Volunteer of the Year

The V. Thomas Metcalfe Volunteer of the Year Award is named in memory of community leader Tom Metcalfe, a friend of PBS Wisconsin. It honors a volunteer demonstrating outstanding leadership and commitment to the station. We are proud to recognize Mae J. Laatch as our 2019 V. Thomas Metcalfe Volunteer of the Year.

During the past year, Laatsch volunteered more than 400 hours for all of PBS Wisconsin’s major events – including Garden & Landscape Expo, The Great Wisconsin Quilt Show, PBS Kids Get Up and Go!, the PBS Wisconsin online Auction and all four membership drives. Our volunteers and staff gave her their strong nomination.

Thank you, Mae!

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Mae J. Laatch

“I taught marketing for over 45 years in the Wisconsin Technical College System. I guess I just love selling and meeting the needs of the consumer. One never knows what can happen if you’re in the right place at the right time.”

–Mae Laatsch, 2019 V. Thomas Metcalfe Volunteer of the Year

Volunteer of the Year Mae J. Laatsch

Though she volunteers for many events, she’s best known for selling thousands of raffle tickets at PBS Wisconsin’s Expo events at the Alliant Energy Center, challenging herself to sell out by noon. Her “lingo” rings through the hallway: “Don’t buy – can’t win!” “Chances of winning are better than the lottery!”

“I get many comments about having worked for the circus,” she says, with a laugh. “No; I taught marketing for over 45 years in the Wisconsin Technical College System.”

Laatsch is the oldest volunteer to receive this award, a fact she notes and appreciates. Though she doesn’t recall when she first started volunteering for the station (“I know it was before we used computers for the membership drives…”), she started coming with her colleagues in the Madison College Teachers Organization, then kept volunteering through her retirement.

During the past year, Laatsch volunteered more than 400 hours for all of PBS Wisconsin’s major events – including Garden & Landscape Expo, The Great Wisconsin Quilt Show, PBS Kids Get Up and Go!, the PBS Wisconsin online Auction and all four membership drives. PBS Wisconsin volunteers and staff gave her their strong nomination.

Over the years, Laatsch has appeared on the phones, at local businesses and even on television as an auctioneer. Last spring, she took her skills on the road for Auction. She loved the opportunity of traveling the state to pick up donations, visiting towns in Wisconsin she had never been to before.

Volunteering with PBS Wisconsin has been the perfect way for a “people person” to meet staff members, fellow viewers and volunteers of all ages. Although Laatsch retired as a marketing instructor in 2010, she networks with the people she meets every day as if she were still on a sales floor.

“I guess I just love selling and meeting the needs of the consumer,” says Laatsch. “One never knows what can happen if you’re in the right place at the right time.”

Congratulations, Mae! Thank you for all your hard work!

Past Recipients of Volunteer of the Year

2018 Mary Rondou
2017 Tom McVary
2016 Julie Brockman
2015 Brian Ruppert
2014 Sandy Rupnow
2013 Fran Schultz
2012 Sandra Levin
2011 Mark Schoenleber
2010 Andy Koch
2009 Bill Schloemer
2008 Stan Druckenmiller
2007 Ann Scott

2006 Alan Hackbarth
2005 LouJean Steenberg
2004 Gary Kimmerly
2003 Ingrid Lind-Jahn and Pete Jahn
2002 Janice and Michael Stone
2001 Cheryl Thompson
2000 Todd Liebergen
1999 Nancy and John O’Neill
1998 Janet Weidemann
1997 Ann Clark
1996 Shel Ellestad
1995 Kristine Wiese

1994 Sally Ann Miller
1993 John Schulist
1992 Jeannie Druckenmiller
1991 Linda Barker
1990 Rudy Fritz
1989 Grace Homb
1988 Rodney Pflaum
1987 Ann Campbell
1986 M J Combs
1985 Linda Berman
1984 Karen Godshall