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BE Community Foundation gets big check

By Staff | Sep 1, 2019

The Blue Earth Community Foundation recently received a check from Jean Yeager’s estate. BECF board chair John Huisman accepts the check from Yeager’s nephew Bryan Sweet as BECF board members Lori Nauman, Tom Juba and Cindy Lein look on.

The Blue Earth Community Foundation recently received a large donation a $103,000 gift, to be exact.

“The check is from the estate of Jean Yeager,” says foundation board chair John Huisman. “It will actually be kept in a separate fund, known as the Roy and Jean Yeager Fund, but it will be a part of the funds available for the foundation board to oversee.”

Jean Yeager passed away this past June 16. However, the plans to make a donation to the BE Community Foundation were underway before her death.

“It was all her idea,” says her nephew, Bryan Sweet, of Fairmont. “She loved Blue Earth and felt it was a great community. She wanted to make this donation to the foundation, as a way to say thank you to the community and for their support of Yeager Implement over the years.”

Also, Sweet says, it was Jean’s intent to have her donation be an example to others, and perhaps spur some additional donations to the foundation.

It was unfortunate, Sweet says, that Jean died before the actual donation was made. Huisman agrees.

“We actually had a meeting set up between the board and Jean and Bryan,” he says. “But Jean got sick then and soon passed away before we could meet.”

Roy and Jean owned Yeager Implement in Blue Earth for years. Jean (Sweet) Yeager was born in Blue Earth and was a graduate of Blue Earth High School and Mankato State University.

She spent 40 years in education in Winnebago, Frost and Delavan school systems including being a fifth and sixth grade teacher and a principal.

Roy Yeager was born in Jolley, Iowa, but attended school in Delavan. He purchased Hauff Implement and then built Yeager Implement in 1965.

The two were married on June 22, 1948. They were married for 68 years, until Roy passed away on Jan. 28, 2017.

“Jean always gave to several charities, but she wanted to make a large donation to the Blue Earth Foundation, after it was started,” Sweet says. “She was talking to her friend Marty Sawyer (a BECF board member) first about making this donation.”

Sweet says the exact amount was his idea, as was making it a separate fund.

“I just thought it would be nice that they would be remembered for this donation,” he says. “So we decided to make it a fund in their name.”

Huisman added that while it is a separate fund, the foundation board will be able to decide what exactly to do with the money, using a set of guidelines.

“The nice thing is that while we now have two other funds besides the main foundation one, we can possibly bundle some money from each one on a larger project,” Huisman explained. “We can use up to four and a half percent each year from the funds.”

While the community of Blue Earth now has lot to be thankful to Roy and Jean Yeager for, Sweet says he has a personal debt to them, as well.

“My mother, Jean’s sister, and my father divorced when I was three,” Sweet says. “I never saw my father but once over the years. I spent a lot of time with Roy and Jean, especially summers, and they taught me a lot. Jean taught me the value of an education, and Roy taught me how to treat people when you are in business. I was very fortunate to have them in my life.”

Sweet says Jean and Roy were very excellent examples for him to follow in his life.

“They were wonderful people, had many friends, and were very good to other people,” he says. “Now their gift to the Blue Earth Community Foundation is their way of showing their love for the town, and is Jean’s way of being an example for others to follow.”