Throughout his career as an elected official, both during his five terms as an alderperson for the City of Greenfield and his 29 years on the Greenfield School Board, Donald Almquist was a strong supporter of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.
And you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who has flipped more pancakes for the department’s various programs.
“Since we’ve started breakfast with Santa Claus and breakfast with the Easter bunny, Don’s been the one behind the scene flipping pancakes,” Parks and Recreation Director Scott Jaquish said. “He’s probably flipped over 12,000 pancakes for us.”
Almquist’s griddle skills were just part of the reason why he was named he was inducted as the 25th member of the department’s hall of fame last week, Jaquish said. Almquist has been a consistent supporter of the department and its mission volunteering in numerous capacities including President of the Golden Agers, Greenfield Lions Club, Greenfield Historical Society, United Seniors of Wisconsin and Greenfield Little League, as well as an Older Adult Volunteer.
Jaquish said Almquist was also instrumental in turning what was an eyesore into beautiful Lavies Park at 72nd and Van Norman Avenue.
“Don has always been a friend of the department and always has taken the value of parks and recreation seriously and used it in his decision making in his public life,” Jaquish said. “Parks and recreation has always been woven into that. He’s an iconic figure in the city of Greenfield for a long time and we’re proud to have him as a hall of fame inductee.”
Almquist was among the honorees at the 22nd annual Greenfield Parks and Recreation Department staff recognition and hall of fame banquet held Feb. 22, at the Greenfield Community Center.
Audrey Ellison also honored
Audrey Ellison, a longtime school board member, was honored as volunteer of the year. In recent years, Ellison has dressed as Mrs. Claus for the annual breakfast with Santa event. She was also instrumental in buying and donating items for the Community Center kitchen and volunteers during older adult events.
“If I ever need any kitchen supplies, she’ll go to rummage sales or estate sales and she will find me the stuff, and not just one, but five of them, and she’ll donate them,” said Karen Malecki, the department’s senior/volunteer services supervisor. “That whole kitchen is stuff Audrey donated.”
Ellison is also instrumental in getting crochet items like hats and mittens made through the department’s Warm-Up Greenfield program to school children and elderly that need them, Malecki said.
“She really cares about Greenfield,” Malecki said. “She’s lived here a long time and has volunteered for everything. She cares about the schools, the kids, the seniors. She doesn’t like to be noticed. She stays behind the scenes. It was good to recognize her.”
Other award winners were:
- Darold Badora - youth sports coach of the year;
- James Andree - adult sports official of the year;
- Marissa Bittner, Patricia Herr, Korben Biersack and Kari Weishan - program instructors of the year;
- Janet Schahczinski - park employee of the year;
- Elizabeth Hamm - recreation employee of the year.
Special service award-winners were Mark Rausch of Clear Channel Outdoor, Michelle Ringwolski of The Villa Assisted Living, Frances Ziegler of Partners of Parks and Recreation, Jeannette Lucero of the Fourth of July Committee and Jackie Schweitzer of the Greendale Park and Recreation Department.