Thank You to Walmart for Their Support of Disaster Relief

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When Northeast Wisconsin was impacted by SIX tornadoes and straight line winds in August, friends, neighbors and local organizations jumped in to help those in need.  The Walmart store (#1982) in Appleton on Mutual Way is still helping.

Michael Queen, Shift Manager, presented Betsy Wandtke, Major Gifts Officer, with a check for $1,000 for Disaster Relief.  The presentation was made during the store’s grand opening after the major remodeling project.  The event was attended by other store managers, employees and organizations also getting support for their causes.  It was an energetic and uplifting meeting.

We want to thank Walmart for their support of the community not only during the disaster, but after as well.  We couldn’t do what we do without their help!

We Can Never Say Thank You Enough!

By Betsy A. Wandtke, Major Gift Officer

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Donors, Board Members and Volunteers at Kodiak Jack’s in Oshkosh.

It’s always our pleasure to be able to thank our donors for giving us the ability to serve others.  In the last couple of weeks of RED CROSS MONTH, we had three Donor Appreciation Events.  They were casual gatherings complete with appetizers and volunteer interaction.  Not only were they successful in saying thank you, but were a lot of fun to boot!

Our attending donors were able to meet board members, staff members and most importantly, the volunteers that serve our organization.  The pictures that were shown and explained, were mostly regarding “Superstorm Sandy”.  Our volunteers were also able to discuss what an ERV (Emergency Response Vehicle) was and how versatile they are, along with other mysteries about how the Red Cross gets things done in the field.

The donors and many of the rest of us were riveted to the stories of survival and the ability of those affected to overcome any situation with the help of a “friend”.  The Red Cross volunteers are those “friends” that show up to do whatever needs to be done.  They are worth their weight in gold!!

The donors also asked questions about SAF (Services to the Armed Forces), Blood Services and other aspects of the American Red Cross.  Our board members and staff were there to answer those questions and more.

We would like to thank Big Tomatoes and Los Banditos in Green Bay, Mark’s East Side in Appleton and Kodiak Jack’s in Oshkosh for their hospitality and donations to make these events happen.

We also would like to thank the volunteers, board members and staff members that were fully engaged in this endeavor.  We could not have done it without them!!

Thank you Miller Electric!!

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Greg Popp, Operations Manager and his team at Miller Electric Mfg. Company’s “Component Products Plant” held a “baked potato sale” and a 50/50 raffle.

All of the proceeds were awarded to the American Red Cross.  The team (pictured above) consists of Josh Deppe, Annette Miller, Jean Thayer, Gregg Popp and Jill Arneson.  Betsy Wandtke, Major Gifts Officer for the Red Cross is receiving the gift.

Miller Electric Mfg. Co. is owned by Illinois Tool Works. Miller Electric Mfg. Co., with headquarters in Appleton, Wisconsin, manufactures arc welding and cutting equipment designed for manufacturing, fabrication, construction, aviation, motorsports, education, agriculture and marine applications. Miller has 1,450 employees, working in 1 million sq. ft. of space.

The company is extremely philanthropic and very involved with the community.  We appreciate their support immensely!

Thank you: The Stephenson National Bank & Trust

Since 2006 The Stephenson National Bank & Trust has been supporting the American Red Cross with donations.  The Red Cross is one organization of dozens that the bank supports every year.  They take very good care of their local charities.

They even have a small get-together to make the presentations of the checks, complete with hot apple cider, cheese, crackers and of course, cookies!

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Dan Peterson (pictured above with Betsy Wandtke, Major Gifts Officer, American Red Cross) is the Executive Vice President.  Jeff Myster and Laura Rowe are also important team members. There were approximately thirty people in attendance including board members, staff and other non-profit organizations.  The bank’s staff are fabulous people and the recipients were grateful for their support.  We are very lucky to be included in their inner circle!

Why would a couple who lives in Reno, Nevada give money to a local Red Cross program in Green Bay, Wisconsin? The answer will warm your heart.

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Betsy Wandtke, Major Gifts Officer with Dennis Jilot as he presented his check for the American Red Cross Transportation Program.

