Jefferson Award Winner, August 2018: Denise Wagner

SUN PRAIRIE (WKOW) — A Dane County woman is taking her passion for volunteerism and passing it along to the next generation.

Denise Wagner, our August Jefferson Award winner, wanted to teach her children what it means to give back.

She started looking into different options and decided to take things into her own hands.

Wagner reached out to family and friends and C.A.R.D.S. Closet, under the Sunshine Place umbrella, was born six years ago.

“It’s not a handout, it’s really hope,” said Wagner.

When a deadly explosion rocked downtown Sun Prairie in July, it was that hope that shined through.

“We were fully armed and prepared to deal with something like this should it arise,” she said.

Dozens of businesses were damaged and nearly 35 families had to leave their homes. The blast destroyed everything they had.

Wagner and the rest of the C.A.R.D.S. Closet team were instrumental in helping the families stock up on immediate needs like socks, underwear and personal care items.

The outpouring of donations to C.A.R.D.S. Closet were overwhelming after the explosion. At one point, the team had to ask people to hold off on donations because they ran out of space.

“Honestly it makes me cry because I am so proud of what out team does,” said Wagner.

Every day Wagner sees the impact C.A.R.D.S. Closet has on Sun Prairie, and she looks forward to what’s ahead.

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