LSS Adoption Family Earns 2022 Governor’s Award

Carl and Marcella BlomWillis were 2022 recipients of the Governor’s Outstanding Adoptive Parent Award in Wisconsin, one of six families honored by the state. In working with Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin & Upper Michigan (LSS), Carl and Marcella’s 20-year devotion to foster care and adoption parallels the dedication LSS shares in strengthening families.

Tanya Meyervandeurzen, a social worker for LSS, nominated the BlomWillis family for the award through the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF). Speaking of Carl and Marcella, Tanya said it is a privilege to work with them, and “their home is open, warm, and friendly. It is filled with an overwhelming sense of love and commitment to all of their children.” Tanya’s role through LSS continues to be a substantial factor in the BlomWillis story.

“Our family is eternally grateful for Tanya and the role she played in our family’s journey,” Marcella said. “She was always incredibly responsive and warm. Our entire family came to adore her for the time we worked together.”

Tanya and her many colleagues across Wisconsin live for the opportunity to help the more than 300 children LSS serves in public adoption. These children are between pre-adoptive foster homes and county foster homes. Families like Carl and Marcella’s are vital, with so many children needing foster homes and “forever” homes through adoptions.

The BlomWillis family is full of love – and kids – with two biological children and seven adopted members. In a unique twist to their two-decade welcoming spirit, they recently adopted two children of one of their former foster daughters. They understand and value the connection between birth parents and their children as a cornerstone for long-term success through foster care and adoption.

None of the families welcome children into their homes to earn praise or win awards; however, it’s essential to recognize their efforts when possible.

 

“All adoptive families deserve to be celebrated,” DCF Secretary Emilie Anderson said. “We appreciate the dedication and commitment of adoptive parents, as well as those who work with families in the adoption process.”

That includes organizations like LSS, which has proudly served the community and assisted with adoptions for over 100 years as they continue strengthening families through Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. The award and overall success require a total team effort between families and LSS.

“We are very humbled by this recognition,” Marcella BlomWillis added. “We’re very grateful for LSS and the role they’ve played twice in growing our family.”

Héctor Colón Honored to Accept Titan 100 CEO Award

Milwaukee (January 11, 2023) – Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan (LSS) is pleased to announce Héctor Colón, President and CEO of Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan (LSS), as a 2023 Wisconsin Titan 100. Titan CEO and headline sponsor Wipfli LLP recognizes Wisconsin’s Top 100 CEOs & C-level executives as the area’s most accomplished business leaders in their industry using criteria demonstrating exceptional leadership, vision, and passion. Colón will be honored at the annual Titan 100 awards celebration on January 12th, 2023, at Fiserv Forum and published in a limited-edition Titan 100 book and profiled exclusively online. Honorees also will have the opportunity to interact and connect multiple times throughout the year.

As President and CEO, Héctor Colón has utilized his visionary, Servant-Leadership approach to position LSS for greatness by adapting new models and business strategies to increase impact and viability for

staff, clients and the organization. Before the start of Colón’s tenure in 2017, the organization had not met its budget for four consecutive years. During Colón’s first three years, LSS grew from over $4 million in losses to $8 million in gains resulting in a $12.4 million financial turnaround. Previously, as Executive Director of the Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services, Colón led several countywide initiatives, including efforts to reform the juvenile justice system, end chronic homelessness, transform mental health care, and end a 30-year waitlist for disabilities services.

“The Titan 100 are shaping the future of the Wisconsin business community by building a distinguished reputation that is unrivaled and preeminent in their field. The group recognizes the Titan 100 for their successes and contributions. The 2023 Wisconsin Titan 100 and their companies employ more than 100,000 individuals and generate $36 billion in annual revenues. “We know that they [WI Honorees] will have a profound impact that makes an extraordinary difference for their customers and clients across the nation,” says Jaime Zawmon, President of Titan CEO.

“What a remarkable honor to be named a Titan 100. Although the recognition falls on one person, I only succeed in serving others thanks to the wonderful people at LSS, who demonstrate compassion and courage through their God-given gifts,” Colón said. “I feel such heartfelt gratitude and respect to be chosen for this distinction by an esteemed organization. It is my pleasure to use this as further motivation to lead LSS to empower the lives of everyone we touch throughout Wisconsin.”