Ascension honors locals for quality of life work

For the Metro Wire

Ascension St. Michael’s Foundation honored several local figures for their ongoing work in improving quality of life across Portage Co.

Ascension St. Michael’s Foundation held its annual Community Leadership Celebration on May 4 at SentryWorld.

Lorraine Avery is a 2019 Recipient of the Quality of Life Leadership Award. Recently retired from Associated Bank as Senior Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, Avery served over 40 years at various levels in the banking business, including creating and managing the first Customer Service and Call Center in Stevens Point and expanding that department to over 300 employees. Avery lives in Plover and serves on numerous committees and boards, some of which include the Women’s Fund of Portage County, Junior Achievement, United Way, Girl Scouts, Board of Visitors for UWSP, Portage County Business Council and Portage County Humane Society.

Mary Patoka received the 2019 Quality of Life Leadership Award. Serving CAP Services in Stevens Point since 1994, currently Patoka holds the position of CEO, managing a workforce of 250 employees with a $17 million operating budget and $50 million of assets. Patoka works as the advocate and voice for many people in the community whose lives has been transformed through advance social and economic justice. Patoka has taken part in many organizations which fit that spectrum, such as LIFT Wisconsin, Community Investment Advisory Council, Greater Wisconsin Opportunity Fund, Impact Seven, Inc., WISCAP Association, Great Lakes Capital Fund, Poverty Outcomes, and Improvement Network Regional Fox Valley Group and Midwest Industrial Redevelopment Fund.

Ellis Construction was awarded the 2019 Quality of Life Corporate Leadership Award. Serving Stevens Point for over 86 years, the company is now led by second and third-generation owners. Founded on the principles of honesty, integrity, hard work and quality, these values remain at the heart of their work today and giving back to their community is evident in the outreach they have provided since their very existence. Their good work and success is visible in many landmarks and building projects they’ve completed throughout the state, but just as important, but not so visible, are the many ways they find solutions to give back to their community through charities, civic organizations, educational programs, or business development, earning them this recognition presented at the Community Leadership Celebration.