Hub Club member Don Sanderson and his wife Suzanne, left, were surprised when club members stopped by Don’s office Friday afternoon to tell him that he is the newest recipient of the club’s Service to Agriculture Award. Past recipients of the award pictured are Randy Schroeder and Del Fischer, Jr. Not pictured, Ruth Klossner.
Don Sanderson was enjoying a quick lunch that his wife Suzanne had brought to his office Friday when several members of the New Ulm Farm City Hub Club interrupted him.
They‚ as members of the club’s Service to Ag selection committee‚ dropped in to surprise Don with the announcement that he is this year’s recipient of the club’s Service to Agriculture Award.
Don protested that there are others more worthy‚ but the club members wouldn’t hear it. They told him that he can help to find and honor them next year, when he’ll be a member of the selection committee as a recipient of the award.
Don has been a hard worker for the club ever since he joined, soon after moving to New Ulm from Iowa.
Don will be recognized at a club social/summer picnic Tuesday, July 27 at Hermann Heights Park in New Ulm. The Service to Ag recipient is usually honored at the club’s annual meeting in January, but that had to be cancelled this year.
Sanderson remembers attending his first club meeting, at a time when the club was in a downturn and the remaining members were considering disbanding. As Don talked to those members, he explained how he had turned a financially struggling city celebration in Story City, Iowa, around.
The next day, club member Jim Thomas asked Sanderson to consider being president of the club.
“I didn’t want to go down that road again. I believed that I had the ability, but I had just started a new agency here and I was new to the community. I bargained with Jim, asked him to be president for a year, find a first vice president, and I’d be second vice president,” Sanderson recalled. “I told him, if the club isn’t dead in two years, I’d take it over.”
Sanderson became Hub Club president in January 2011 and installed organizational structure with event chair persons and public relations and events directors.
Don’s greatest contribution to the club, however, has been as chairman of the club’s annual Farm Show. After serving on the committee, Don assumed leadership in 2015 and built the show each year through hard work, great communication, and working closely with the show committee.
With his involvement in the Hub Club, Don has chosen not to join other community organizations. He explained, “In Story City, I was in everything — Lions, Chamber, and more. I found that a lot of the time, I wasn’t doing my own business. When I came here, I said I will do one thing that I have a passion for and do it right. That’s the Hub Club. They got all of me, right or wrong.”
Fortunately for the New Ulm Farm City Hub Club, Don’s passion has been an asset for the organization and, especially, its farm show. He’s been able to balance his work as a State Farm agent with his passion for agriculture and the club. At his agency, Don works with many farmers, helping them protect their farms, homes, autos, and more.
When he is not working or helping the Hub Club, Don enjoys fishing‚ winter and summer.
Don and Suzanne travel a lot, both on State Farm trips, as well as to see their kids and grandkids who are scattered. Jason and wife Carrie live in Story City, Iowa; Aaron and wife Donna in Jasper, Georgia; Ty in New Ulm, and John and Trisha in Roland, Iowa. Keeping up with five grandkids and two great-grandkids keeps the Sandersons busy.
Don grew up in Council Bluffs, Iowa, graduated from college in Iowa, served in the Navy in Viet Nam, and worked in several jobs before joining State Farm Insurance in 1977 in Story City. After being moved into leadership with State Farm in Des Moines, Iowa, in 2000, Don came to New Ulm and established his own agency in 2006.