Dick Glaser, a member of St. Joseph Parish, Wauwatosa, received the St. Anne’s Award, presented by St. Anne’s Salvatorian Campus, last fall, for his volunteer involvement with the organization. Glaser has also volunteered at the TYME OUT youth ministry center in Stone Bank, and at his parish. (Catholic Herald photo by Allen Fredrickson)

Dick Glaser has never shied away from asking for money – not when it means building up a cause in which he believes. Dollars and cents have been the backbone of Glaser’s professional and volunteer pursuits over the years.

“I guess I have a knack of asking for money,” Glaser said, with a laugh. “The worst thing anybody can say when I’m out fundraising is ‘no.’”

St. Anne’s Salvatorian Campus, a center for the elderly on Milwaukee’s northwest side, recognized Glaser recently for his involvement with the organization. He was the recipient of last year’s St. Anne’s Award during the center’s second annual HeartStrings benefit and gala at the Golden Mast Inn on Sept. 29.

Glaser and his wife, Joanne, have long been involved with volunteering at St. Anne’s. The work first began when Joanne’s late mother was a resident at the center.

“I couldn’t believe that I did enough to get it,” Glaser said, recounting his reaction when he learned he was going to be the award recipient.

In addition to helping organize for St. Anne’s assorted fundraisers, Glaser has carried on Joanne’s mother’s memory by lending a hand whenever possible to residents at the center.

Kind, generous and loving were among the words St. Anne’s administrator Lynn Vogt used to describe Glaser in a prepared statement that explained why he was honored.

“Dick understands that we don’t need magic to change the world, for we all carry all the power we need inside ourselves to make a difference,” Vogt wrote in the statement. “In his quietly optimistic and confident manner, he models the virtues of generosity and compassion.”

In the statement, Vogt said Glaser also encourages others to give of their time, talents and treasures to help people in need, and that was part of the reason he was being recognized.

Each year, St. Anne’s staff bestows an award upon a volunteer who has made a lasting impact on the integrity of care and service to the center’s elderly residents. Award recipients not only demonstrate St. Anne’s values and mission statement; they also show how to improve the quality of care, promote justice and form collaborative relationships for the betterment of the center.
St. Anne’s, established in 1876, has been sponsored by Sisters of the Divine Savior since 1992. Prior to that, it was under the auspices of the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Even when he was being honored, Glaser could not resist putting on his fundraising hat. He encouraged family and friends to show up to the HeartStrings event and give of themselves in any way possible.

“It was a really nice evening – one that I won’t soon forget,” Glaser said. “I think it was a success in terms of the money that was raised.”

Glaser, a Brookfield resident, was accompanied at the HeartStrings event by Joanne and their five children, two of whom are following in his footsteps as accountants. The other three are school teachers.

In addition to having his entire family at the event, Glaser said HeartStrings was memorable because of the presence of a former grade school teacher. Glaser graduated from Mother of Good Counsel Grade School in 1951, and his seventh and eighth grade teacher, Sister of the Divine Savior Aquin Gilles, was in the audience.

“That was a really phenomonal experience,” Glaser said of the reunion with Sr. Aquin. “She had the opportunity to meet my children, and the ones who are school teachers really enjoyed talking with her.”

In addition to his extensive work with St. Anne’s, Glaser has volunteered for two other Catholic organizations. He has served as chief financial officer of TYME OUT, a youth ministry based in Stone Bank, and as treasurer of his church, St. Joseph Parish, Wauwatosa, for nearly 20 years.

When asked why he embarks on fundraising and other volunteer efforts, Glaser said it is an external means of demonstrating his internal faith.

“I’ve always had a strong Catholic faith,” he said. “The good Lord has always gotten us through when there has been a tough spot. This is my way of giving back.”

For more than 40 years, Glaser ran his own tax accounting company. While most of his clients were from the Milwaukee area, Glaser prepared documents for people in several far-off areas, including West Germany and Saudi Arabia.

“They were referrals,” Glaser said. “It was what we called a great big chain letter.”

Although he retired nearly a decade ago, he has not stopped preparing taxes. Glaser said he puts together about 50 tax reports annually for friends.

“Instead of paying me for my services, I ask people to volunteer at a place like TYME OUT,” Glaser said. “I encourage my customers to give back when I’m doing their returns.”

The St. Anne’s award is one of several highlights for Glaser this year. He has celebrated several jubilee milestones, including his golden wedding anniversary with Joanne and a 50-year reunion with the Marquette University Business Administration College. Glaser also was honored by Catholic Knights for holding a 50-year policy that he bought from a classmate.