Jefferson Award Winner, Martin Callaway

A La Crosse man with 80 years of life experience has spent much of it volunteering. He only took a short break when he was undergoing treatment for cancer.

Martin Callaway is this month’s winner of the Jefferson Award.

Martin and his daughter Vicky Brokaw share more than a love of music; they share a philosophy.

“When I was in college I wrote my dad a letter and said, ‘Dad what is life all about?’ He wrote back and said ‘I don’t know about for anyone else, but for me, if I make one person’s life better then my life has been well lived’,” said Brokaw.

Callaway joined the Navy as very young man. He went on to become a recruiter and traveled the country with his family. Even in retirement, Callaway never stopped serving.

“I used to give blood all the time and then I got cancer so I couldn’t. So I said I can help the blood mobile. I got my healthcare at the VA and they’re the ones who discovered my cancer, so I thought I’ll help there,” said Callaway.

His true love is his family, but his passion is helping people whether through the Boy Scouts, Mobile Meals or ringing bells for the Salvation Army. “Enjoy what you do. Treat everybody as you like to be treated. Follow the golden rule and you’ll be successful. And don’t be afraid to give volunteering a chance,” said Callaway.

Callaway credits his wife Mary for encouraging his volunteer work. She also is an active volunteer who happens to be the sister of fellow Jefferson Award winner John Young of Soldier’s Grove.

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