Lloyd and Betty Brichacek have spent much of their adult lives volunteering throughout Schuyler, but even the most well-oiled of relationships have their speed bumps.
“We enjoy our volunteer work, some of it because we do it together,” Betty said. “Sometimes, there’s a squeaky wheel and one of us has to oil the other one up, (but) we do get it done and we just love it.”
Those speed bumps notwithstanding, Lloyd and Betty were honored Nov. 12 by the Schuyler Sertoma Club with its annual Service to Mankind Award, given to those who have provided so much to the community. The Brichaceks meet that in spades. Lloyd and Betty are key cogs to the Schuyler Historical Society, as Betty serves as treasurer and Lloyd works on projects and maintenance in both the society’s museum and annex.
They provided help during the flooding in March, with the couple hosting a pair of support groups from Western Michigan. They also take time out each month to send people to Winnavegas Casino Resort in Sloan, Iowa through the Schuyler Senior Center. While the pair no longer works full-time, they still take plenty of time out to help others.
The Brichaceks were nominated for the award by Lori Kracl and Kevin Beune, both past presidents of the local club. Each raved about the couple’s hard work to make Schuyler what it is through their volunteer initiatives.
“Nowadays, it’s so hard to get people to volunteer,” Kracl said. “It is such a joy that they do. In March, when we had the flooding, they were very instrumental in the convoy that came. They’re sincere (and) they wanted to help. That’s part of why we felt they deserved something like this.”
Their kindness and willingness to help others was another key reason why Kracl and Beune said they felt compelled to nominate them. Indeed, when Beune came to town more than a decade ago, among the first people that he met were Lloyd and Betty Brichacek.
“They’ll tell you how it is, but in a good way,” Beune said. “I remember that they were (some) of the first people I met when I came to town 16 years ago. (They) pretty much started talking to me like I lived here for a few years.”
The Brichaceks were surprised that they were the ones who received the award.
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“It was a great shock to receive an award like this,” Lloyd said. “We never had in mind we would ever be getting it.”
Betty said that the two of them feel the need to give back due to just how much the community gave to them when they had been in the auctioneering business. The preservation of the community through the museum and Historical Society, the helping out of others during the flood, the trips to Winnavegas, all of that helps bring back so much more.
“Now, it’s our time and our turn to help someone else out,” Betty said.
It’s all about giving back to their home, the place that they have called their own for so many years. In a biography given to guests as they came into the ceremony, the Brichaceks were referred to as an asset to the community. A message from Mayor Jon Knutson, who did not make it to the ceremony, backed that up.
“Schuyler is very fortunate to have citizens such as you,” Knutson said in a letter read aloud at the ceremony. “It is my hope that others recognize your service to people and follow your example.”
The Brichaceks take pride in making people’s lives a little bit better each day. Indeed, their service to Schuyler and to mankind can be something that anyone can take pride in.
“It’s home,” Lloyd said. “We’ve lived here all our lives.”
“It’s where all of our friends are, all of our acquaintances are,” Betty said. “We do all of our work in Schuyler. It is our town and we need to support it so that it remains as our town.”
Zach Roth is a reporter for the Schuyler Sun. Reach him via email at email@example.com.