The First National Bank of Arenzville has announced the winner of the “Blue Diamond Community Service Award” for 2017. This is the fourth year for the award, created to recognize outstanding volunteers in the First National Bank service area and the work they’ve done throughout the past calendar year.
The announcement was made by First National Bank President Kai Schnitker, “we are pleased to announce our first ever posthumous Blue Diamond Community Service Award. This year’s award will recognize the life-time service achievement of Lorenz ‘Skeez’ Kleinschmidt who passed away in January at the age of 91.” According to Schnitker, Mr. Kleinschmidt was an active volunteer throughout his life and had been nominated in past years for the Blue Diamond Community Service Award. “Skeez”, as he was known in the area, served his country as a teenager in World War II. He was stationed in Europe as an army tank commander. Mr. Kleinschmidt was dedicated to his community. He was elected to a seat on the Cass County Board and was appointed to the Board of Review where he served well into his eighties. He served as a Township Trustee for both Hagener and Arenzville and held numerous church offices throughout his life. While a member of the Board of Education in the 1960s, “Skeez” worked to help establish the foundation for the current Triopia Schools. His work and dedication has impacted generations of area school kids. “Skeez” attracted several BDCSA nominations over the past couple of years and those who nominated him recall that he was humble and unassuming. He never sought recognition for his hours of volunteer work.
According to First National Bank Vice President and Branch Manager Kevin Heitz, “recognizing a lifetime of service with this year’s award seemed fitting. We’ve received nominations for some very deserving volunteers over the years. We hope that honoring ‘Skeez’ is an inspiration to others who give their time and expertise to the community.”
Schnitker explains the origins of the award, “Blue Diamond Service is about being the best…it’s about doing more than what is expected and delivering a truly outstanding level of service. We felt there are people working in our communities who deserve some recognition for going above and beyond. That’s why we created the Blue Diamond Community Service Award.”
Nominations for the annual award are open to anyone within the First National Bank Service Area. Nominees could be serving in a volunteer position or they might be delivering an outstanding level of service as a professional aid worker or caregiver. Virtually anyone doing their best to provide Blue Diamond Service to the community is eligible for the award.
As recipient of the 2017 Blue Diamond Community Service Award, Mr. Kleinschmidt’s three granddaughters were recently presented with a commemorative award statuette in their grandfather’s name. Mr. Kleinschmidt has also had his name placed on a perpetual plaque displayed at the First National Bank of Arenzville.
Schnitker says he hopes to see the excitement about this recognition continue to grow. “We know that no one who is doing volunteer work is actively seeking an award. That’s what makes this so enjoyable…we get to shine a spotlight on great service and the people getting this recognition are sometimes almost surprised to be noticed. We look forward to celebrating volunteers and the work they are doing throughout our area for many years to come.”
PHOTO : [Kai Schnitker (L) presenting the 2017 Blue Diamond Community Service Award to (L to R) Jenny Kleinschmidt, Julie Meyer and Jamie Hobrock, granddaughters of posthumous BDCSA recipient Lorenz “Skeez” Kleinschmidt.]