Get to Know DWOS All-Star: Paul Kardish

I was born in California but raised in Philadelphia (FLY EAGLES FLY!) as the middle of seven kids.  My mom, Pat, was probably the best cheerleader in the world and I wish she was here to see whatever it is I do on February 24th!  I have been married to my best friend who just also happens to be a wonderful person and mom, Lisa, for 10 years.  I could not have chosen a better partner in crime to go through life with than Lisa!   In my mind, there is no better person for me than her and she is the love of my life.   Lisa and I have an amazing son, Hudson, who is 7 and makes us real proud every single day.  I am very fortunate and proud to have such an absolute spectacular family!  I can only hope one day I am able to repay my family, especially Lisa, for their belief in me.

Currently, I am General Counsel at Schneider and have been there for the last 4+ years.  Schneider has been a very rewarding professional experience where I don’t think I ever worked as hard but also never had as much fun/laughed so hard as I ever had in a job.  Schneider is a remarkable company with phenomenal leaders and I am very lucky to be a part of such a great team.

I have been very fortunate to serve our country as a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation for almost six years.  It was with the FBI incidentally that I had my first exposure to the Red Cross – I was working a bank robbery/bombing crime scene and the Red Cross services van and emergency services team stayed with us the entire time we processed the crime scene – almost 24 hours!

I am a very proud alumnus of Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA which had great success in this year’s NCAA March Madness finishing runner-up!

I am very fortunate to serve as a member of the board of the American Red Cross for Northeast Wisconsin – Greatest American Red Cross Chapter in the U.S.  The members of the board, led by Steve Hansen and Pat Exarhos, are some of the best in the business and our Chapter is in great hands!  Can’t thank all the Red Cross volunteers enough for all they do…they are truly unsung heroes!

I decided to take part in DWOS All-Stars to help maximize donations on behalf of the greatest Red Cross chapter in the US!  Also, it is just something I would never do…so why not embarrass yourself for a good cause!

Get to Know DWOS All-Star: Mary Gronnert

I’m the Coordinator for the Schneider Foundation.  I’ve been married to Hank Kollross for 17 years and have four children and five grandchildren ranging from 1 year to 20 years.  We love to golf and put the top down on our ’69 Pontiac Firebird and cruise.   As a board member for CASA of Brown County, I have a strong passion for helping abused and neglected children.

My favorite moment from my initial DWOS experience in 2013 is winning the People’s Choice Award for my Jive.

Why did I decide to take part in DWOS All-Stars? My husband, Hank, was diagnosed with Acute Leukemia in October 2016 and needed numerous blood transfusions and platelet infusions eventually leading to a bone marrow transplant.  He said I had to do this and dedicate my dance to all the wonderful people who take the time to donate blood, platelets and organs to help others.   Thanks to all the treatments, donors and, by the Grace of God, he is now cancer-free. I especially want to thank his bone marrow donor, a 19-year-old female, whom we hope to meet some day. We call her Jessica and I am dedicating my dance to her this evening.

Get to Know DWOS All-Star: Dan Terrio

I am employed as an Instructional Designer in the Medicare and Retirement division of UnitedHealthcare. I am part of a team that researches and designs training programs that assist sales agents in performing at a high level while maximizing sales growth for the organization. In addition, I also moonlight as a DJ and MC for Elite Music Service, which gives me the opportunity to create memorable events for our clients while igniting a deeper passion for music and making people smile.

I was born and raised on the Stockbridge-Munsee Indian Reservation in Bowler, WI. I grew up in a mixed cultural household (my mom is German descent and my dad is Native American and Italian descent). I am the oldest of two. I have one brother, Andrew (30). Andy is married to his wife, Ronni, and together they have three kids: My nephews, Aden (10), Kash (7) and my niece, Baelyn (5). As is standard with many Native American families, I also have many cousins who grew up with me and were treated like they were my siblings.

Growing up on the reservation, you learn the importance of community, culture, giving and family. It was instilled in me at a young age to always give more than you receive. My family practiced what they preached and always gave back in different ways; through volunteerism, careers and the list goes on. The majority of my life has had a focus on community engagement, youth activism and education. These areas have been a passion and the center point of my life’s work for over 20 years. When I am not attempting to save the world, I enjoy participating in community theatre, karaoke, taking random road trips, biking, volunteering and baking cakes full of smiles and rainbows.

It is hard to pick one favorite moment from my DWOS16 experience. In the fall of 2015, I was at a turning point in my life where I was ready to experience something new and something that would take me out of my comfort zone. I didn’t expect this experience to change my life the way it did. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. While every experience was memorable, one stands out. I had the opportunity to return to Bowler Elementary School (the school I attended growing up) to speak about the American Red Cross, my life experiences and the importance of giving back. I challenged the nearly 100 students (Kindergarten to 6th grade) to a penny war. One month later, Mina and I traveled back to Bowler to learn how much the students raised and dance for them. I will never forget the look on Mina’s face when the students presented me a check for over $600. I was speechless. I’ve always been a firm believer that when you empower a young person into community service, they empower their peers and that empowers a community. This was a prime example of this. I’m proud to be a Bowler Panther!

