Sen. Patty Schachtner (D - Somerset) received the WITC-New Richmond Distinguished Alumna honor at the college's commencement ceremony.

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes WITC alumni who have made outstanding contributions to their professional field, community and the technical college system through leadership and advocacy.

"The technical college education I received at WITC opened career options and changed the way I could interact with the community," said Schachtner. "I am a believer in lifelong learning whether it is in the classroom or the community. I regularly seek and attend training opportunities so I can continue to grow as a person."

Schachtner used her education to provide emergency assistance and to work with individuals facing difficult situations. Her experiences as St. Croix County's chief medical examiner led her to public service and advocacy.

Schachtner is active in the community in many capacities. In addition to her job as state senator and the chief medical examiner for St. Croix County, she has previously served as a school board member, EMT, supervisor for the Star Prairie Township and EMT instructor at the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, where she received her EMT certification. She also serves on the board of directors for Turningpoint, on the board of her local food pantry and is a member of other local organizations.

As co-founder of the Suicide Prevention Task Force, the campaign "WAAITT- We are all in this together" holds much pride. The campaign brought together local government, the medical examiner's' office and businesses to create and share a comprehensive resource guide relating to addiction and mental health issues. The guide included local stories of families impacted by suicide. With the help of a local publisher, 32,000 copies of the resource guide were printed and distributed at no-cost to the Task Force.

"I am grateful for the education and experiences that WITC has given my family and me. Both my parents, my husband, my siblings, and my children have all taken courses here. WITC and all of our technical colleges provide affordable and relevant education for communities across Wisconsin," Schachtner said. "Today, our hardworking graduates will take the next step forward in their professional lives and careers. As a WITC alumna, I know how transformative a quality technical college education can be. Congratulations to all!"

Schachtner received a clock and a plaque from the WITC Foundation to honor her as WITC-New Richmond's 2018 Distinguished Alum. The WITC Foundation established the WITC Distinguished Alumni Award program to honor outstanding alumni who contribute to career and community.