Submitted by Marklund
More than 100 Marklund volunteers and staff honored the Rev. Don Kretzschmar of Wheaton as the Marklund 2012 Volunteer of the Year during the organization's annual Volunteer Recognition luncheon.
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Each year Marklund's Volunteer Recognition event honors its many volunteers for their dedication and commitment to making everyday life possible for individuals with profound disabilities.
As a 23-year veteran volunteer at Marklund, Pastor Don has donated 1,394 hours within 1,444 visits to Marklund and its clients -- children and adults with severe developmental disabilities.
"We are extremely grateful for all of Pastor Don's efforts, dedication and commitment," said Cathy Nikrandt, Marklund's volunteer manager. "Everyone around Marklund knows him as Pastor Don. For all of his years of service, we cannot thank him enough for everything he has done, the time he has spent with our clients and all of his special talents."
In presenting the award, Marklund CEO Gil Fonger was interrupted by the organization's honorary mayor, client Clint F., who said everyone "should just stand up for Pastor Don." The audience responded with a genuinely enthusiastic standing ovation.
Ordained in 1969 and a graduate of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Kretzschmar has served congregations in New York and northern Illinois and has given specialized pastoral care to people with disabilities and their families for more than 20 years.
In addition to his many responsibilities as a chaplain, he also serves as the executive director of Voice of Care, an organization that provides ministry to persons with developmental challenges and those who care for them within congregations, homes, residential facilities and communities.
Other recognitions made at the Marklund volunteer luncheon included awards for notable achievers, including Dolores Bettencourt of Schaumburg, Evan Clark of Geneva and Jismon Kuruppath of Bloomingdale for serving the most hours at the Marklund Resale Store in Wood Dale, Marklund Hyde Center in Geneva, and Marklund Children's Home in Bloomingdale, respectively.
Staff also presented awards to Phyllis Perry of St. Charles as Marklund's 2012 Special Events Partner, and Zurich American Insurance Company in Schaumburg as the 2012 Volunteer Group of the Year.
Marklund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that makes everyday life possible for individuals with profound disabilities. Those served by Marklund are able to enjoy a full and meaningful life supported by a compassionate nurturing environment, a strong partnership with the community and an unmatched dedication to personal growth.
Marklund annually serves nearly 200 families throughout the greater Chicago area. The organization features three sites: the Marklund at Mill Creek campus in Geneva, Marklund Philip Center for Children in Bloomingdale, which includes the Marklund Day School and Life Skills Academy, as well as the Marklund Resale Store in Wood Dale.
For information, visit www.Marklund.org.