WMTV among finalists for coveted ‘Service to America’ Award

(Lou Thao/WMTV)
Published: Apr. 21, 2022 at 9:40 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - NBC15′s inaugural community diaper drive, which launched during the pandemic, is being recognized nationally by the National Association of Broadcasters Leadership Foundation.

The station was named a finalist Thursday in the prestigious Celebration of Service to America Awards, which honors ‘outstanding community service.’ WMTV NBC15 is one of only three finalists in the medium market category.

“While we work hard at informing and entertaining our local communities each and every day, what makes me most proud is when our employees roll up their sleeves and work together to help people in need. All that work means nothing without the financial support of our viewers and local businesses. The size of this community’s heart will never be doubted,” said Don Vesely, Vice President and General Manager of WMTV NBC15 and CW Madison.

Learn more about the impact of our first community diaper drive, which raised enough money to pay for more than a million diapers, by watching our submission video:

“Community outreach is a hallmark of this newsroom—this station. It’s just part of what we do. It is humbling to not only identify and share stories about a real need, but to then see our community take action and change the lives of so many families,” said News Director Jessica Laszewski.

WMTV is one of only 21 television and radio stations to be recognized as a finalist for the NABLF’s Celebration of Service to America Awards. It is the second-straight year that WMTV received a nod for outstanding community service. The station was also named a finalist in 2021 for its year-long, amplified effort to fight hunger in our area during the COVID-19 pandemic, through our Care Box Challenge and 25th Share Your Holidays Campaign.

In February 2021, the station partnered with The Village Diaper Bank to host our first diaper drive. From Feb. 18-25, viewers made online donations and donated diapers at select locations in the Madison-area, culminating in the Diaper Drop-Off event at The Village Diaper Bank’s warehouse. In all, the efforts of the Diaper Drive raised $151,523 in cash donations and 82,111 diapers. Thanks to the buying power of the Village Diaper Bank, those generous gifts generated 1.1 million diapers!

All proceeds benefitted The Village Diaper Bank, which grew it’s program by 257% -- helping get free diapers to the families and partner agencies that needed them most. Our coverage also featured stories about the Diaper Bank’s work, the reasons behind the need, and the reasons why diapers can’t be purchased with public assistance funds.

Diaper Drive Infographic
Diaper Drive Infographic(WMTV)

Read more about the Celebration of Service to America Awards here.

“As valued members of their local communities, television and radio stations offer critical support to those in need, shine a light on the issues affecting their friends and neighbors and help get us through difficult times,” NAB Leadership Foundation President Michelle Duke said. “We look forward to coming together once again to honor these outstanding stations for embodying the spirit of broadcasting, and to celebrate broadcasters everywhere who serve their communities every day.”

Winners will be announced June 7 during the Celebration of Service to America Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. The black-tie event will feature celebrity guests, past honorees, and policymakers. A special broadcast of the event will air at a later time on television stations across the country, including WMTV.

WMTV is owned by Gray Television.

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