Dec 7: Awards Dinner/Holiday Party Summary

On Thursday, December7th 2023 GBTU held our Annual Awards Dinner/Holiday Party at the Village Grille Events Hall. It was a wonderful evening featuring an all-you-can-eat home-style chicken buffet including baked chicken mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetable or baked beans, coleslaw, cranberry sauce, fresh bread w butter and assorted dessert bars. During this time, we were treated to excellent entertainment as Amy Megna brought her keyboard to play and sing classic Christmas songs (and other well-known favorites). Once dinner was finished, and the music came to an end, we presented our 2023 awards. The evening commenced with the a drawing for around a dozen Christmas-themed door prizes (courtesy of Christina Meseberg). Nearly 50 guests came out to help celebrate.

For 2023 we recognized four amazing recipients in three award categories.

President’s Club: Commonly given to a “newer” member who has demonstrated a high level of activity within the chapter. Historically this recognition has been also associated with work project participation. This award comes with a GBTU personalized clothing item of the individual’s choosing.

2023 recipient – Jon Ostanek

Jon is a regular face at GBTU work projects including coming out for the Haller Creek and North Branch Beaver Creek work days in 2023. He was a volunteer at our 47th Annual Fundraising Banquet in April and our Kid’s Fishing Day in July. Jon was also at many of our meetings and is a TU life-member.

Distinguished Service: For undying contributions giving freely of time, money, and talent for many years.

2023 Recipient – Pat Hill

Pat has been a GBTU member since 1989 (how awesome is that !). He has been at nearly every GBTU work project going back many years, including all five of them in 2023. He has been a Banquet Committee member/banquet volunteer (check the 50/50 raffle table) and a volunteer at our annual Kid’s Fishing Day as far back as I can remember. He is a meeting regular who was also served for a long-time on the GBTU Board of Directors. In the past, Pat has been recognized by GBTU as a President’s Club recipient (1995), Member of the Year (1997), and Silver Trout (2012). The Distinguished Service award is almost like a GBTU Hall-of-Fame honor and Pat absolutely earned his spot.

Member of the Year: An individual who has demonstrated outstanding efforts over the past year.

2023 Recipients – Paul Kruse & Randy Rake

In 2023 Paul contributed to our GBTU mission in a multiple, large, unmistakable ways. One of these is his role as our chapter’s Work Project Chair. In this position, he helped coordinate, plan, & communicate five habitat improvement days. Many of these included involving other regional TU chapters and local/state/federal gov’t agencies. If that wasn’t enough, he also purchases, and prepares, lunches for the volunteers following the work days. Paul has been serving our coldwater resources as GBTU Work Project Chair for several years now.

Another large part of Paul’s giving to the TU community is through his position as GBTU Veteran’s Service Partnership (VSP) Chair. He has been the leader of this part of our chapter for many years. The VSP program, led by Paul, includes fly-tying classes nearly every other Monday through the entire year (no small commitment) and fishing outings (of which there were multiple ones in 2023). Paul was also instrumental in securing a WI State DNR grant that helped reimburse thousands of dollars towards our VSP program.

Paul is a meeting regular & member of our Trout Tails Educational Trail Committee. He has served the chapter on our BOD, and as a past President, for many years.

Randy is a GBTU life member who joined our chapter in 1992. Despite living in Montana for the past ~ten years, he continues to have an enormous impact on the coldwater resources of Northeast Wisconsin through GBTU. For the past three years Randy has been a very important member of our Trout Educational Trail Committee. He designed all fourteen of our signs. The content on the signs involved lots of research, and reaching out to professionals, for important information. If that wasn’t enough he cleverly came up with a theme within the theme…our educational trail would now be a GBTU Trout “Tails” Educational Trail. The “Tails” part is a play on words as trout physically have “tails” and the signs tell a “tale” of our clean coldwater resources and the trout that depend on them. The signs themselves have a sort of fish tail pattern that adorns the frame. This year Randy completed the final wave of eight signs. He joined us virtually for every committee meeting. He maintained a running Standards and Project Overview Word Document to keep all our sign efforts organized and on track. This also provides us with a historical piece to reference at any time in the future.

Randy, and his wife Sarah Fenton, have been sponsors of our Annual Conservation Banquet for many years. He is also a long-time designer of our posters for the event. Randy has also served the chapter on our BOD, and as a past President, for many years.

Both Paul and Randy join a very, very short list of GBTU members who have received the Member-of-the-Year recognition twice in their lifetime (Paul – 2003 / Randy – 2010).

A big thanks to everyone who came out and made it an wonderful evening !