Distinguished Service Honored at Pope John XXIII Awards
Pictured left to right: President Rick Artman, Marci Madary, Donna and John Hansen.
Donna and John Hansen, well-known community volunteers, benefactors, and Catholic servant leaders; and the late Earl Madary, a musician, teacher, and peace and justice advocate were named recipients of the Pope John XXIII Award for Distinguished Service at an awards banquet and ceremony in April.
The Hansens emphasize faith and values in their personal and professional lives. They promote a style of servant leadership and financial stewardship that has bettered the lives of many whom they have served over the years.
“Donna and John truly live the ‘Golden Rule,’” said Viterbo president Rick Artman. “They model gospel values by the way they live and through example and I believe it is out of their love of God and their gratitude that they give generously and selflessly. Virtually all they do is done quietly and humbly as they do not seek recognition for their good work.”
The Hansens have been married for 46 years and have five children and 12 grandchildren. They are quick to give God credit for all of their business and personal successes, and are known to reaffirm in each other the importance of trusting God’s will during times of difficulty.
The Hansens specifically focus on supporting the work of pro-life and pro-family causes, Catholic education, Catholic clergy and religious orders, and people with special needs.
The other recipient, Earl Madary, is only the second person in the 34-year history of the award to receive the honor posthumously. His wife, Marci Madary, accepted the honor for the family. Earl Madary died Dec. 16 from cancer at age 42.
Madary’s influence at Viterbo was widespread. A talented musician, former Teacher of the Year, chair of the religious studies department, and advocate on behalf of the poor and disenfranchised, Madary was a popular figure among his faculty colleagues, students, and alumni who filled the San Damiano Chapel for his funeral. Viterbo set up a Web site for individuals to share memories and offer condolences and hundreds took the occasion to share stories and remembrances.
“Earl was a beloved colleague, outstanding teacher and musician, mentor, and friend to all,” said Artman. “He embodied our Franciscan values and touched the lives of thousands of students and colleagues.”
Madary was also active in the community, co-founding Place of Grace, a Catholic Worker House located in La Crosse. A talented vocalist, pianist, and guitarist, he recorded two CDs, Gilead and Prodigals.