Catholic Charities holds 20th annual awards ceremony Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015 -- 12:00 AM
cc award recipients
Catholic Charities award recipients pictured with Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison (far left) and Jackson Fonder (far right), president and CEO of Catholic Charities, are, from left: Faith in Action Award winner Susanna Herro and Leadership Award winners John R. Karsten, Mary C. Uhler, Donald F. “Sleepy” Hauth, and Ken Udelhofen. (Photo by Michael Mowbray of Beautiful Portraits by Michael)

MIDDLETON -- On November 12, hundreds of supporters of Catholic Charities Madison (CC) came together to honor those who have been great examples of its mission.

The 20th annual Faith in Action Celebration was held at the Madison Marriott West in Middleton. The event honors those who put their faith in action and provides financial support for Catholic Charities’ many programs.

Catholic Charities Board Chair Tom Merfeld welcomed everyone, saying, “It is because of the program participants, our success stories, and the services of Catholic Charities” that he is proud to serve on the board.

Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison spoke next.

Ahead of the Year of Mercy starting December 8, he thanked everyone for their time, talent, and treasure “that there might be mercy in the diocese.”

He called Catholic Charities “one of the main vehicles for exercising the mercy of Christ,” adding “mercy always heals -- those who receive it and it even heals more those who offer it.”

Following dinner, the awards were presented. Jay Wilson, sports director for WISC-TV in Madison, served as emcee.

“Tonight is a night to be inspired,” Wilson said. “Inspired by leaders throughout the Diocese of Madison who contribute their time and talents to make our communities better. Inspired by future leaders, our high school youth, who are already making a difference in their communities. Inspired by program participants who have made great strides and whose lives have been strengthened by Catholic Charities’ services.”

Leadership Awards

The Catholic Charities Leadership Award honors area Catholics who consistently incorporate Catholic values in their leadership and enrich the lives of many.

CC Board Member and Event Chair Toni Prestigiacomo presented the awards.

This year, the honorees were:

Donald F. “Sleepy” Hauth is a member of St. Clement Parish in Lancaster. For more than four decades, he has been the parish maintenance person for all the equipment in the church basement and oversaw facility upgrades over the years. He has also been the chairman of food service and served at the Fall Festival Chicken BBQ.

“I’m very humbly honored to receive this award,” Hauth said. He thanked St. Clement Pastor Fr. John Sasse for nominating him for the award. He also thanked family and friends for joining him on his special evening. He joked that he spent so much time coordinating events in the church basement at St. Clement, his late wife Pat would tell him to move his bed there, since it would “save time.”

Ken Udelhofen is also a member of St. Clement Parish in Lancaster. He has given much of his time at events and places such as the Knights of Columbus pancake breakfast and spaghetti supper, Grant County Thrift Shop, Toys for Tots, and the St. Clement Parish Fall Festival, among many others.

Udelhofen also thanked Father Sasse for nominating him and the parish community for all their support. “I didn’t prepare a speech,” he said, but he also thanked his family and fellow Knights of Columbus for joining him for the evening.

John R. Karsten is a member of St. Albert the Great Parish in Sun Prairie and has served on the Camp Gray Board of Directors for the past 30 years. He has also served on many committees at his parish.

Karsten thanked Catholic Charities for presenting him with the award. “It is truly appreciated and very humbling,” he said, “I feel that to be a good leader you need to have people in your life that are willing to listen and be led as well as being able to inspire.” He added “behind every leader, there is a number of successful individuals who work hard” and have had the greatest influence in his life. Among these he said are the current and past staff members of Camp Gray, his faith community at St. Albert the Great, Msgr. Larry Bakke -- former director of Camp Gray and pastor at St. Albert the Great, as well as his family, including his wife of 42 years, Diane.

Mary C. Uhler is a member of Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Madison. She has been the editor of the Catholic Herald newspaper in the Diocese of Madison for the past 29 years, and has been on the staff for more than 40 years. Uhler has served many roles at her parish including as a marriage prep couple with her husband John. She is also a member of the Madison Serra Club and Madison Catholic Woman’s Club.

Uhler thanked Bishop Morlino and Catholic Charities for the award as well as staff members of the Catholic Herald. She also thanked her family in attendance and her pastor, Msgr. Ken Fielder. She recalled when she first started at the Catholic Herald, the offices shared a building with what would later be called Catholic Charities. “I became aware very quickly of the important work being done there,” Uhler said. “We helped their office share the good news of what they [Catholic Charities] were doing up until the present time,” she added. “I renew my commitment to continue my work to promote the Catholic Church and Catholic Charities programs and to advance the message of the Gospel to help those in need.”

Faith in Action Award

The recipient of the 2015 Faith in Action Award was Susanna Herro.

