Volunteer Recognition

Due to the coronavirus MVAC’s 2020 Annual Awards and fall lecture have been cancelled.  We look forward to future lectures and again having the opportunity to recognize individuals and organizations for their outstanding support of MVAC and archaeology.

The MVAC Support and Volunteer Recognition has been updated for 2020.


Past Award Recipients


2019 James P. Gallagher Award in Archaeology Excellence – Dave & Barb Skogen and Marvin Wanders

Wendy Holtz-Leith presents the James P. Gallagher Award in Archaeology Excellence to Dave & Barb Skogen.Marvin Wanders receives the James P. Gallagher Award in Archaeology Excellence from Dr. Tim McAndrews and Wendy Holtz-Leith.

Marvin Wanders receives the James P. Gallagher Award in Archaeology Excellence from Dr. Tim McAndrews and Wendy Holtz-Leith.

This year MVAC is presenting two James P. Gallagher Awards for Excellence in Archaeology, for two adjacent redevelopment projects in downtown Onalaska. A significant portion of the city’s downtown is underlain by an important and extremely sensitive archaeological site, and these projects were designed specifically to avoid or minimize impacts to the locations. One award is being given to Dave and Barb Skogen for the creative design of Dash Park and its adaptation of current landscape features with minimal ground disturbance. The second award is being given to Marvin Wanders, owner of 360 Real Estate Solutions, for the design of the new Great River Residences, currently under construction. In this case as well, ground disturbance to potentially intact areas was minimized. Both projects, and the people behind them, exemplify the use of a “best practices” approach in which advance planning helps in achieving redevelopment goals while still preserving important and sensitive archaeological resources.

2019 Regional Archaeology Award – Hoyt & Jeanine Strandberg

Jean Dowiasch presents MVAC’s Regional Archaeology Award to Hoyt & Jeanine Strandberg.

The Regional Archaeology Award for 2019 goes to Hoyt and Jeanine Strandberg, from Alma Center. Living in close proximity to the Silver Mound Archaeological site, Hoyt has amassed an impressive collection of projectile points, stone tools, and preforms made from Hixton silicified sandstone. Jeanine joins Hoyt in collecting artifacts once a year, on his birthday. The Strandbergs regularly display their collection at MVAC’s annual Artifact Show, along with numerous other shows throughout the year, ranging from Monticello, Wisconsin, to Collinsville, Illinois. Hoyt and Jeanine have also displayed their artifacts at MVAC-sponsored events such as Archaeology Day at Silver Mound and the Wisconsin Archeological Society’s 2019 Field Assembly.  Hoyt also shares his collection with students in the Alma Center School District, and with the public at the Garden Valley Township 150 Year Celebration. According to Hoyt, sharing the area’s history through his collection is just the right thing to do.

2019 Archaeology Education Award – Summit Environmental School, La Crosse School District

Debra Klaeser, for Summit Environmental School, receives MVAC’s Archaeology Education Award from Jean Dowiasch.

Summit Environmental School partnered with MVAC to provide a year-long archaeology program for students during the 2018–2019 school year. In the fall of 2018, students were introduced to Archaeology and how early peoples of La Crosse used the area’s natural resources in their everyday lives. Under the supervision of MVAC staff, students from grades 2 through 5 shovel tested the school grounds and recovered prehistoric and historic materials. Six excavations units were dug in May 2019, with students involved in all aspects of fieldwork, including digging, mapping, and documenting. The project was spearheaded by third-grade teacher Debra Klaeser, who had participated in several MVAC archaeology classes designed for teachers, with enthusiastic support from school principal Dirk Hunter, and all the teachers and students.


2019 Special Recognition Awards – Chuck Thompson and Marcee Peplinski

2019 Special Recognition Award – Chuck Thompson MVAC is also presenting a Special Recognition Award to Chuck Thompson of Dairyland Power Cooperative (DPC). In 2007 DPC received MVAC’s Distinguished Service Award in recognition of its outstanding work with archaeology. Chuck joined DPC in 1985, and as Manager of Siting & Regulatory Affairs, he is responsible for obtaining permits and approvals for transmission lines, substations, and communications facilities in a five-state area. MVAC has greatly appreciated his constructive and ethical approach and willingness to go above and beyond what was required. Chuck will be retiring in several months, and all the staff at MVAC thank him for his exemplary work with us and wish him the very best.

2019 Special Recognition Award – Marcee Peplinski MVAC staff are delighted to present a Special Recognition Award to our recently retired Business Manager, Marcee Peplinski. Throughout her 21 years of service, Marcee oversaw business activities and finances that spanned all of MVAC’s contract work, outreach and educational activities, and development. Her pragmatic approach and knowledge of MVAC’s complex inner workings were greatly appreciated by UWL administrators as well as MVAC staff, and she has left the organization in great shape to continue its multifaceted work. As long-time colleagues and friends, all the MVAC staff extend their thanks and best wishes to Marcee in her retirement.

2020 Support and Volunteer Recognition

The following friends have providing in-kind donations and volunteer services.

