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BREAKING NEWS

Put a little passion into your life

By Staff | Apr 27, 2015

Do you have any passion in your life?

Included in this week’s Faribault County Register you will find a copy of this year’s edition of our Community Focus magazine.

In it you will find six stories about a variety of people and groups from around the county.

The people in the stories all have one thing in common. They are passionate about what they do.

I hope that comes through when you read about them.

Some of the folks are passionate about reading books and supporting their local libraries. Yes, people still read and libraries still have free books. But there are many more things happening at a library these days, and they all cost money. The Friends of the Library want to help.

Some people are passionate about golf and they are willing to turn that passion into working hard to revamp a nearly 100-year-old golf course, the oldest nine-hole course in Minnesota.

You can read about their hours of volunteer labor a labor of love and passion. You can also read about a group of retired men who are riding around the Riverside course, not on golf carts but on large lawn mowers. They are the Riverside Roughriders.

While the school in Winnebago has been a big topic lately, long ago there was a group of folks who were passionate about Christian education and built a college in the small town.

What is now Parker Oaks started out as Parker College. You can read how this college is in the history books for having hired the first African-American head college coach ever.

There are folks who like to camp and Faribault County operates two parks to accommodate them. You can read about the passion one of the park managers has for keeping Pihl’s Park in tip-top shape.

Some people are passionate about their community. That comes through with Lars Bierly, who is not only passionate about his work, but also about doing whatever he can to help make his community a little bit better place to live.

Then there are those whose work is to help some of the people who need it the most.

Those who work at STEP, Inc., help people with disabilities find jobs to do. And, they are passionate about it. The clients who work there are also passionate about the things they do and the items they make.

I hope you have a little passion in your life, whether it is your work, volunteering or an interesting hobby. We all need a little passion to make living worthwhile.

And speaking of having just such a passion in one’s life, here is someone who did.

Elsewhere in this issue of the Faribault County Register, you will note an obituary for Leonard A. “Lenny” Vitha, age 67, of Owatonna.

I actually met Lenny one time, and spent a large part of one afternoon listening to his life story while we were sitting in my office at the Register.

It was a fascinating few hours. Let’s just say Lenny was a pretty interesting fellow, who had lived an interesting life.

It came about this way. He sent me a letter. Not a note, not an email, not a text, not a Facebook message.

A real letter, several pages long, sent through the U.S. Mail.

In it he described his life and some of the interesting factors about it.

There was one very interesting part. He had set the Minnesota record for longest free fall from a plane. And the 25th anniversary of that free fall was coming up later that summer.

He ended by asking me if I was interested in doing a story about it.

Well, I was interested.

Although he was living in Waseca (and then Owatonna) he was originally from Faribault County and had gone to school in Elmore, Blue Earth and Frost.

So, yes, I was interested in doing the story, I told him. And it was a fun story to write, because it was so different.

Lenny had two passions in life flying and parachuting. The two go together, sort of, I guess.

He loved to fly in planes, but he also loved to jump out of them. Thousands of times.

He was a parachuting instructor most of his life, until his legs and back gave out on him.

As it states in his obituary on page 6, “Lenny loved flying and he had a difficult time staying on the ground.”

That is a very true statement. He had a passion for flying and jumping out of planes and did it a lot. An awful lot.

I hope you have something to be as passionate about as Lenny did even if it is a little bit tamer than leaping out of airplanes.