Jackson Fonder, president and CEO of Catholic Charities, presented the award. It honors past Catholic Charities board members for their outstanding commitment and contribution of time, talent, and treasure.

Herro is a member of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Madison. She served on the Catholic Charities Board from 2002 to 2008. She was involved in numerous committees and was a former chair of the Catholic Charities Board of Directors as well as the first awards dinner committee chair.

Herro recalled being influenced by her parents at an early age to “make the world a better place” and being involved with the Catholic Youth Organization as a child as the start of a lifetime involved with the Catholic Church. She said it “ignited a passion in me to help in the Church wherever I could.” She added being on the board of Catholic Charities also showed her, “the loving heart of our Church.” She encouraged everyone to serve saying, “I hope that each and every one of you with your talents and your many gifts will join me in asking, ‘What’s next, Lord? How can I serve you?’”

Scholarship Awards

The annual youth scholarship award pays tribute to Mary Jeanne Kennedy Anderson in recognition of her devotion and service to children in schools and honor her life guided by Catholic faith. Students who are nominated write an essay discussing the ways they live out their faith. The winners receive a $2,000 scholarship.

The award winners were:

Jamie Engelke attends Fort Atkinson High School and is a member of St. Joseph Parish in Fort Atkinson. She is a third grade religion teacher at St. Joseph and is involved with sacramental prep retreat and Youth Group. She is also involved with many activities at her school as well as the Girl Scouts.

“I enjoy that I get to spread my love and faith to others and try to encourage them to grow in love and faith as well . . . Putting faith in action helps to strengthen my community,” Engelke said in her essay.

Jonathan Ibach attends Edgewood High School of the Sacred Heart in Madison (EHS) and is a member of Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish in Sun Prairie. Ibach is involved in his parish as a choir member, musician, Mass server, and Fall Festival volunteer. He is also heavily involved with the Boy Scouts and received the Ad Altare Dei emblem showing growth in his relationship to God and the Church.

“Because God provides us with talents, it is our responsibility to use our talents in various activities,” Ibach said in his essay. “By doing this, we honor and thank God for bestowing gifts upon us and ultimately put our faith in action.”

Caroline Locke attends Beloit Memorial High School and is a member of Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in Beloit. She is involved with Love Begins Here diocesan youth mission trips, the planning team for the Frassati Fest diocesan Catholic youth conference, and packaging meals for Kids Against Hunger.

“Living a life with a strong Faith in Action is extremely important to me because I know that I am sharing God’s love with those I help,” Locke said in her essay. “It brings me joy to see the positive ways I can impact the lives of others.”

Evelyn Stein attends EHS and is a member of St. Maria Goretti Parish in Madison. She is her parish’s representative on the St. Vincent de Paul Youth Service Council as well as an altar server at her parish. Stein also participated in a mission trip to Chicago during her junior year at EHS -- working with kids in afterschool programs, caroling at an elder care center, and serving a meal at a homeless shelter.

“When I serve with faith in mind, I really begin to empathize with the people I am helping,” said Stein in her essay. “It becomes so much more obvious why serving others is such an important component of my Catholic faith.

President’s Awards

Fonder presented the President’s Awards to recognize success stories of Catholic Charities clients to acknowledge the accomplishments of those who receive Catholic Charities’ services.

“Their stories are touching and inspiring,” said Fonder.

The recipients told their stories in video segments, alongside Catholic Charities’ staff who work with them. The honorees included:

Seth Albertson, who is part of the Supportive Living Program. Albertson has dealt with many challenges in his life, including autism, especially with interpersonal relationships. He struggled living on his own in adulthood, but now, through the help of Catholic Charities, he has been able to create a plan and start his own business for the artwork he has a talent in creating.

Dominic Davis has turned his life around with the help of Hope Haven and the Chris Farley House. Davis sold and used drugs at a young age growing up in Chicago. After being kicked out of his foster home at age 18, he found himself living on the streets and later moved to Madison, again selling drugs to survive. He began to turn his life around after being arrested and given an opportunity to live at the Chris Farley House. There he learned skills to help him in society and received counseling. He is now a hard-working employee at the Second Harvest Foodbank of Wisconsin.

Carl Thompson is part of the Support Broker Program. Thompson dealt with anxiety issues making social interactions a challenge for him. His support team helped him to take steps to become more independent and connected with the community. He’s learned cooking skills, took art classes, and participates in community activities. With support and encouragement, Thompson was able to attend work regularly.

Arthur Zietlow is helped through the Respite Care Team Ministry. Zietlow has been on both sides of the ministry, once serving as a companion in aging services, helping older clients by taking them to events and area attractions, and helping them keep their lives organized. When Zietlow became older, he had to surrender his driver’s license and companion care work. He began to need assistance himself. He now has his own companion to take him on outings and to be a friend.

To learn more about Catholic Charities’ programs and services, or to donate securely online, visit

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