across the state, including at Arbor Vitae-Woodruff Elementary and the Bayfield School District. As part of these efforts, earlier this year they launched the Wisconsin Local Foods Database to connect more food service directors and farmers across the state.
  • Wisconsin Association of Free and Charitable Clinics was recognized as the AmeriCorps VISTA Program of the Year. Their AmeriCorps VISTA members expand the capacity of Wisconsin clinics to serve 160,000 Wisconsin residents who lack adequate medical care and are uninsured or underinsured statewide, including sites in Marshfield and Wausau.

The Governor’s Service Awards honors outstanding volunteers, AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors participants and programs, and AmeriCorps alumni that address serious social needs across Wisconsin, including specific recognitions this year for those responding to COVID-19. The 2021 awards were presented on August 4th and were sponsored by Serve Wisconsin, the state commission for national and community service.

“We’re excited to start a new tradition this year by recognizing Wisconsin AmeriCorps Seniors who have served for 20 years or longer,” stated Jeanne Duffy, Executive Director of Serve Wisconsin. “It is with great pleasure that we recognize the hard work and dedication these 221 outstanding individuals have shown for their communities throughout the decades.”

Addressing this group of long-term volunteers that have served their communities for at least two decades since turning 55, Governor Evers said “to the 221 AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers who have reached that impressive milestone in volunteer service, on behalf of our entire state, thank you for your hard work and dedication. Your service is an inspiration to all of us.”

Describing the impact of the service by the honorees during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes said, “there have been so many significant challenges and setbacks for individuals for families and communities all across Wisconsin and this country. But your selfless and tireless work, did something to help improve the lives of many. And for that, I want to say thank you, because for a lot of folks, there were no other options and there was no one else to turn to. Without you, without your work, who knows what life would have been like for the individuals who have been on the receiving end of your service.”

Lt. Governor Barnes continued his closing remarks at the ceremony by connecting their efforts with the service of countless others during the pandemic as a path forward, stating that their “service providing resources to fellow Wisconsinites is deeply appreciated not just by myself, but by all of us…Throughout these tough times, it has been the volunteers, just like honorees today, that have inspired us all to believe that an end to the pandemic is possible, and that everyone doing their part is the exact way that we achieve that goal.”

A recording of the ceremony is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpGPVqXPkJ0 

2021 HONOREES

AmeriCorps Member of the Year Honoree:

Tre’ Wafford – College Possible Milwaukee (Milwaukee, WI)

AmeriCorps Program of the Year Honoree:  

Department of Public Instruction AmeriCorps Farm to School Program (statewide)

AmeriCorps VISTA Member of the Year Honoree: 

Colin Mackey – Habitat for Humanity of Wisconsin (Baraboo, WI)

AmeriCorps VISTA Program of the Year Honoree: 

Wisconsin Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (statewide)

AmeriCorps Alumni of the Year Honoree:

Katherine Matisse – originally served with Teach For America Milwaukee and currently the Executive Director of TwoBirds Tutoring Co.  (Milwaukee, WI)

AmeriCorps Seniors Volunteer of the Year Honoree:

Mildred “Dolly” McGeshick – Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council Senior Companions Program (Crandon, WI)

AmeriCorps Seniors Program of the Year Honoree:

Copper Lake / Lincoln Hills Foster Grandparent Program (Irma, WI)

AmeriCorps Seniors Lifetime Impact Volunteer Honorees:

Betty Elsner – RSVP of Dane County, Inc. (Stoughton, WI)

AmeriCorps Seniors Lifetime Impact Volunteer Honorees:

Sally Vyvyan – Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program – Foster Grandparent Program (Westby, WI)

Volunteer Coordinator of the Year: 

Maryssa Paulsen – MCHS Volunteer Wisconsin at New Leaf Foods, Inc. (Green Bay, WI)

COVID-19 Response Service Awards:

Lisa Penterman – Be Well Fox Valley AmeriCorps Program (Appleton, WI)

COVID-19 Response Service Awards:

Don Strube – RSVP Program of Portage County (Stevens Point, WI)

COVID-19 Response Service Awards:

Marshfield Clinic Health System AmeriCorps Volunteer Wisconsin (statewide)

COVID-19 Response Service Awards:

Silver Threads – RSVP Program of Portage County (Stevens Point, WI)  

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News Desk
Author: News Desk