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“Nominate a Star” Nominees from the Fox Cities, presented by Kimberly-Clark, Fox Cities P.A.C. and Broadway Across America

October 13th, 2020 | By Lily Robinson

During this time of challenge and change, Kimberly-Clark, Fox Cities P.A.C. and Broadway Across America were looking for local stars who’ve gone above and beyond for the community. These game-changers could be on the front lines, in healthcare, organizing community events, finding creative solutions to problems, teaching in social distance or leading the fight against inequality. We wanted to celebrate the stars who are helping our communities be safer, more inclusive and all together better for all of us – just like the arts!

 

Thank you to the wonderful members of our Fox Cities community who nominated their friends, family, and coworkers for our Nominate a Star campaign! We reviewed the nominees and chose five winners, who will each receive four tickets to an upcoming show when Broadway returns to theFox Cities P.A.C. All the nominations we received were inspiring and heartwarming, and we are thrilled to share our winners and other nominations.

 

Winners

  • Jeanette Potts, nominated by Sara Muntner: Jeanette facilitates the support groups for survivors of suicide loss for Prevent Suicide Fox Cities. She has kept close contact with all of us survivors through the pandemic, offering virtual support groups and one on one conversations when needed. Ensuring all of us survivors are mentally healthy has been a much appreciated priority of Jeanette’s.

 

  • Kathleen Albrecht, nominated by Susan McFadden: Kathleen leads a chorus of persons with dementia, care partners, and community members. Now using Zoom and clever videos she creates with her family, she brings great joy to elders experiencing social isolation. Eventually, we hope to resume in-person rehearsals and performances but for now, she’s helping us remain connected.

 

  • Kurt Eggebrecht, nominated by Melody Lewis: Kurt is the Health Officer for the City of Appleton. He delayed his retirement to be able to be here to serve our residents and has worked tirelessly (on much of his own time) to keep us healthy and safe. We are lucky to have him leading us towards better health in our community during these trying times!

 

  • Olivia Heese
    • Nominated by Elizabeth Heese: Olivia Heese is a local star! In her employment as a Certified Nursing Assistant at the county healthcare facility Olivia selflessly gives not only dedicated medical care but also warm smiles and joyful personal interactions during a time when visits from residents’ friends and family members have been eliminated. Treating those in her care with genuine kindness and affection makes Olivia Heese a star!
    • Nominated by Gabrielle Heille: Olivia has shown herself to be not only a talented vocal performer but also a leader in her community. In directing and co-directing shows with Playhouse Theatre at a mere 18-years-old, she has served as a supportive role model for the children that she provides a stage for. Her passion for inclusivity, opportunity, and access ensures that every child receives a standing ovation!
    • Nominated by Sam Kulick: Olivia has been acting in the local community theater group known as Playhouse Theater ever since she was a kid. She has shown her talents as a lead and as a director in various shows. She is very kind hearted and deserves this award!

 

  • Shannon Krahn
    • Nominated by Barb Dreger: Shannon Krahn is the Executive Director of Loaves & Fishes of the Fox Valley, Inc. She has a heart for our community that is unmatched. COVID-19 caused a shift to take out meals to feed the hungry in our community and Shannon has worked tirelessly to continue service to our guests.
    • Nominated by Carol Burns: Shannon serves the marginalized recognizing that we are all one. Our guests are in need of love and understanding, conversation and attention. She accepts all and is the light of the organization. She is a STAR. She is the ED of Loaves & Fishes of the Fox Valley, Inc.
    • Nominated by Heidi Prahl: Executive Director of Loaves & Fishes of the Fox Valley, Shannon made instant adaptations to continue providing free and nutritious meals to anyone in need without interruption from the day that COVID restrictions began. A quick pivot to ‘to-go’ meals and delivering meals to isolated seniors Oneida Heights. Serving 50-100 people MWF.
    • Nominated by Jane Thomas: Shannon is the Executive Director of Loaves and Fishes of the Fox Valley, Inc. Shannon had to completely change our evening sit down meals to carry out in a day. Shannon treats everyone with respect and dignity. She deserves this award because she wouldn’t be able to attend otherwise.
    • Nominated by Mary Beth Neinhaus: Shannon is the Executive Director of Fox Cities Loaves & Fishes. She had unselfishly and with great leadership led the organization through a transition to our new place in the St. Therese campus. She has been flexible to adapt our serving of meals on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday through this pandemic. She is always very professional and welcoming to all or guests.
    • Nominated by Shawn Whitworth: Shannon works incredibly hard providing food for those in our community who can’t make ends meet or are apart of our homeless community. Loaves and Fishes, which she directs, does an amazing job of providing hope, dignity, and friendship to those in need in our community.