Dennis Jilot grew up in Green Bay when the ground that the Red Cross office and Transportation Center occupies, was just a huge vegetable garden.  As a young man, Dennis went to Preble high school.  It was very close to where he and his parents lived.  Dennis went to college in Stevens Point, WI – as did his bride Lynne.  They were very successful at what they did and their success led them to Reno.  Dennis’s parents remained in Green Bay.

As Dennis’s parents got older, his father had some problems with strength and balance.  Dennis was concerned about this.  His mother was not strong enough to get his father back on his feet and his father wasn’t strong enough to crawl to a chair and pull himself up.  Dennis asked his Mom how they got his Dad up after so many falls.  His Mom stated simply: “We just call the Red Cross and someone always comes to help us”.

They also used the Transportation Center to go to Doctor’s visits and to go to the mall to shop.  It allowed Mr. & Mrs. Jilot to be in control of their life and their situation.

Last year, Dennis was so touched by the selflessness of the Red Cross volunteers and staff that he walked into the office and wrote out a donation check for the Transportation Center.  I met with Dennis to thank him and he again showed his generosity and gave the Transportation Center a donation of $2,500.

These gifts were given because of the passionate volunteers/staff and their willingness to help someone when they needed it…no questions asked.  Dennis wanted to thank all of those people for helping his parents when he was so far away and couldn’t be there to help his Dad up.

I want to tell you all how proud I am of all of you!

Betsy Wandtke
Major Gifts Officer

Heroes Gift

Thank you to First National Bank  for your $2,000 HEROES gift to support local Disaster Relief and Service to the Armed Forces. We are so thankful for your continued support of the American Red Cross.

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In Picture: (l-r) Vicki Jenks,  American Red Cross Board Member and Disaster Volunteer, Kristine Smith, First National Bank, and Betsy Wandtke, American Red Cross Major Gifts Officer.

Welcome Betsy Wandtke – American Red Cross Major Gifts Officer

As one of the newest members of the American Red Cross team, I am thrilled about the people I’m meeting and the challenge ahead of me.  Being a Major Gifts Officer for such an important organization is going to be extremely exciting and fun!

My background is varied (to put it mildly).  I’ve been blessed to have the support I needed to try whatever I wanted.  The thing I realized is that I’ve always wanted to help people.  I guess it’s in my genetics.

Oshkosh is where I was born and raised. When I went to UW-Oshkosh, I studied Karate for fun and taught women’s self-defense at night.  I left school a couple of years later to get married and start two businesses with my husband.  As if having two stepsons wasn’t enough to handle, I joined the First Responder Team, became the Captain and joined the Volunteer Fire Department.

I was also raising money for the “Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation”.  After about ten years of that, I joined the organization as a “Senior Development Officer” for a five-state area (the Midwest).  I met the greatest people and had such a good time raising money – sometimes on the back of a mule or standing in a trout stream with a fly rod in my hand.  That’s when I realized that raising money doesn’t have to happen in a board room.

I left there and followed my other passion – emergency care.  I worked as a trauma EMT in Wausau at “Aspirus Hospital” for several years.  I loved the Emergency Room and the camaraderie.  I really felt like I was making a difference.  During my time there, I was in a position to donate a kidney to my Mom.  I found out that the hospital didn’t have insurance to cover lost wages for organ donation…they do now.  It was great working with them to change the policy.

A few years later I was offered a position as the Director of Operations for “Weatherby Foundation International”.  I jumped at the opportunity. We gave grants to get kids in the outdoors.  I did a total reorganization of the organization and enhanced their yearly, black-tie gala so it was making money.  I’m happy to say that WFI was operating smoothly when I left.

I had a chance to go to Cheyenne to be the Executive Director of “Wyoming Wildlife – The Foundation” while they went through a big transition. The consolidation took about three months.  That’s when I decided that my priorities had changed.  I missed Wisconsin, my family and the Midwest way of life.  I came home

I am still involved in outdoor sports, like hunting and fishing.  I am a First Responder for the Town of Algoma now.  I love where I am and where my life is headed!

I am humbled by the ARC volunteers and employees that give so much.  I am honored to be on the team.   My health and emergency services involvement, along with my fundraising experience will play an important part in what I do here. Everything I’ve done in my past has brought me here.

And “at this moment in time, life doesn’t get any better”!

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