I was approached shortly after my DWOS16 experience to take part in DWOS All-Stars. Originally, I planned to decline the offer. It was at the encouragement of my mother, Jill that I decided to accept the offer to join the cast of DWOS All-Stars. On September 12, 2017, I celebrated 20 years of life from injuries sustained in an automobile accident. In that accident, I suffered a head injury, and severe injuries to my knee and elbow. I received several units of blood, which saved my life.

It was a moment of encouragement that gave me the direction that forever changed my life. While in the hospital, my grandmother, the late Verna Johnson-Miller, said to me: “You have been given a second chance at life. Now its up to you to figure out why.” This moment gave me the drive to live for something. I’ve never ceased on finding the ‘why’.

On February 24, 2018, I will celebrate 20 years when I took my first steps without the assistance of a wheelchair, crutches or a walker. In April of 2018, I will celebrate 20 years as an American Red Cross volunteer. Looking back over the 20 years, I have lived a fulfilled and accomplished life. What better way to celebrate 20 years of life, accomplishments and volunteerism and to celebrate the next chapter in my life than to participate as a DWOS All-Star?

Get to Know DWOS All-Star: Kati Donaho

I’m a sales manager for Hyatt Hotels who recently relocated from the Green Bay area to Houston, TX. I have a husband of over 13 years and two children (Jameson, 9 Finley almost 7). I enjoy spending time with my family, but also enjoy working out, listening/reading books, and watching movies in my spare time.

What is a favorite moment(s) from your initial DWOS experience?

I think winning People’s Choice had to be the top because I was so nervous I was going to fall or completely forget my steps!

Why did you decide to take part in DWOS All-Stars?

The Red Cross plays such an important role in the community and I wanted to be a part of that experience again. In addition, I have made lifelong friends from the first go-round and wanted the opportunity to work with even more amazing people.

Get to Know DWOS All-Star: Keith Cronin

I’m originally from Racine. I’ve worked in the hospitality industry for 30 years and am currently Manager of Guest Services for the Green Bay Packers. I’m also a Zumba instructor at Western Racquet and Fitness. I enjoy time with family and friends, love traveling and meeting new people, love to laugh, love Disney, and pandas crack me up!

Quotes I live by:

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” – Charlie Chaplin

“Life is all about choices and decisions”

“Life is what you make of it….if it doesn’t fit then you make alterations”

“Work hard in silence.  Let your success be your noise”

My favorite moments from my DWOS 2015 experience are meeting some incredible people and doing something out of the norm to raise money for the American Red Cross.  Of course, hearing my name announced as the winner of the People’s Choice Award for the Rhythm showcase was incredibly spectacular.  I couldn’t stop smiling!

I decided to take part in DWOS All-Stars because it’s a wonderful cause and it’s the 10th and final year. I wanted to be part of the magic again and wanted to do something positive and impactful for others before I turned 50.

Get to Know DWOS All-Star: Billi Jo Baneck

I am a full-time 911 dispatcher for Brown County Public Safety and Bridal Coordinator at Ruby Design. I
grew up a farm girl in Wautoma, the oldest of six children. My parents and youngest brother Charlie
were killed in a house fire in 2008 and I eventually made my way to Green Bay.

My hobbies include: crafting, wino nights, traveling, and spending time with my nieces. I also took up
public speaking—conquering one of my greater fears in order to share my story with others.

Volunteering has been a passion of mine my entire life, but became increasingly stronger after I lost my
family members. I became a Red Cross Volunteer with the Disaster Team and Dispatch Team. I volunteer
at the schools, for police supporter organizations, and anywhere else that asks for help.

DWOS 2017 was such a great experience that involved so many amazing moments! First off…any time
with “The Hoochies” is bound to be entertaining! Practices with Michael always left my face stretched
out from laughing so much! (Mina often wondered how we learned anything by working together—said
it was like listening to siblings goof off the entire hour). However, even through all the nerves and
shaking legs and unsure mind, being on the dance floor surrounded by so many supporters was THE
BEST moment of all. Watching video of my sister Katie being a blubbering mess will always come back to
haunt her…and warm my heart, all at the same time.

Why did I decide to take part in DWOS All-Stars? My story isn’t finished yet. Every time I do something
that takes me outside my comfort zone, people see that, and a lot respect that and try to emulate that.
I’ve learned over the years that being my own strong person makes those around me stronger too. Zeb
and Bill started this journey with me three years ago with Bill and we are in a unique position to end it
all together. The amazing people that are involved in DWOS become family. I am honored to be a part of
this family and wouldn’t miss the last goodbye for anything!