WAUSAU (WAOW) - The Jefferson Award winner for September is a leader who helps raise money for youth programs in Wausau and helped build water wells in Kenya so families no longer have to walk 15 miles to get it.
Romey Wagner is long-time volunteer for several Wausau non-profit organizations.
"I retired 16 years ago from United Parcel Service and my wife and I decided we wanted to stay in Wausau and we wanted to raise our kids here. I suddenly realized I had a lot of time on my hands," he said.
He put that to use for the American Red Cross and Noon Optimist Club.
"He is a leader and it's all about betterment of the community and making things better for people around him," fellow Optimist Jeff Wickersham said. "He convinced the club to invest in an Elephant Ear stand. He knew that delicacy was a staple of the Wisconsin Valley Fair and we would make money to fund our youth programs."
Wickersham says the $17,000 the club raises is then put back into scholarships, free swim week for kids and sending children with disabilities to summer camp.
Wagner serves on the Wausau City Council and is a member of West Side Business Association.
His efforts to improve the lives of others extends far beyond Wausau - he's been involved in Water for Kenya for more than a decade.
It builds wells that provide clean drinking water for thousands of Kenyans who no longer have to walk 15 miles to gather water for their families.
"You see the appreciation in the eyes of the people you are helping and it really is rewarding," Wagner said. "I think everyone should volunteer. Everyone has a little time."