A look at the remarkable career of Salvation Army’s Nan Pahl

Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 6:56 AM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - An influential woman in the Green Bay area is retiring after a long career in social work.

Nan Pahl has served as the director of social services for the Salvation Army of Greater Green Bay for the past 13 years. Prior to that job, she worked at the Brown County Department of Health and Human Services.

Pahl retires with more than 40 years in social work.

She has been a driving force behind Toys for Tots and Coats for Kids.

“It’s a pretty good feeling. You know, I’ve been around. I’ve met a lot of people. A lot of agency workers. A lot of families. That feeling of coming together and seeing what we are able to do. I always like to say I’m just a cog in this wheel,” Pahl said.

Nan’s family and coworkers say she was called to do this work.

“She just loves to see that people get what they need and help the best she can,” said Michelle Gossen, Nan’s daughter.

“Nan is definitely a gem. She’ll be missed by not only myself but the Salvation Army and the community,” says Major Matt O’Neil, Salvation Army of Greater Green Bay.

Nan remains humble when it comes to talking about her contributions. Her husband says it would be impossible to count all the hours Nan has spent organizing events like Coats for Kids.

“A family came out, a mother and she had like four kids. She lined them up on the outside wall of the Kroc Center and she took their pictures all in their gently used coats. The mom was just so proud of all of that. The kids were so happy about all that. This is why nan spends hours on logistics,” says Al Pahl.

Helping others is a value she has instilled in her children.

“I think it’s changed who we all are as individuals. I think there’s a lot of misconceptions about poverty in our community. This is going to sound terrible, but to be honest, I didn’t know when I was a freshman in college and my mom worked at the Salvation Army that there are homeless people in Green Bay,” says daughter Kathryn Kroll.

Nan may be retiring, but she’s not giving up her work in the community.

“I’m pretty sure I’m going to be back to help in some capacity because these events help our community, they help children,” says Nan.

“Well I gave her the grandbabies, so I know she’s going to spend lots more time with the girls and Devin,” says Michelle Gossen.

“She’s the best grandma in the whole world and I love her a lot,” says granddaughter Evelyn Gossen.