 

Nominations

  • Amanda Satchell, nominated by Larry Kartz: Amanda came to our school as a new music tracer this past year and she immediately transformed our school’s music classes into an exciting place to be. During distance learning, she regularly went above and beyond to keep students interested and excited about learning. She’s made music classes fun again and students don’t want to leave at the end of her classes.

 

  • Christain Nolan, nominated by J.P. Nolan: Christian has done a fabulous job during the pandemic remaining in touch with her students while continuing to be an awesome mom to her two kids. Christian teaches special education in the Green Bay School District and does what she can to help her students grow as people and students.

 

  • Corey Chisel, nominated by Sharon Bergsma: He brings so much to the community with his love for local artists and not only his music but theirs. He welcomes new artists to his refuge to not only play music but record their music. He is entirely responsible for The Mile of Music!

 

  • Diana Choronzy, nominated by Laura Sorenson: Diana is a healthcare worker at a small, local clinic. Especially during the virus, she has worked tirelessly with both staff and patients to try to accommodate everyone during this time. She is hardworking, extremely compassionate and caring. She constantly has a positive attitude in all she does.

 

  • Hannah Holbach, nominated by Karen Oasen: My daughter Hannah, is a nurse. She cares for compromised people. She fights for equal rights. She is an advocate for social distancing practices. Theater is her passion. She has tattoos from her favorite shows. She is a strong, beautiful woman.

 

 

  • Janet Planet, nominated by Carol Weinholzer: Beautiful voice, fun to listen to, just a beautiful soul!!

 

  • Jason Heese, nominated by Olivia Heese: Jason, my father, is a doctor at a local hospital. As one of only two pathologists in the area he is an absolutely essential worker! Without him people would go undiagnosed for things like cancer and other diseases that need to be addressed! He has worked tirelessly to take care of people’s needs and would never consider taking a day off. I am so proud to know how hard he’s working! He is essential.

 

  • Jeana Magyar, nominated by Arriel Council, Sr.: Dr. Jeana Magyar is a local star as she is a Psychologist and Professor who is committed to social justice and teaching future professional helpers about the importance of multicultural competence for decades. She often receives feedback from students that her classes are life changing in terms of their understanding of diversity, inclusivity, and systems of power and privilege. She also has successfully helped many community members who identify as POC, LGBTQ+, are of low SES, or have disabilities through her exceptional counseling work.

 

  • Jennifer Stephany:
    • Nominated by Anne Wiegman: Jennifer has gone above and beyond to help downtown Appleton continue to be one great place while ensuring the safety of her employees and downtown customers. She took a personal salary cut while working extra hard to make downtown safe for all to return to and enjoy!
    • Nominated by Djuanna Hugdahl: In a challenging year for many non-profit organizations, Jennifer Stephany, Executive Director of Appleton Downtown Inc. and Creative Downtown Appleton, Inc. has continued to strive to give the community the best possible event outcomes, at a time when gathering is not permitted. Livestreaming local music, giving musicians an outlet to perform, while offering community members an opportunity to hear music from their favorite bands. Hosting the popular Downtown Appleton Farm Market, offering fresh produce to our community, when food is an essential source, as well as helping out our local farmers and producers. With limited budget, she continues to work to meet the mission of the downtown, as well as to provide opportunities for so many. All while maintaining a smile and motivating her staff every single day.

