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Announcing the 2022 Excellence in Advocacy Award Recipients

April 27, 2022

Recognizing dedication, leadership, and action having a positive effect on survivors of sexual assault and child maltreatment in Northeast Wisconsin.

(Green Bay, Wis.) – Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin is proud to announce the recipients of the 2022 Excellence in Advocacy Award. The award is presented annually in April to community professionals who respond to victims of sexual assault and/or child maltreatment in Northeast Wisconsin. Recipients must demonstrate dedication, leadership, and action to have a positive effect on survivors and their families as they heal and move forward.

Out of the nearly 30 nominations that were submitted, this year’s chosen recipients are Marinette County Victim/Witness Coordinator Mary Falkenberg and Green Bay Police Detective John Peters.

“I am thrilled to recognize John and Mary as our Excellence in Advocacy Award winners,” said Lois Mischler, President and CEO of Family Services. “Our communities are safer and systems of reporting these crimes are more survivor focused because of their incredible work and the partnerships they provide.”

Falkenberg has more than 30 years of experience assisting victims of sexual assault. She is the only victim/witness coordinator in Marinette County and has worked closely with the Sexual Assault Center of Family Services to make sure that victims get the support they need. Those who nominated Falkenberg describe her as “a force of support,” and “a rich resource who leads with more than just policy and procedure, but with such heart and compassion.” Colleagues also noted Falkenberg’s continued commitment to her work during a personal health battle with cancer, stating, “even when [Mary] was going through chemo, her dedication to victims still held strong.”

Detective Peters will be honored specifically for his work on Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC). For nearly 10 years, Peters has dedicated himself to the investigation of child exploitation and child pornography online while also taking the time to educate children, teens and parents about the dangers that exist. Colleagues and community partners noted in their nominations that Peters is “someone who treats each case as if the child was his own.” They also noted the impact of his work, stating “If not for the arrest of these offenders, they would no doubt continue to seek images of exploited children.”

Both Falkenberg and Peters will be honored during a private reception with fellow nominees, community partners, friends and family members in May.

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