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Lindsey Kaczmarek of Kasson Receives $1,000 In Seed Money
Matt Bradford and the team from our Kasson branch recognized Lindsey Kaczmarek of Kasson this past summer with $1,000 in cash as part of our on-going Seed Money campaign. This campaign helps Home Federal and its employees recognize the unsung heroes in the communities we serve.
Who is Lindsey Kaczmarek?
Lindsey is a full-time paramedic at Mayo Clinic EMS, mom, and Kasson’s first female volunteer firefighter and lieutenant. She has also been involved with Habitat for Humanity and various other community events. With all the hats she wears, her most notable role has been her involvement with shedding light on the importance of addressing mental health to the Kasson community by using her own story to spread awareness.
Lindsey went through her own struggles with mental health. When she looks back on that time, she realized how hard it was to accept that it’s “okay to not be okay”. While we all have heard that line a time or two, Lindsey shared with us that when you’re living in it, it helps to have a community to support you and let you feel how you truly feel.
“I want people to look at me and go ‘hey, she showed me that it’s okay to not be okay and to be open about it,’” Lindsey explains. “But the only way to do that is to break down those barriers and I had to step out from [protecting myself] and do that to get other people to follow through. There’s so many people that are stepping out and doing that – especially in this community. We’re really breaking down the stigma and that’s huge. It’s life-altering to be honest.”
Lindsey was raised in Iowa and now resides in Kasson. She attributes her attitude towards helping people when they need it most to her humble upbringing. She never expects anything in return for her generous and selfless acts of service.
What Makes Lindsey Kaczmarek So Deserving?
Lindsey has worked hard and made an impact in the Kasson. “She is very deserving because of all the efforts she puts in with our fire department, community, all the activities she’s involved in, primarily the mental health awareness side,” Joe Fitch, Kasson Fire Department Chief, explains. “It’s a huge deal that we work through [any issues] with our fire department and emergency responders in our community – she spearheads that whole-heartedly.”
Matt Bradford, Kasson Market President, has known Kaczmarek since she was in college and before she even moved to Kasson. “Ever since she moved to the Kasson-Mantorville community she has been involved in a number of activities,” Bradford shared. “She is always wanting to give back and the first one to volunteer. She made it an easy choice.”
Lindsey’s efforts are creating a life-altering space for those going through mental health struggles. She also knows that mental health is an on-going issue that can last as little as a few days or even a couple of years. Her mission is to create a safe space within the Kasson community, so people feel comfortable speaking up and saying that they need help.
Where Did We Surprise Lindsey Kaczmarek?
Matt Bradford orchestrated for Lindsey to come to the Kasson Home Federal branch by telling her that he was looking for someone to work with him on an upcoming community event. She of course jumped at the opportunity. Prior to presenting Lindsey with the money, both Matt and Joe warned Home Federal’s camera crew that she is very humble and does not like the spotlight being on her.
“She will be very surprised, hopefully she doesn’t turn and run, she’s very humble. I wouldn’t be surprised if she tries to give the money back to the community in some way, shape, or form,” Bradford warns. Spoiler alert – she didn’t run, but not for lack of asking.
The moment that Lindsey saw not only Matt, but Joe Fitch and the camera crew in the Home Federal conference room, she knew this was not the meeting she anticipated. Matt then presented her with the $1,000 in cash.
A stunned Lindsey responded with, “Thank you, I don’t know what to say, I don’t do well with this stuff.” Once she shook hands with Bradford, she was able to crack a joke at her own expense asking, “Can I leave now?” After interviewed her, she even made a point to (jokingly) let us know that Chief Joe Fitch and Matt Bradford may have something coming their way as “retaliation” for this “well-played” surprise.
Why is Giving Back to the Community So Important?
Lindsey believes the Kasson community consists of families within a big family. To make the community feel that way takes everyone doing their own part to help others and keep giving back. Lindsey knows if she does her part and hopefully inspires others to do their part, the community will stay as great as it already is.
Lindsey has always had the philosophy that “if we don’t have each other, then we have nothing.” This mentality is why Lindsey is working so hard to create a community that will stand around those individuals when they need help and lift them up when they need it the most.
Seed Money was created to help recognize and reward the local “do-gooders” going above and beyond in their communities and Lindsey is the epitome of a deserving honoree. To help highlight all that Lindsey does, we recorded her Seed Money surprise and posted it to our Youtube channel. Feel free to view Lindsey’s video along with other recipients' footage, to see the full impact that Seed Money is providing to our communities.
“Knowing Lindsey’s personal struggles and dedication to growing the Kasson-Mantorville area, I was excited to recognize Lindsey,” Bradford explains. “I am glad I was able to present her with the Seed Money so she can continue doing good in our community.”
Seed Money is part of Home Federal’s Community Roots Initiative where the mission is to “Give Today to Help Grow Tomorrow” and we know Lindsey Kaczmarek has made a positive impact to grow in the Kasson-Mantorville community and a well-deserving recipient of Seed Money.
We thank individuals, like Lindsey, for all you do in the communities we serve. See our other Seed Money stories and how we’re giving back by visiting our Seed Money page.