 

  • Jill Jensen, nominated by Anne Wiegman: When people ask me about Jill, my reply is: If you took movie star Marilyn Monroe, jazz singer Peggy Lee, and holy person Mother Theresa and put them in the blender, you would have some idea of what Jill Jensen is like.

 

  • Jodi Alix, nominated by Mary Jane Baehman: Caring, perceptive, innovative servant-leader, solid-yet delicate decision-maker, ambitious, home visits to handle hardships with grace and dignity, promotes the arts. Has proven that her exceptional leadership, educational philosophy and student success stories are her passion; evident in her drive, vision and zest for life as Weyauwega-Fremont middle and high school principal!

 

  • Judith “Jodi” McGinn, nominated by KathyJo Uslabar: Jodi followed her call to become a special education teacher for students with behavioral needs and completed her own schooling to become licensed while teaching during distance learning, teaching her own children at home, and she used her free time to sew masks. She is a community theater actress and singer and lover of Broadway shows. Oh, and did I mention she is a true friend? A most worthy candidate.

 

  • John Steinlage, nominated by Lindsey Steinlage: My husband! Family Doctor killing it in three urgent care/respiratory clinics in the Fox Valley! He’s working 16-day stretches with no breaks. We’re so proud of him 🙂

 

  • Karen Rickert, nominated by Betty Conrad: Karen is a local star as she does so much for the seniors at Care Partners nursing home. She volunteers at St. Vincent DePaul store, St. Thomas More Parish, and numerous other charitable organizations. One cannot keep up walking in her shoes each day.

 

  • Kathleen Albrecht, nominated by Jean Orbison: Music, humor, and personal connections were provided to the Fox Valley Memory Project choir by Kathleen Albrecht, director. Kathleen, husband, daughter, made and sent creative videos to choir members. Member comments: ‘You made my isolation day much better. Love the videos. God bless you for doing this.Video example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7QEwh0jdiA

 

  • Kathy Flores, nominated by Rick Steenis: Despite fighting her own health problems that include MS, during this time, Kathy continues to be a leading force for racial and gender equality and diversity in northeastern Wisconsin.

 

  • Kelly Davies, nominated by James Szymanski: She is kind and caring but when things get bad she is on top of the problem.

 

  • Kevin Flogel, nominated by William Crider:  Kevin has not allowed the arts to stop for his students and right now is producing a “Zoomsical” with his summer school students. He has taken it upon himself to learn lots of new technology to keep the arts alive for his students.

 

  • Kim Witkowski, nominated by Mark Colrud: Ms. Witkowski is a therapist for the Veteran’s Administration who has helped many of us who have had traumatic experiences. She also does a bi-weekly phone-in “aftercare program” for the veterans. Her favorite saying is, “She gives all the help she can…one veteran at a time.” She really deserves to be honored and she isn’t aware of my nomination.

 

  • Leah Suprise, nominated by Carey Martin: In the past year Leah brought ProjectSIX Wi to fruition & successfully registered as a non profit. That organization helps support local and some statewide first responders and their families. She has raised money, organized & held appreciation events as well as organized and published a first responders calendar. All this while raising three kids, two of which have special physical and/or emotional needs. She is the TRUE definition of a go getter & incredibly caring person.

 

  • Max Rusch, nominated by Jean Haznar:  Max is a grocery worker who is very proud to be able to serve his community during this time. He works as scheduled without complaints and does whatever is asked of him to the best of his ability.

 

  • Nancy Wilson, nominated by Barbara Gilbery: After retiring from a nursing career, Nancy Wilson volunteers her time and skills. She spends hours making memory bears out of loved ones favorite clothing for grieving family members. She spends endless hours cutting embroidering and sewing bears to offer comfort and solace to all after suffering a great loss.

