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Brian Radke named Chamber's volunteer of the year

The Hastings Chamber of Commerce recently named its volunteer of the year: Brian Radke, a certified public accountant at Radke & Mohrhauser. He was selected because of the length of time he's dedicated to volunteer work in Hastings as well as the variety of programs he's volunteered with, said Chamber President Michelle Jacobs.

"Brian's been very active in the Hastings community," she said.

For eight and a half years, Radke has been involved in the annual Gobble Gait event for Hastings Family Service. He was a runner when he first got involved, he said, and was acquainted with one of the organizers, Jay Kochendorfer. After running the race himself, he made a few suggestions to Kochendorfer about how to improve it, and was promptly invited to get involved himself.

Once he did, he, Kochendorfer and Mary Fasbender, the other organizer, found they could split duties according to their strengths. Fasbender could focus on working with the city and volunteers, Kochendorfer could handle the entertainment, and Radke, as an accountant, could manage the financial side of the event.

"It allowed the race to grow," Radke said.

Radke has also been intimately involved with the Little Raiders football program. His father started Little Raiders, he said, and he himself has been treasurer there for eight years. His son has gone through the program as well. The best part of that program, Radke said, is that they've been able to keep costs low. Meanwhile, the board members and volunteers do fundraising events themselves so the kids don't have to.

For six years he served on the Chamber of Commerce board, helping to bring more opportunities for people and businesses in Hastings to get together in new and interesting ways.

Radke helps with the Hastings Hockey Boosters as well. He has been coaching boys and girls hockey for the past eight or nine years.

"That's just fun because I love hockey," he said.

There are other things as well, such as helping out at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church and, years ago, serving on the Country Club board.

"He's certainly a very vital part of our community," Jacobs said. "He's a great asset."

Volunteering is something that comes naturally to Radke.

"What it comes down to is, that's how I was brought up," he explained.

In fact, his mother received the Volunteer of the Year award just four or five years ago. Now he's seeing his own children pick up the habit. They help out with Gobble Gait as well, and even look forward to the event each year as Radke does.

"That's the coolest part," he said.

Getting the award this year was a surprise - and an honor.

"You don't do things to get recognized," Radke said.

All the same, it's nice to see that what he's doing does make a difference for others, he said.