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La Crosse Bishop Callahan, Mid-West Family’s Pham among Viterbo’s “John XXIII” winners



La Crosse’s current Catholic bishop and a long-time employee of Mid-West Family in La Crosse are among this year’s winners of an annual service award presented by Viterbo University.

Ahn Pham

Bishop William Callahan, community volunteer Ahn Pham, and dentist Dr. Joseph Kotnour will receive the Saint John XXIII award for 2023, at a banquet on Sept. 6.

The award, named in honor of the late Pope John XXIII. It is the highest non-academic award given by Viterbo, recognizing outstanding contributions in areas such as religious life, business, education and peace and justice.

Callahan has served as bishop of the La Crosse Diocese for 13 years.

La Crosse Diocese Bishop, William Patrick Callahan

Kotnour is a Viterbo graduate, who is recognized for offering free or low-cost dental care to community members.

Joe Kotnour

Pham and her family were Vietnamese refugees, who came to the U.S. in 1975 — around the time of the fall of Saigon.

She, and her husband The, have been custodians for the diocese and for Mid-West Family.

The Viterbo announcement says Ahn also goes to St. Joseph the Workman Cathedral in La Crosse almost every morning to prepare the church for daily Mass.

The John XXIII award was first given by Viterbo in 1975.

Past honorees include former La Crosse Mayor Patrick Zielke, Bishop Frederick Freking, Sister Thea Bowman, Green Bay Packers legend Bart Starr, CBS reporter Charles Kuralt, the Rev. Norman Vincent Peale, and long-time Mid-West Family President Dick Record.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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