NEW ULM — Pat Woratschka received the 2023 Sertoma Club Service to Mankind Award, Thursday during a special banquet at the New Ulm Country Club.
The award recognizes a local person for their services, time and talent to those in need in the New Ulm area without seeking recognition in return for their time. The Service to Mankind Award is the highest honor Sertoma awards a non-member. Woratschka was more than deserving of the award. He volunteered with numerous organizations including several programs for mentally challenged people such as the EASE program, United We Stand Players, Adaptive Recreational Services and Special Olympics.
He has also volunteered with Oak Hills Living Center, Salvation Army, Brown County Historical Society and the Wellness Center.
During the award banquet, several people spoke on behalf of Woratschka and the work he has done for the community.
Rachel Becker spoke on his volunteer work in Oak Hills. He is one of the longest-serving volunteers at the nursing home. The Oak Hills residents described Woratschka as friendly, funny, caring, genuine and a great listener.
Becker said during COVID, when visitors were limited he continued to check in to see if he was needed. He gave out his phone number for the residents to call if anyone got lonely.
“We appreciate everything you do for us, Pat,” Becker said.
Sarah Berg, a member of the Narren, spoke on the many masks Woratschka has worn, both literally and figuratively. Woratschka has been a member of the Narren for 10 years, where is plays the woodcarver. Berg said he also wears the mask of the 1914 Popcorn Wagon mascot. Many weekends he stands on Broadway dressed as a bag of popcorn to promote the popcorn wagon. Berg said he also wears the mask of a flower waterer. Most evenings, he waters flowers in the cemetery.
Berg said the mask she most associates with Woratschka is that of a clock.
“Pat, you generously share your time in service of others,” Berg said. “Be it family, friends, or community, Pat finds joy in sharing his time with others … because of the variety of masks you wear I feel you are very deserving of this award.”
Woratschka received a special proclamation from the city declaring June 22, 2023 “Pat Woratschka Day.” City Councilor Les Schultz read the proclamation detailing all the things Woratschka has done for the community.
Before reading the proclamation, Schultz personally thanked Woratschka for consistently volunteering at nearly every New Ulm event.
“This community has so many festivals and events and we need volunteers for them and guess who is always there,” Schultz said.
New Ulm Sertoma Club President Lisa Mack closed out the banquet by thanking Woratschka for making the world a nicer place.
“The things that you do make an impact,” Mack said. “From all of us at the New Ulm Sertoma Club, thank you for embodying the Service to Mankind spirit.”
In accepting the award, Woratschka said he was overwhelmed and wished to thank everyone for the opportunity to work alongside them.