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Sue Stanek of Rochester Receives $1,000 In Seed Money

Community Roots | November 21, 2022

Tyler Himle from our Crossroads location in Rochester rewarded Sue Stanek with $1,000 in cash this past summer for our on-going Seed Money campaign. This campaign is focused around recognizing and rewarding individuals that are going above and beyond in our community.

Who Is Sue Stanek?

Sue is an observant, constantly moving, well-connected, and compassionate social worker for Olmsted County where she works with children with disabilities and their families. This may be her full-time job, but she passionately works to create a better community even after her workday is over.

What Makes Sue Stanek So Deserving?

When someone like Sue does so much in the community, it can be difficult to pin-point one reason why she’s deserving of Seed Money. One of the many reasons would her ability to see a problem and want to make it better for those experiencing hard times.

An issue that really stuck out to Sue was the number of people who had to surrender their pets due to the cost and needs of caring for them while they were receiving medical attention. So she coordinated a pet care program with the goal to help individuals properly take care of their pets while they get the medical help they need. This program helps individuals find temporary fosters (while they receive treatment), provides pet supplies, and even raises funds to pay for vet bills so they don’t have to worry about their pets while they get care themselves.

Janill Gallon is part of Sue’s wide network as a volunteer foster for her pet program and understands how important it is for these people to keep their pets because of the health benefits of having those companions. “These pets are providing emotional assistance. It’s important [for the individuals] to know that their animals are getting care while they are actively taking care of themselves – which is the goal,” Janill explains. 

Another focus Sue has includes providing necessities to individuals experiencing homelessness. She has been able to rely on her volunteer connections to continuously grow her volunteer network (and the community) through social media. This network is centered around raising funds and gathering supplies for those who need a “hand-up.” Collectively, the volunteer network has been able to make over 100 care packages to date for those individuals.

Like us at Home Federal, Sue also knows how much goes on behind the scenes to create a great community, so she also has created the “Reward the Good Work” program where she ambushes community heroes with funds as a reward for the good work they’re doing. Sound familiar? (Obviously, we love this…)

She also cares about those closer to her home (literally), understanding that even her neighbors may need a little help sometimes. “Sue makes our neighborhood smaller,” Brenda Kardock, Sue’s nominator, elaborated. “Sue has organized meal chains for people. Someone [in the neighborhood] had Covid and she needed a meal. Sue didn’t even know her, she dropped soup off at her doorstep so that she could have something to eat. That’s just the kind of person she is ­– she’s got a huge heart.”

While Brenda had unknowingly been a neighbor of Sue for years, she started to hear about how much she was doing for the community. “It just started with little things, and I found out she has this whole network where she could help people,” Brenda explains. “That’s just the tip of the iceberg.” Brenda recognizes that Sue is constantly giving herself to others and she’s always feeling like she must do more for other people over herself.

Where Did We Surprise Sue Stanek?

Our Rochester-Crossroads Branch Manager Tyler Himle waited at the Purple Goat in Rochester for Sue to arrive for her “lunch date” with friends Brenda and Janill who helped us coordinate the surprise. Once the $1,000 in cash was handed over, Sue was stunned and humbly explained to us “I have never gotten something like that, so thank you.”

Why Is Giving Back To The Community So Important?

Most people believe that giving back entails a monetary component. However, Sue has been able to make a large impact with her time. “If you don’t have money, you can give time,” Sue revealed. “I give a lot of time and I do a lot of coordination.”

She is driven to help make the community better because of her job at the County. Over the past 25-plus years, she has seen a lot of different situations and can see where these individuals need help. Through all her involvement, she realizes that everyone has hard times. This propels her to continue growing the community and giving back. “Everyone needs a hand-up sometimes,” Sue reflects. “It’s not a ‘hand-out’ but a hand-up to help them along.”

How Can You Help?

Sue is always looking for volunteers to add to her wide network. Sue has plenty of ways to stay in touch with the individuals that help her through her Facebook and email list. Brenda Kardock explains that it’s easy to help, “Just look for Sue Stanek on Facebook!”

Home Federal Believes In “Giving Today to Help Grow Tomorrow”

Seed Money was created to recognize and reward individuals who are going above and beyond in their communities. To showcase the work that Sue is doing in the Rochester community, we documented the surprise on video which can be viewed on our Youtube channel (along with other Seed Money recipients).

Seed Money is part of Home Federal’s Community Roots Initiative where our mission is to “Give Today to Help Grow tomorrow” and after meeting Sue, we know she is an integral part of making the Rochester community a better place to live.

“It’s nice to be able to come out with our Seed Money campaign and recognize the people like Sue for all they do,” Tyler highlights. “Hopefully we can spread the word so more people get out and volunteer their time or money to help others in the Rochester area.”

At Home Federal, we stress the importance of volunteerism to our employees through our Community Roots initiative which supports our employees in actively volunteering to grow our communities.

To Sue, and all those helping her, we thank you for all you do. See our other Seed Money stories and how we’re giving back by visiting our Seed Money page.

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