A lifelong resident of Faribault with a passion for community service, Laura Bock was recently named the Faribault Rotary Club’s Rotarian of the Year for 2021.
The award is presented annually by the club to one of its members who displays the ideals of Rotary in service to the community, has demonstrated leadership to the club and has provided outstanding contributions to one or more Rotary activities.
The award’s announcement was made earlier this month by club President Todd Sesker and it was presented to Bock by Rotary Club Treasurer Eric Craig.
“There is no one more deserving of this award than Laura Bock,” said David Connelly, who serves along with Bock as a co-chair for the Rotary Club’s Community Service Committee. “The motto that Rotarians have is ‘Service Above Self,’ and in our club being the Community Service Chair, who sets up basically all of our community service, Laura has been that person for years.
“It would be hard to argue that there is anyone who has done as much service above herself in our club and has more of a passion for our community than Laura.”
In presenting the award to Bock, Craig said, “Laura Bock is truly an example of what all Rotarians should be and we are fortunate to have her within our club.”
A member of the Faribault Rotary Club since 2017, Bock has been a leader for the club’s community service activities from the time she was inducted.
Bock’s connection with the club started with her husband Steve Bock, who is also a Rotary Club member and a co-owner of Glen’s Towing. The couple had hosted a Rotary foreign exchange student from Columbia in 2017, and that experience helped convince Bock to become a Rotarian.
“My husband is a Rotarian as well,” Bock said. “We hosted an exchange student that year and I had been attending so many Rotary meetings as a host parent, I was invited to be a member by Jake Cook. I decided to take him up on the offer because I really liked the club.
“When I was inducted (in 2017), I was asked to be the Community Service Committee Chairperson. So, I just started organizing all the different Rotarian community service events that we do throughout the year. I enjoy volunteering and it works out really well for me.”
Over the past four years, Bock has been responsible for organizing multiple community service activities for the Rotary Club including Red Cross blood drives three times a year, monthly Meals on Wheels delivery, Adopt-A-Highway clean-up east of town near Cedar Lake, Salvation Army bell ringing during the holiday season, Habitat for Humanity work and help with the Warm Our Community Coat Drive.
She more recently helped plan the club’s picnic, helped with a clean-up project at Crockers Creek and volunteered to help pack meals at the food shelf.
“We are just trying to help support the other organizations that help make Faribault a healthier and better community,” Bock said. “We help organizations keep doing what they do best.”
Craig noted in the award presentation, “Not only does Laura the leadership skills by getting these events organized and staffed, she is there as a volunteer placing service above self.”
A native of Faribault, Bock’s community service interest dates back over 10 years to her time when she was involved with the Chamber of Commerce and Faribault’s Main Street Program as the manager of the Cheese Cave in downtown. She helped with a variety of volunteer events in that capacity and carried that passion on to the Rotary Club and her current position with Thrivent Financial, where she has helped organized community service events with her co-workers including putting together care packages for the military.
“She is just a very kind-hearted person who is willing to roll up her sleeves anytime and help out our community,” Connelly said. “She is also super organized and makes sure that everyone is in place and where they need to be for all our community projects.”
Bock’s work has definitely made an impact on the community, but she also believes that her community service work has been a positive factor in her life too.
“I make the time now because it feel good to volunteer,” Bock said. “I feel that if you can give of yourself, eventually, if you are in need, those good vibes are going to come back to you.”
To receive the award, a club member is nominated by other club members and then selected by a committee for Rotarian of the Year.
“I was completely surprised to receive the award,” Bock said. “It is very humbling to be nominated and receive the award from my fellow Rotarians.”
Another humbling moment for Bock has been her recent selection as a future president for the club. She is slated to serve as the Faribault Rotary Club’s president in 2023-24.
“I accepted that, and it is very humbling to be asked because it means they think you can run the club for the year,” said Bock.