Rusty Kapela Retires

Rusty Kapela, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service Milwaukee/Sullivan, retired on September 3rd, 2013, after over 36 years of service. Rusty spent 23 years of his Weather Service career directly serving the citizens of Wisconsin. He received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in meteorology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the mid-1970’s. After graduation, Rusty worked for 1 ½ years as a forecaster in a pilot program at UW-Madison which provided forecasts for the Agricultural Extension Service and Power Plants, commercial radio stations, and commercial vegetable canning companies. He then moved on to work 3 months in Antarctica, 2 of which were spent at the South Pole Station. Rusty entered the National Weather Service in March, 1977, as a Meteorologist Intern at Mitchell Field in Milwaukee and was promoted to a Journey Forecaster in Milwaukee in 1980. In 1981, Rusty was promoted to Lead Forecaster in Sioux Fall, SD, then promoted again in 1991 to Deputy Meteorologist-in-Charge in Cleveland, OH. Rusty transferred to our office and became our first Warning Coordination Meteorologist in February, 1994. We wish Rusty the best as he moves on to new adventures. He leaves behind a great legacy here at National Weather Service Milwaukee/Sullivan and across southern Wisconsin.

We had a cookout at our office to celebrate his retirement on August 28th.  We kept the guest list a surprise, and Rusty was pleased to see so many past MKX office retirees, Wisconsin Emergency Management and media partners show up! 

 NWS Operations Area  Rusty's family Rusty and Brian Satula 

Gary Cannalte, WMSN FOX 47, hanging out with the forecasters in the MKX Operations area

 Rusty's wife and daughter, Sandy and Tracy

 Morgan Brooks, MKX meteorologist not pictured, made a nice slideshow to commemorate Rusty's NWS career.  Many had kind words to share, including Brian Satula, Administrator of Wisconsin Emergency Mangement.

 Rusty and Brian Satula  Rusty and Brian Satula  Rusty and Brian Satula

Brian Satula, Administrator of Wisconsin Emergency Management, presented Rusty with a "Certificate of Commendation" from the State of WI Office of the Governor that was signed by Gov. Scott Walker.

Rusty also received a "Meritorious Service Medal" from the State of WI Department of Military Affairs, presented by Brian Satula.

The Administrator of Wisconsin Emergency Managment (WEM), Brian Satula, presented Rusty with a plaque that recognized his continuous support and service to the WEM organization.

 Rusty and Ken Rizzo  Rusty and Steve Brueske  Weather Rocks

Rusty received a "Certificate of Loyal Service" plaque from Central Region National Weather Service.  Ken Rizzo, former MKX Meteorologist-in- Charge, presented it.

Stephen Brueske, current MKX Meteorologist-in- charge, presented Rusty with a laser-engraved granite plaque with a picture of the MKX office and a timeline of Rusty's NWS career.  The plaque was purchased by MKX employees.

You can't be a retiring meteorologist and not receive "weather rocks" at your office going-away party!

 Rusty and Mark McGinnis  Milwaukee NWS Retirees/Past Employees  Rusty and Media Partners

Rusty Kapela and Mark McGinnis, Madison CBS 58

Rusty and many retirees/former employees from the NWS Milwaukee office

Several TV meteorologists attended Rusty's party, including Gary Cannalte (WMSN FOX 47), John Malan, Michael Fish and Jesse Ritka (TMJ 4), and Mark Baden and Sally Severson (WISN 12).

 Cookout 1                       Cookout 2  MKX Operations Area

Cookout and Picnic at the MKX office- several folks from Wisconsin Emergency Management at this table

 Cookout and Picnic at the MKX office

 MKX Operations area


 Farewell, Rusty!


National Weather Service - Milwaukee/Sullivan


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