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Lenzen receives Klein award
by Mollee Francisco
Mar 08, 2012 | 5289 views | 3 3 comments | 85 85 recommendations | email to a friend | print
John Lenzen got his first loan from KleinBank, then called First National Bank of Chaska. The year was 1963 and Lenzen’s parents had just passed away. He needed a loan to help buy their house, but without any credit he found himself pleading for the bank to take a chance on him.

Lenzen remembers George C. Klein telling the loan officer to bring “the young man” to his office. Lenzen stated his case before the bank president and then waited for his response.

“Give the young man a loan,” Lenzen recalled Klein saying. It was a moment that embedded itself in Lenzen’s memory, and no doubt contributed to a sense of duty to the community that he carries with him to this day.

“It’s important that people understand that you’ve got to give back to the community or the community won’t be there for you,” he said.

Giving back has become a way of life for the Carver native, who owns Lenzen Chevrolet Buick in Chaska. Last month, he was recognized with the George C. Klein Service Above Self Award at the annual Chaska Rotary Gala on Feb. 25.

“John stands out for his hard work and contributions to making Chaska a better place in so many ways,” said presenter, and former Chaska mayor, Bob Roepke.

“...When you think of a person that will work tirelessly to make a community event work, you think of John,” he said. “When you want to get a community project done, you think of John. When you think of pride in their community, you think of John. When you think of a community can-do attitude, you think of John. When you think of someone that can rally people to a cause, you think of John... .”

As if to illustrate Roepke’s point, the married father of four opens his desk drawer and pulls out a healthy stack of letters neatly bound with a rubber band. “These are this month’s requests,” he explained. Some will get checks from Lenzen, others will receive things like Twins tickets for use in raffles and at silent auctions.

“There’s a rewarding factor,” he said, when asked what he gets out of helping others. “People love people that give back.”

Lenzen has been giving back to both Chaska and Carver for as long as he can remember. He served as both councilor and mayor in Carver and is a founding member of the Carver Lions Club. He is a member of the Chaska 100 Club and an active fundraiser for St. John’s Lutheran Church. And he has been the go-to guy for parade planning for Carver’s Steamboat Days as well as Chaska’s River City Days and sesquicentennial celebration.

“The secret to parades is to start two years ahead of time,” he said grinning.

Lenzen said that he was honored to receive the Klein award, noting that he shares the same core values as both the Klein Bank family and the Rotary Club of Chaska.

At the gala he also offered six key areas that contribute to his success: “God — where all blesdings come from; family — the only way of life; friends — always there when you need them; community — great place to live and do business and give back to others; sports — teaches you the team concept; and hard work — always give 100 percent.

“If you do all these, you’ll be able to live the American Dream which I am doing tonight,” he said.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
March 08, 2012
Well deserved, John. Your “keys to success” are so simple, yet so profound.

"The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive."

Albert Einstein

March 08, 2012
March 08, 2012
You must work for him LOL
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