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Hudson Rotary names first "Unsung Hero"

At the presentation for Unsung Hero Award were, from left, Hudson Rotary President Chuck Ladd, award winner Glenn Kees, his wife Midge Kees, and Phipps Center for the Arts Executive Director and nominating Rotarian John Potter. Submitted photo.

The Hudson Rotary Club awarded its first “Unsung Hero” award to community volunteer, Glenn Kees at the annual Rotary golf event Aug. 5. Kees received an honorary Rotary Paul Harris Fellow Award as well as a financial donation in his name to an organization of his choice.

The “Unsung Hero” award was established this year by the Hudson Thursday Noon Rotary Club to recognize an outstanding community volunteer who shares similar values of service above self, like Rotarians, but often times goes unnoticed to the general public.

“Glenn Kees has definitely set the bar very high for future nominees of our Hudson Rotary award,” said Rotarian John Potter, Phipps Center for the Arts executive director and nominating Rotarian. “Glenn has not only volunteered at The Phipps for 30 years, but also the hospital for almost 20 years and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

Kees was a member of the plan commission for the town of Troy for eight years. He is active in his church, First Congregational United Church of Christ in River Falls, where he mows the lawn, assists the church school programs, occasionally drives the van on Sunday mornings, and has built and repaired facilities at the church camp in St. Germain quarterly for the past eight years.

Kees also participated in relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina as well as during the floods in Fargo. He has built homes for Habitat for Humanity throughout the southern and midwestern states for the past 20 years.

For Hudson Hospital, he drove the patient van for 15 years and has installed Lifeline and Life Assist medical alarm systems since 1994 for seniors so they can live independently.

Since The Phipps Center for the Arts opening in 1983, he volunteered his carpentry skills during evenings and weekends in the scene shop, building sets and scenic elements for the community theater and children’s theater shows that the center produces. When he retired in 1993, he began working even more hours during the day, under the supervision of the center’s technical director.

In addition, he frequently takes the initiative to obtain scenic elements on his own, such as items that businesses are no longer using, discarded building materials, or difficult to find objects. For the past four years, he has averaged 20 to 24 hours per week throughout the year.

“In addition, he has encouraged his friends to work alongside him as volunteers,” said Potter. “His cheerful disposition and positive, resourceful attitude encourages a friendly and inviting atmosphere. Throughout this entire volunteer time, Glenn has never sought recognition or preferential treatment; he simply does whatever is needed.”

When Kees accepted the award from Hudson Rotary President Chuck Ladd, he quoted Arthur Ash’s definition of hero: “True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.”