Stanley F. Staples Jr. “Person of the Year” Award Finalists Announced

Written by Brad Karger

The Stanley F. Staples Jr. “Person of the Year” Award (sponsored by the Ruder Ware Law Firm) is given annually in recognition of contributions to the advancement of Hmong people in Marathon County, particularly in education.

Stanley F. Staples Jr.

The 2019 award finalists are:

Mary Thao

Mary is recognized for her public service on the Wausau School Board and the Wausau City Council. Mary is a pioneer who has paved the way for Hmong people to be active in government and to give voice to the Hmong community.

Mary Thao

Mai Lee Kha

Mai Lee was raised in the small community of Birnamwood, Wisconsin, and now teaches students with disabilities in Edgar, on behalf of the Marathon County Special Education Department. Mai Lee has also taught English to first-generation Hmong adults and has led parenting classes developed to help parents support teenage children.

Mai Lee Kha

Yengyee Lor

Yengyee is a management/leadership consultant with her own business, Faithful Consulting. Yengyee stands out for providing cost-free education, mentorship, and coaching to Hmong individuals who could not afford these services, to advance their personal and professional lives.

Yengyee Lor

Yauo Yang

Yauo is an educator with the D.C. Everest School District; a pastor with a church he helped create — The Cross, which is the most racially/ethnically diverse church in Marathon County; and he is one of the co-founders of the Hmong Phoojywg Enrichment Program, a summer program to engage Hmong students in their culture.

Yauo Yang


The 2019 recipient of the Stanley F. Staples Award will be announced on April 6, 2019,  at the “Dream Big: 2056” banquet at the Hilton Garden Inn in Rib Mountain.

REGISTER & GET TICKETS for the Dream Big event here.


  • 5:00 p.m. — Cocktails & Hmong Egg Rolls
  • 5:30-6:30 p.m. — Silent Auction & Entertainment (Recall the 2016 County Administrator “Dance-Off” between Brad Karger & Mort McBain!)
  • 5:30 p.m. — Seating & Dinner
  • 6:30-8:00 p.m. — Event Program (including the announcement of this year’s recipient of the Stanley F. Staples Jr. Award)

$50 per person  |   Purchase your tickets online here.

$25 per student with ID / $400 per table  |  To purchase these tickets, please contact Yee Leng Xiong at or 715-348-6214.

For information about donations or sponsorships — or to request a vegetarian meal — contact the Hmong American Center at:

Event information is also available at the event’s Facebook page.

Please join us in cheering on ALL of the deserving finalists!

Brad Karger - Marathon County AdministratorBrad Karger

Marathon County Administrator

In his Administrator role, Brad Karger leads an organization with 700+ employees and an annual budget of more than $162 million. Brad has been in leadership positions with Marathon County for the past 30 years. He is known statewide for generating innovative ideas and solutions to problems, openness and transparency, and a commitment to community service that extends well beyond the normal workday.  Email Brad Karger.

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