When Kent Schultz came to Waseca he planned to stay for a year. Thirty-six years later, Schultz has become a cornerstone of the community.
"My problem is when I join an organization, I really get involved," said Schultz. "I don't like starting projects and not finishing."
Even though he's been in countless organizations and was president of almost all of them at one time or another, Schultz says his motto is "to walk quietly and get it done."
On Jan. 25, Schultz was given the Exchange Club Book of Golden Deeds and Service Above Self awards at the Community Awards Banquet.
The Exchange Club Book of Golden Deeds recognizes area residents whose sacrifice for the public good is motivated by an innate desire to help others and to honor those individuals whose good deeds otherwise go without notice, according to the Waseca Area Chamber of Commerce.
According to Dawn Briggs, member of the Waseca Exchange Club, the award "recognizes dedicated volunteers who give endless hours of their time and talents toward making their communities better places to live."
Schultz joined the Waseca Exchange Club in May 1982, nine months after the group was chartered. He then served as president of the club. He recently finished two terms as president of the Waseca Arts Council and played a big part in the development and remodeling of the Waseca Art Center.
Schultz has been recognized twice this year, winning a second award -- the Service Above Self award from Waseca Rotary Club. This award "represents an outstanding volunteer who has provided exceptional service to the Waseca community in one or two focus areas for several years. The winner exemplifies a commitment to service, or an organization and has made a lasting contribution to the community," according to the Chamber of Commerce.
Marilee Reck, co-chair of the Service Above Self committee, said Schultz was "the right person at the right time."
"We aren't looking for someone who's done a little in a lot of areas," said Reck. While Schultz has been involved in numerous groups and activities, his strong involvement with the relocation of the Waseca Art Center is what made him stand out among the other nominees.
Rotary President Eric Worke said Schultz deserves the award this year because "he's led by example of what dedication and hard work to serving others can do. He's definitely a star amongst us."
Schultz's son Eric agrees with his father. "When he gets involved with something he gets fully involved. He's passionate, that's for sure. He likes to see betterment in the community any way he can."
"I always look for ways to make sure the organizations I'm in are involved in the community. It's about being a good community steward," said Schultz.
His daughter Brandy is proud of how much her father helps the community.
"I believe that he just wants to make the community that he lives in a better place. He wants to have everything just be a little better, so if he can donate expertise, time, or resources … He's a big believer in giving back to the community," said Brandy.
Schultz said he wouldn't have been so involved if it wasn't for his late wife, Diane.
"I was out trying to conquer the world and my wife held the house together," said Schultz.
Schultz says his wife's support allowed him to devote himself to community involvement and to become the best leader he was able to be.
Brandy said her dad has won numerous awards in the past, including Boss of the Year in the early 1990s, but that he doesn't do things for the recognition.
"You don't volunteer to try to win an award. You do it because you have a passion and want to leave things better than when you found it," he said.
Brandy said Kent's humility is what makes him a pillar in the community. "He doesn't volunteer for the spotlight. He says, 'Look at what got done,' not 'Look at what I did.'"
Reach reporter Samantha Maranell at 507-837-5446 or follow her on Twitter.com @WCNsamantha.