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This month’s Jefferson Award winner, Carole Plante says volunteering is its own reward

Carole Plante is known to some as the Bingo Lady because she volunteers three to five days a week at Bethany Saint Joseph Health Center in La Crosse.

‘When I come here to volunteer. I think I’m giving myself to them but really they’re giving me everything I need. I am so rewarded. A reward like this is like ice cream on the cake,” said Carole.

Carole is a young 80 running circles around other volunteers. She started at Bethany St. Joe’s in 1991 when her mother moved here.

“They did such a beautiful job of taking care of my mother. I know the first night I brought her here I cried all the way home because she said I’m not going to stay here because I don’t like it. I know when I came the next morning she was such a changed person.
She said she liked it here,” said Carole.

Service is nothing new to Carole. Infact that way of life started very early when she started studying to be a Nun. Two weeks before she made the final commitment Carol decided she wanted to come home. Her father was devastated.

“I was stationed at Sacred Heart Parish in St. Paul and he and my mother and my sister came to pick me up and when I came out to the car wearing street clothes he just started to cry. He cried so hard he couldn’t drive so my sister drove us home,” said Carole.

That didn’t last long. Carole’s father was soon even prouder because his daughter’s life of service didn’t end there.

The years I spent in the Convent was for service but I’m doing much more service now than I probably did then,” said Carole.

Kim Scholze nominated Carole for a Jefferson Award. She says she is a committed, selfless person who always goes the extra mile.

“She leads our Rosary every Friday. She is here on Sundays and helps with mass. She’s a Eucharistic Distributor so she takes communion to residents that don’t go to mass in the chapel and she takes it to their apartments here. She spends time with residents at end of life,” said Kim.

And while she might not wear the traditional nun attire or have Sister before her name, Carole Plante is certainly doing what she was called to do.”

“I feel I’ve always been married to Christ. And this is the type of service that he wants me to do. I think I’ve really found my niche here and I will stay here as long as I possibly can,” said Carole.

To nominate someone for a Jefferson Award go to and click on the Community Tab at the top of the page.


Heather Armstrong

Heather anchors Live at 5 and co-anchors the weekday 6 & 10 PM newscasts

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