Couple keep on giving to small town
BLOOMING PRAIRIE — One of the biggest lessons Lindsey Schiefert, 14, is learning from her father comes when he's not home.
Nick Schiefert might be at a meeting of the Blooming Prairie Fire Department, where he is fire marshal, or planning for the town's big Old Fashioned Fourth of July celebration, where he has been a co-chairman.
Yes, his daughter said, she'd like to have her dad home more, but she also knows that he's gone for a good reason: "because he's helping people." Lindsey hopes to use that lesson when she becomes an adult.
Others have also taken note of her father's interest in helping others and how her mother, Amanda Schiefert, also steps up when Blooming Prairie needs a hand.
The couple were recently named the 2010 Citizens of the Year in Blooming Prairie for their work. They are unusually young for such awards in small towns because most winners tend to go to older people who have spent many decades helping out.
The couple, however, are typical in one way: They were humble, saying they were surprised and taken aback.
"Every family in a small town has busy lives," Nick Schiefert said. "We are honored to be honored."
Nick also had a hard time explaining why he puts in so many volunteer hours.
"I don't know," he said. "Can't say no."
He thought about it more: "We like being part of the community and helping out."
Nick grew up in Rochester, Amanda is from Cannon Falls. Neither has any interest in living in a big city, not even Rochester. Too much traffic, too many hassles, they said.
Work and volunteer time, as well as active children, keep the Schieferts on the move. A typical school day will have Nick up to drive school bus in the morning, go to the Dairy Queen Brazier they own to prepare it for the day's business, home for breakfast, back to work, home for supper and maybe to a meeting in the evening. Or he might get called to a fire run. The business also donates DQ gift certificates for many local auctions and fundraisers.
Amanda worked at DQ for years, until she joined Main Street Dental Clinic, where she now works in the front office. With Lindsey, Leah, 12 and Joe, 10, she keeps busy with school activities.
"I live a very boring life compared to him," she said. "I go to work, I come home, I go to work, I come home."
That's not totally true, however. She was a Girl Scout leader three years, helped with the Fourth of July celebrations and helps with wives of other firefighters in the pancake and brats fundraisers.
On weekends, the couple are also busy, such as last Saturday, when they went to Leah's sixth-grade volleyball scrimmage in Cannon Falls. At home, they went to the Saturday night football game, where Blooming Prairie beat Fillmore Central 53-15.
Then on Sundays, the Schieferts rest. The children have a chance to play with friends, watch TV, loaf.
On Monday, it's back to work, school and time for Nick to spend time helping out Blooming Prairie and offering those precious lessons in sharing to his children.