In 1952, Pat Zenner made a personal commitment to help the March of Dimes fight polio, and through the years, she dedicated over 50 years of her life to improving the health of babies.
Zenner began volunteering during the height of the battle to stop polio in its tracks. In the years before finding the cure for polio, Zenner recruited hundreds of women to participate in Mother March, a door-to-door fundraising campaign to fight polio. When victory in polio was achieved, the March of Dimes began its new mission, to prevent birth defects.
Through the 1960’s & 1970’s, Zenner was a source of wisdom, leadership and perseverance. She adopted wholeheartedly the new mission of improving the health of babies. As Minnesota Chapter Chair and Campaign Director for ten years from 1965-1975, she helped to guide a revolution in fundraising at the March of Dimes, most notably with the introduction of WalkAmerica.
Over the years, Zenner has served in various capacities. Some of her roles include: served as National Volunteer Liaison to the General Federation of Women’s Clubs; participating as a charter member of the National Council of Chapter Volunteers; created and sustained collaborative educational programs like the PTA and Minnesota Libraries; served on the March of Dimes Greater Twin Cities Executive Committee and the Central Minnesota Division’s Board of Directors; and for 23 years, chaired the St. Cloud Celebrity Roast & Toast, a March of Dimes fundraiser.
In 2002 at the March of Dimes National Volunteer Leadership Conference, Zenner received the Distinguished National Service Award for her 50 years of dedication to the March of Dimes. The award was presented by Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, President of the March of Dimes and Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, granddaughter of the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 2002, Zenner was also awarded the Central Division Outstanding Committee Chairperson of the year.
In December 2004, Zenner received the Volunteer of the year award at the Minnesota State Volunteer Leadership Conference. She is also a past honoree of the Minnesota Chapter’s Outstanding Volunteer of the year. In October 2004, Zenner’s Celebrity Roast and Toast event raised a record $40,000. She was honored at a luncheon in recognition for her many years of leadership service.
Pat truly exemplifies an outstanding volunteer. She has taken the March of Dimes mission to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects and infant mortality to be her own mission for fifty-three years.