Chamber award winner is truly ‘from home’

Waterloo Chamber of Commerce Community Service Award recipient Glen Lutz has worked at First National Bank of Waterloo for 41 years. (Alan Dooley photo)

The Waterloo Chamber of Commerce has named Glen Lutz as the latest recipient of its coveted Community Service Award.

By day, Lutz is a senior vice president at First National Bank of Waterloo. He’s heavily engaged in numerous community organizations and events after work.

“The Community Service Award is presented annually to a citizen or organization of Waterloo whose achievements have a positive effect on the quality of life within our community; have involvement in community service through business, civic or charitable affiliations; and have demonstrated dedication to providing excellent service,” the Waterloo Chamber’s press release states.

First National Bank of Waterloo President Gary Hemmer said Lutz is a tremendous asset to the financial institution.

“Glen knows everyone in Waterloo and he has helped many people achieve financial success,” Hemmer said. “Glen is dedicated to service above self…  He truly has made Waterloo a better place to live and to work.”

Lutz said he was “deeply humbled” when notified of the award.

“I’m even more so because my dad received this honor 17 years ago,” he said. “It’s a warm connection.”

His father, former Waterloo Postmaster Otis Lutz, was the 2000 awardee.

A lifelong resident of Waterloo, Glen Lutz epitomizes the phrase by which natives identify themselves: “I am from home.”

They are indeed from, and deeply engrained in, the Waterloo community and its warm, connective fabric.

A 1974 Waterloo High School graduate, Lutz attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Playing in the marching band during high school led him to the Marching Salukis band.

“We didn’t have football at Waterloo High then, so our marching here was limited to parades. There,

I encountered my first halftime display,” he said.

Lutz told how he entered banking.

“I was home from college,” he said.

He was majoring in business administration and trying to decide where he would eventually go in the working world.  Previous work experience had run the gamut from lawn mowing to flipping hamburgers at Reaben’s on South Market Street.

“I thought about banking, and heard there might be an opening at First National Bank.  I interviewed and was offered a teller’s job,” he said.

That was Jan. 12, 1976, a detail-oriented Lutz remembered precisely.

He returned to Carbondale, gathered up his belongings, came home, went to work and has been there 41 years.  Glen’s involvement with First National Bank has a family link, too.  His dad worked there and great-grandfather A.C. Rexroth was one of the bank’s founders 102 years ago.

He gravitated to the Waterloo Municipal Band early on, the first of what would be a series of community participations that continue to occupy much of his time and energy today.

His dad had preceded him in that group.

The list of community involvements grew rapidly, adding over the years the Kaskaskia Trail Chorus, Bud Light Brigade, Waterloo Park District, and Waterloo’s Centennial Committee, as well as helping organize the first Porta Westfalica Festival in 1980, performing volunteer work at Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, and serving with the Waterloo Chamber of Commerce.

Lutz considers his job at the bank to be important community involvement, too.  His principal work is loan origination, and he said that in cases where he helped families build financial security early on, he is today providing similar advice and service to their children.

His cheerful greeting has been a fixture at the north branch of the bank since they opened there in 1986.

“At first we felt like we were on the outskirts,” he said.  “Employees used to watch deer in the field behind the bank.  Then we got Waterloo’s first ATM machine. People could get an ATM card at the main branch downtown, but they had to come here to activate it.  That’s how many found us.”

We asked Lutz why he has stayed in Waterloo all his life.

“I grew up here. I really had no desire to move away after high school – to live anywhere else. If we needed a big city item, St. Louis was nearby. This was a wonderful, small town,” he said, remembering the “Welcome to Waterloo – Population 2500” signs of early years.

“My family was almost all here,” he said.

Glen’s immediate family in Waterloo today includes his wife, Sheryl, a nurse with the Advanced Endoscopy Center in St. Louis; son Dan, an engineer for Oates and Associates of Collinsville and Dan’s wife, Cassie, a laboratory technician at Missouri Baptist Hospital.

The Lutzes’ daughter, Jenny, is a first grade teacher in Philadelphia, where she resides with her husband, Jack, an attorney.  Glen has two brothers, Dennis, in St. Louis and Bob, who has inexplicably ended up in Florida.

Going on, he described Waterloo as more than a place to live.

“I got involved. That was like a glue. My engagement with community activities came from a desire to leave a fingerprint on the place.  When I am gone, few may remember me, but I wanted to and still want to, make a difference,” he said.

Lutz summed up his feelings, stating, “I have lifelong friends here. You can’t move away and have lifelong friends.  You have to start over and those friends you began life with are back here.”

A lifelong residency in Waterloo, and almost as many years of public service and friendship for Glen Lutz, truly a man “from home,” will be recognized publicly at the Chamber’s Annual Social, “80’s Neon Nights,” on Saturday, March 25 at The Falls Banquet & Reception Center in Columbia.

The public is invited to attend. Call 939-5300 for tickets.

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