WPS Health Solutions announces two winners of the WPS Military Salute Award who have helped their communities respond to the COVID-19 pandemic this year.

Each winner will receive a $1,000 prize to be donated to the winner’s charity of choice that is assisting in the fight against COVID-19. In addition, each winner will receive $500.

The winners are Army veteran JD Engelhardt of Madison and Beau Alan Krostag of Pittsville.

WPS established the award to recognize active-duty military and veteran doctors, nurses, public safety professionals and others who are helping their communities get through the pandemic. 

Nominations were accepted through June 1 and the winners were determined by a committee of WPS employees.

 Engelhardt’s leadership and volunteer efforts made a huge impact, said Will Atkinson, who submitted the nomination.

An employee of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County and described as a “linchpin” in Dane County and surrounding communities, Engelhardt leveraged his personal and professional networks to help his neighbors in need. He immediately started connecting people and organizations with available resources.

One of these initiatives was when the Medical College of Wisconsin had raw materials to make medical-grade masks but no longer had the volunteer force to put them together for distribution. Engelhardt had the supplies – enough to make 3,500 masks – sent to him. In a span of two weeks, he worked with multiple organizations to mobilize volunteers to assemble the masks.

“I try to do what I can to make my community a better place and to that end try to build a network to help support different nonprofits, groups, and people around me,” Engelhardt said. 

Engelhardt’s $1,000 donation will go to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County.

Krostag is a sergeant first class in the Wisconsin National Guard.

Krostag’s support and dedication to the electoral process during a global pandemic strengthened the democratic election process for the people in Wood County.

Krostag was among members of the Wisconsin National Guard assigned to check IDs, register voters, and clean and sanitize voting polls during the April election.

“Thanks to the efforts led by SFC Krostag, the people of Wood County, Wisconsin, were able to exercise their right to vote,” Amy Callender wrote in her nomination.

His $1,000 donation will go to the Pittsville Area Neighbors Shelf, the food pantry in his hometown.

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