Rich Althaus Frank Lightfoot
Connie Arzigian Jim Losinski
Mike Bednarchek Dan Maas
Danielle Beiseckes Tim McAndrews
Jay Bittner Doug Miller
Art Boehm Roger Mustache
Loren Cade Tadziu Oprzedek
Jaremy Cobble Abe Packard
Jean Dowiasch Laura Paisley
Alydia Downs Mark Pingel
William Gresens Todd Reichert
Bob Halseth Jon Robinson
Mikayla Hed Jennifer Ryan
Wendy Holtz-Leith Jaelyn Stebbins
Shane Howe Betty Steele
Gene Hynek Susan Steele
Bonnie Jancik Walter, Susie, Jake & Nicole  Steele
Jim Jordan Kathy Stevenson
Robert Keiper Hoyt & Jeanine Strandberg
Deb Klaeser Kim Thompson
Cindy Kocik Vicki Twinde-Javner
Jeanette Laack Abigail Wollam
Jack Larson   

Past Award Recipients


James P. Gallagher Award in Archaeology Excellence

2019 Dave and Barb Skogen
2019 Marvin Wanders, 360 Real Estate Solutions
2018 Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company
2017 Dr. Thomas C. Pleger
2016 Gundersen Health System
2015 City of Onalaska
2014 Ruthann Benson
2013 Joseph A. Tiffany
2012 A-1 Excavating, Inc.
2011 Constance M. Arzigian
2010 Prairie Sand & Gravel, Inc.
2009 James L. Theler
2008 Carole McGinley Edland
2007 Katherine Stevenson
2006 Kathleen Brosius
2005 William “Bill” Gresens
2004 John Magerus
2003 Elmwood Partners
2002 James P. Gallagher
2001 Susan Motschman
2000 Robert Thorud
1999 Richard Hilliker
1998 Dr. Adolf Gunderson
1997 Robert “Ernie” Boszhardt
1996 Frank Linder
1995 Jim Terman
1994 University of Wisconsin – La Crosse Sociology/Archaeology Department
1993 Wisconsin River Power Company
1992 Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company
1991 Gunderson Clinic
1990 United Fund for the Arts and Humanities
1989 Charles D. Gelatt
1988 Charles F. Mathy
1987 University of Wisconsin – La Crosse Foundation


Regional Archaeology Award

2019 Hoyt and Jeanine Strandberg
2016 Suzanne Harris
2015 Gene and Jeanne Hynek
2014 Jay Bittner
2013 Robert “Bob” Halseth
2012 Dan and Judy Maas
2011 Mississippi Valley Conservancy
2010 Todd and Andrea Trocinski Family
2009 Robert Keiper
2008 John Ebersold
2007 James Losinski
2006 Fort Crawford Museum
2005 Mauston Panther Spirit Mound Project
2004 Steve Allen
2003 Todd Murphy
2002 Dan Wendt
2001 Bill Schneller
2000 Daniel Arnold
1999 Craig Malven
1998 Al Reed
1997 Jeff Woodward
1996 Todd Reichert
1995 LeVern DeVries
1994 Loren Cade
1993 Betty Steele
1992 Harland Stone
1991 William “Bill” Gresens
1990 Paul Wiste
1989 Gary Steele
1988 Tim Blumentritt
1987 Steven Raith


Archaeology Education Award

2019 Summit Environmental School, La Crosse School District
2016 Jack Larson
2015 Marilyn Burkhart
2014 Norskedalen Nature and Heritage Center
2013 Loren and Margaret Cade
2012 Robert and Gretchen Chalsma
2011 John Morris
2010 William “Bill” Gresens
2009 Robert “Ernie” Boszhardt
2008 James L. Theler
2007 Effigy Mounds National Monument
2006 Jim and Donna Rankin
2004 Susan Motschman
2003 LeVern DeVries
2002 James P. Gallagher
2001 Greg Walsko
2000 School on the River, Longfellow Middle School, La Crosse, Wisconsin
1999 Carol Ziff
1998 Onalaska Middle School – 6th Grade Teachers
1997 Betty Hembd-Steele
1996 City of La Crosse Park and Recreation Department
1995 La Crosse North Woods Elementary School
1994 Marilyn Van Wyk
1993 Cooperative Educational Service Agency District #4
1992 La Crosse School District


Special Awards

2019 Special Recognition: Chuck Thompson
2019 Special Recognition: Marcee Peplinski
2018 Special Recognition: Cathy Wendt
2016 Special Recognition: McHugh Excavating
2013 Distinguished Service Award: George Garvin
2007 Distinguished Service Award: Dairyland Power Cooperative
2006 Common Ground Award: Chloris Lowe
2005 Common Ground Award:  Jay Toth
2004 Distinguished Service Award: John and Otto Swennes
2003 Distinguished Service Award: Jason Gilman
2001 Common Ground Award: Ho Chunk Historic Preservation Office
Distinguished Service Award: City of La Crosse
1999 Special Award: Connie Arzigian
Distinguished Service Awards: Timme, Inc., and Mead and Hunt, Inc.
1998 Common Ground Award: Merlin Red Cloud Jr.
Distinguished Service Awards: Dean Wilder and Paul Stoelting
1997 Salute: Jim Gallagher
1995 Salute: William “Bill” Gresens
1994 Salute: Jim Theler