Lerch receives top Waterloo Chamber honor

Pictured, front row, from left is Community Service Award winner Kelly Lerch with her husband, Kim, following Saturday’s award presentation; in back are Stephanie, David and Kady Lerch. (Kermit Constantine photo)

On the heels of receiving the prestigious Christian Service Award last year, Waterloo School District Wellness Coordinator Kelly Lerch was presented another high honor Saturday night by the Waterloo Chamber of Commerce.

Lerch was presented the 2012 Community Service Award during the Chamber’s annual party held at Gallagher’s. This year’s theme was a “Shake, Rattle and Roll” 1950’s-era sock hop, and all three floors of the restaurant were decorated for the occasion.

This award was given to Lerch in honor of her tireless efforts in volunteering, raising funds, mentoring youth, and generally helping the entire community in times of need.

Lerch has served in her role with the school district for more than 15 years. During that time, she has implemented such programs as Students Helping Out Waterloo (SHOW), which assists civic organizations and facilitates positive student activities. She has also been instrumental in coordinating safe post-prom activities at the high school, organizing food drives for local pantries, and partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

“We received several letters nominating Kelly for this award,” Waterloo Chamber President Deb Karwoski said in her presentation speech. “Each letter pointed out her ability and willingness to spring into action whenever she sees a need, always asking ‘What can I do to help?’ She finds solutions to even the toughest problems.

“We were told she is a blessing to those in need and an inspiration to all who know her. She is a leader and mentor to countless students in our school district. And, all agreed that the most beautiful thing about Kelly is that she never takes credit for what she does, but always gives credit to others.”

Sue Sweet gets into the sock hop spirit during the Waterloo Chamber’s annual party Saturday night. (Corey Saathoff photo)

True to her nature, Lerch credited the entire Waterloo school district for allowing her the means to do the work she does, and the community as a whole for coming together in times of need.

She also praised her family, especially husband Kim Lerch, for always being there for her.

“I was so moved by the award and the write-up that Debbie read,” Lerch said. “When I saw the list of people who were recognized before me, I was very humbled and honored. Those were people who made Waterloo the community it is today.”

Past recipients of this annual award include the Waterloo Optimist Club, Pam Jacobs, Jeannette Gregson, George Obernagel, Doris Rippelmeyer, Lynn Bersche and Harry Wolf and the Water- loo German Band, along with the late Edd Kueker and Eleanor Garcia.

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.
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