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Jefferson Award Winner: Glen Zwiefelhofer

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CHIPPEWA COUNTY (WQOW) - Christmas may be over, but thanks to one Chippewa Falls man and a dedicated team of volunteers, hundreds of struggling families in Chippewa County were able to celebrate this year.

This month's Jefferson Award winner is Glen Zwiefelhofer.

Zwiefelhofer describes himself as a "Christmas nut" but he is a bit of a volunteering nut as well.

"I don't do this for recognition, I do this because I like it," he told News 18.

In his 11 years with Spirit of Christmas, Zwiefelhofer has helped deliver thousands of presents to struggling Chippewa County families.

"When I first got involved, I would help carry gifts out to the car and a lady broke into tears because her 5-year-old was getting a plastic sled. Something that a lot of us take for granted," Zwiefelhofer said.

He has since taken on the role of president and head of packaging.

'We try to give everybody a toothbrush," Zwiefelhofer said. "Books are one thing to try to give every kid we serve. Color books, color crayons and books for their age group."

But what is the fuel that keeps him going year after year?

"I enjoy seeing the joy in peoples' eyes when you do something good for them," Zwiefelhofer said.

But the need for people like him is growing which was evident this year. Spirit of Christmas brought the holiday to 500 Chippewa County families about about 1,500 children.

"The hugs, the smiles, the thank yous. We get a lot of them, Zwiefelhofer said.

But he didn't do it alone.

"I tell everybody here, I might be the president, but we can't get along without anybody here and we can't get along without the donations and the people that come from the community," Zwiefelhofer explained.

The work for Spirit of Christmas is nowhere near done.

"We will start shopping tonight," Zwiefelhofer said. "There's someone going looking for some sales, there are some things that we need that we will use for next year."

Above all, Zwiefelhofer is grateful for all the support the group has seen over the years.

"I want to thank people for helping us, and for helping, not me, but helping the kids of Chippewa County and the families of Chippewa County. Making their Christmas a little bit happier," he said.

Spirit of Christmas accepts donations all year. You can find out how to donate here.

If you know someone in the community making a difference through volunteering, nominate them here.

Shannon Hoyt

Shannon Hoyt started out as an intern in August 2017, moving to a full-time multi-media journalist and weekend anchor before becoming Daybreak anchor and now our 6 and 10 p.m. co-anchor.

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