Ann Nienow has been named recipient of the 2021 Alfred and Helen Krahn Citizenship award in Watertown.
The award is given annually by the Krahn family in memory of Al “Mickey” and Helen Krahn. Al was a longtime member of the Watertown Police Department, retiring in 1970 as inspector, second in command at the department.
Both Al and Helen were active in the Watertown community for many years and the family provides a $1,000 stipend annually in their memory.
The award is given to a person who has made significant contributions to the safety and/or welfare of the citizens of Watertown.
Nienow was presented with the award and the $1,000 stipend on Friday by Watertown Police Patrol Capt. Ben Olsen, chair of the selection committee.
Nienow, a lifelong resident of Watertown, has worked as a social worker for Jefferson County Human Services and at Watertown Memorial Hospital, now known as Watertown Regional Medical Center.
More recently she and her husband Rich owned and operated Hafemeister Funeral Home for many years until recently selling the business to their two sons, Mike and Mark.
Carleen Schloemer, who nominated Nienow for the honor, noted her deep commitment to the Summer Sandwiches in the Park program which provides hundreds of children with free meals each summer.
Schloemer also noted Nienow was a charter member of the Shared Community Mission Group, a collection of nine women, each representing a different church in Watertown, which developed three core programs. One of them is Weekend Food to Go and Grow which provides a weekly bag of nutritious food for kindergarten children and their families on weekends when school lunches and breakfasts are not available.
A second program, Support Our Students, collects supplies and then helps distribute them to school children in need. Well over 100 families have been assisted through this program.
The third one, called Emergency Food to Go Now, has established food pantries in various local schools and distributes the food to children in the schools who are in need.
In addition to these projects, Schloemer said Nienow also served as chair of the Christ United Methodist Church’s Mission Board which offers additional mission projects such as Coats for Kids, collections, mitten trees, underwear collections for the schools and Adopt a Family at Christmas program.
Nienow has also been active in the local chapter of American Association of University Women and as a member of the Watertown City Health Board.
Schloemer said, “Ann is a wonderful person who graciously gives of her love, time and talents. Her concern for others is apparent through her professional career as a social worker but is magnified in her passion exhibited in volunteerism.”
Among the past recipients of this award are Augie Tietz, Steve Hepp and Steve Leistico, Steve Pearce, John Schloemer, Marion Moran, Marie Miller and the Rev. Tim Mueller.