 

  • Dr. Nathan Larsen, nominated by Susan Konkel: Dr. Larsen implemented many changes to the ER at St. Agnes Hospital in preparation for the appearance of COVID-19. HIs commitment to his community and staff required him to put in hours above and beyond his scheduled shifts, even taking calls and going in well after-hours.

 

  • Nicholas & Chloe Gibson, nominated by Carol Gibson: I am nominating both of my children, Nicholas and Chloe, who are beginning their careers in healthcare at a very challenging time in our history. Nick is a medical school student and Chloe an RN-BSN. They are my heroes. I have no doubt that their kind hearts will be a blessing to their patients!

 

  • Rana Poley, nominated by Carla Hales: Rana has done an outstanding job keeping her dance studios engaged with their students, during the pandemic. Her creative problem solving and dedication to her staff and clients is outstanding!

 

  • Rebecca Lanning, nominated by Ryan Lanning: It is with great pleasure that I nominate my wife for Nominate a Star. Rebecca works as a pharmacists technician at CVS in Target. Since the COVID-19 began she has gone to work every day (with a smile on her face) and made all the necessary adjustments that her superiors ask of her and the rest of the staff. It hasn’t been an easy journey for her, but she has stepped up and made it happen. They now have to wear face-masks everyday (and all the time), have plexiglass in front of them and the guests. Then they have to take their temperatures at the beginning of their shifts and have to [wear] clean scrubs every day. My wife accepts all of these new requirements and still does her regular responsibilities without a complaint. The job of a pharmacist technician is not easy and the rewards are few. My wife has always put her job and the guests first. She strives to please everyone. A pharmacy is considered “essential”; they don’t have the option to work from home. Rebecca has excepted the “new normal” with dignity and respect. This is why I chose to nominate her. She really is my “star” and she is shining brightly.

 

  • Ryan Bly, nominated by Megan Bly: Frontline doctor, loving father, generous spirit

 

  • Ryne Kempen, nominated by Diane Kempen: Ryne works 50+ hours a week as a ICU RN at Bellin Hospital in Green Bay. He was so kind to an elderly patient this last weekend that she cried tears of joy. He is such a caring and lovable person.

 

  • Scott Dankmeyer, nominated by Lori Reblin: Scott is a local star here in the Fox Valley because of his endless drive to keep us well stocked with fruits, vegetables, and other produce at one of our local Pick ‘n Save stores. His commitment to safety and customer service through this entire pandemic has been remarkable. He works 6-7 days a week due to staff shortages but never complains. Scott is an outstanding produce manager and a kind and loving husband, uncle, and brother-in-law. I would love to see Scott be recognized with this award!! He deserves it so very much!! Thank you for your consideration.

 

  • Season Polsin, nominated by Lori Jo Schneider: Creator of Wolf River Art League’s Start Art Mural Project for the summer of 2020! To date 40 hand-painted exterior murals are complete. Season spearheaded fundraising for paint and supplies, is motivator, mentor, artist, supply queen, spokesperson, and constant inspiration! She wants her hometown of New London to shine!

 

  • Teresa McGrath, nominated by Jane Thomas: Our daughter is a high school drama teacher and head of the art department. She has been handling Zoom classes with her students, graduation activities, Zoom summer camps, socially distanced visits to students and other teachers. We have health issues and have been concerned about shopping; she has made bi-weekly runs to grocery stores for us and delivered to the back porch. She listens to her friends and their needs. If she is out and finds chicken or toilet paper for a family that has mentioned that need to her, she picks it up and delivers it. I cannot imagine a woman more deserving of this honor and even though she is our daughter, we marvel at beautiful, caring woman she has become.

 

  • Thomas Sutter, nominated by Laura Leimer: Tom is tireless in his pursuit of local history, social fairness, and his ability to bring out the best in people he meets. As President of the Appleton Historical Society, he’s leading a very diverse group of people to help bring Appleton history alive for all that are interested.