Health Care and Essential Workers Recognized at Golden Heart Awards

Two new categories will join the list of volunteers to be recognized during the 19th annual Golden Heart Awards ceremony May 6. This year, Health Care Workers of the Year and Essential Workers of the Year will be recognized along with the Adult Volunteer of the Year and Group Volunteers of the Year. The Environmental Stewardship Award, Lifetime of Service Award (the Karl May Award) and the Youth Volunteer Scholarship Award will also be given.

Ordinarily, the Golden Heart Awards focus solely on volunteers. But after a year that was anything but ordinary, event co-chair Lori Vorpahl said that adding two new categories felt right.

“We really felt the whole community benefited from the hard work of these individuals this past year and felt it [was] important to recognize them,” she said. “While we were all afraid to step outside our homes, these people went to work.” 

Although 2021 is showing glimmers of life returning to normal, the organizers of the year’s award celebration will play it safe by offering a hybrid format. In previous years, the emceed event at the Stone Harbor Resort in Sturgeon Bay included a dinner and keynote speaker.

“The room and stage will still be set up as if it is the live event, but only the nominees will attend in person, socially distanced and masked,” Vorpahl said.

Guests will be able to watch the livestreamed event on the award program’s YouTube channel and Facebook page. Dan Tjernagel, superintendent of Sturgeon Bay Schools; and Pam Seiler, executive director of Destination Sturgeon Bay, will emcee the event.
Vorpahl admitted this year felt like organizing two events, but neither she nor co-chair Julie LaLuzerne minded the extra effort.

“I think volunteers always need to be recognized, even though most don’t want any recognition,” she said. “As former award winners, I guess you could say this event touched us, so we felt it was important to continue to honor these people.”

Before closing its doors, the Volunteer Center of Door County orchestrated the annual event as a way to celebrate and honor some of our community’s most active volunteers. Throughout its 18 years of hosting this event, it raised more than $55,000 in donations for community nonprofits and provided more than $11,000 in scholarships to college-bound Door County graduates.

Even in the absence of the Volunteer Center, the Golden Heart Awards are continuing under the leadership of Vorpahl and LaLuzerne, raising approximately $10,000 this year. All award recipients will receive a $500 gift for their nonprofit, and the student scholarship winner will receive a $500 gift for post-high school education expenses or the charity of her or his choice.

A complete list of 2021 nominees follows.

Adult Volunteer of the Year Nominees 
• Shawn Carpenter: Sunshine House Resources
• Peter Kerwin: United Way of Door County
• Ann Morgan: Midsummer’s Music
• Dawn VandeVoort: Leadership Door County
• Jennifer Thompson: Northern Door Children’s Center
• Taylor Eggener and Kaden Stahlke: Boys & Girls Club    

​Youth Volunteer Scholarship Award Nominees
• Isabella Dipple
• Natalee Jandrin
• Nicole Norton
• Brady Tooley

Group Volunteers of the Year Nominees
• Open Door Pride
• YMCA Food Program volunteers
• Door County Medical Center Auxiliary door monitors
• Door-Tran volunteer drivers
• DC Emergency Support Coalition volunteer team

Karl May Lifetime of Service Award Nominees
• Theresa Alexander: Belgian Heritage Center
• Susan Kohout: League of Women Voters
• Patricia Vickman: Big Brothers Big Sisters, Brussels Lions Club

Environmental Stewardship Award Nominees
• Mark Holey: Crossroads at Big Creek
• Friends of Peninsula State Park

Health Care Workers of the Year Nominees
• Scandia Village–Good Samaritan Society: Michelle Notz, director; and staff
• Dr. James Heise, chief medical officer, Door County Medical Center; and Sue Powers, health officer and manager; Door County Public Health
• Door County Medical Center School Nursing Team: Dr. Amy Fogerty, Ann Bretl, and team
• COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination Team, Door County Medical Center: Nancy Daoust; Michelle Johnson, ER and outpatient medical clinic coordinator; Jane Metko, laboratory director; and Amy Konop, pharmacy director
• Incident Command Team, Door County Medical Center: Brian Stephens, CEO; Dr. James Heise; Ann Bretl; Nancy Daoust; Jenna Jennerjohn; Jane Metko; Leanne Pinkert; Beth Resch; Skye Reynolds; Erin Shortall; Andy Starr; Jodi Hibbard; Greg Holub; Christa Krause; Andy LaLuzerne; Erik Schrier; and Kevin Grohskopf

Essential Workers of the Year Nominees
• Sonny’s Italian Kitchen and Pizzeria: Jason Estes and staff
• Tadych’s Econofoods: Jon Calhoun and employees
• Main Street Market: Kaaren and Steve Northrop, David and LaVonne Callsen, Sam and Melissa Northrop, and employees
• Door County child care providers: Northern Door Children’s Center, Door Community Child Development Center, Adventures Child Care, Zion Lutheran Early Childhood Center, and home-based child care providers
• Door County Emergency Response Fund: Bret Bicoy and Amy Kohnle, co-chairs and organizers
• Door County Fire Chiefs Coalition and Emergency Response Coalition Team: Chris Hecht and team
• Prince of Peace Lutheran Church’s family meals for Sturgeon Bay school staff: Pastor James Gomez and volunteers
• Door County Food Pantry Coalition: Eight Door County food pantries