Remarkable Woman: Kathy Nowak of Crivitz battles through medical setbacks to serve her community

CRIVITZ, Wis. (WFRV) – Had it not been for her daughter’s letter, Local 5 News might never have known just all Kathy Nowak has quietly gone about doing for her community for years.

“As I am typing this today, I am in tears, knowing that this woman, who is my mom, is the most selfless and giving person I know,” Jamie Walker’s letter read. “I’m so proud to be her daughter.”

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Walker reread the letter for Local 5’s Michele McCormack, who was dispatched to Nowak’s overflow kitchen, where she cooks up special deliveries for people needing a pick-me-up.

“I have neighbors that live alone, people that had surgery,” Nowak explained. “Friends that don’t cook a lot. So, when I make food and bake bread, which is once a week, I package up the extras, and off they go to my neighbors and people I know that are in need.”

Nowak says this about so much more than providing meals. Guided by her faith, she is setting out to feed the soul.

“People are lonely, you know, maybe they don’t see their kids. I go to the nursing homes, too.”

Nowak is a mother of six children and soon-to-be grandmother of 16.

Her good nature, combined with her organizational skills, make her especially effective at volunteer work.

She started a clothes closet that operates year-round at Crivitz Elementary School. Her fellow members of the Crivitz Area Woman’s Club help her collect and sort donations.

“The Crivitz School District has a 4% poverty rate,” explained Nowak. “So there are times kids are not properly dressed.”

Nowak already had a proven track record at the school. She perfected the streamlining of free school supplies to students through the Back-To-School Program, which has been going strong since 2008.

“We follow her because she is just so inspiring,” said Diane Mueller, Treasurer of the Crivitz Area Woman’s Club.

According to Mueller, under Nowak’s leadership and creativity, the annual “Girls’ Night Out” fundraiser every spring has allowed the group to support dozens of charities, from food banks to literacy to libraries and fire and rescue.

“In the last five years excluding COVID, we gave out $26,000 a year to local non-profits,” said Mueller.

Nowak does this despite serious medical setbacks that included 15 different surgeries. Some of them are related to her former job at a paper mill.

“I don’t know how she continues to go. I think it’s her heart,” said daughter Jamie.

Nowak says she averages about 30 hours of volunteer work a week.

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“I feel this is a gift from God. He allowed me to do this. Truthfully when I’m doing something for somebody else I don’t feel any pain. It’s people just needing to know that there are people that care.”

The “Girls’ Night Out” fundraiser with Nowak and the Crivitz Area Woman’s Club is Monday, May 18, at the Embers in Peshtigo. For more information, click here.

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