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Sun Prairie man finds new purpose after losing his job during the pandemic

Published: Nov. 13, 2020 at 8:31 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- Millions of Americans are now unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Dan Thorstad of Sun Prairie initially fell into that category. He may have lost his job, but he’s found a new one and he gained renewed purpose.

Back at the end of March just as the pandemic hit, Thorstad’s position at work was cut. He worked for decades as a data processor at a local printing company.

"I had been there for 22 years and so, what’s next?' said Thorstad. “And I tried to find something positive to do with this negative,”

About a week after he lost his job, Thorstad began volunteering with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Southern Wisconsin.

“So, I came out early April and started volunteering and got to know some of the staff and volunteers,” said Thorstad.

Thorstad went from being a data processor, to unemployed, to volunteer, to full-time employee...
Thorstad went from being a data processor, to unemployed, to volunteer, to full-time employee at Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin(WTMV)

Over the next couple of months, Thorstad spent of a lot of time helping feed the needy in our area.

“He was volunteering a lot because I was coming a couple times a week and I always saw him,” said Second Harvest volunteer Diane Wirkus.

Then in mid-July, a staff member approached Dan with an idea.

“(They) said there is a job opening here, if you’d be interested,” said Thorstad.

He applied, got the job as a volunteer coordinator, and he’s now on a new career path he never saw coming.

“I guess it was just being a part of something bigger than yourself,” he said. “I said yes because I wanted to be a part of this,”

Thorstad says losing his job in March and now being a paid staff member for Second Harvest has made him a happier man.

“Surprisingly, yes. I didn’t know where this would turn and fortunately it turned out pretty good,” he said.

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