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Ripple Effect Employee Award

The Ripple Effect is given to the employee who is truly passionate about giving back and encompasses “No one can help everyone, but everyone can help someone”. For every hour that the employee volunteers, they are entered into the drawing for this award.

Nicole Utsch

2023 Q3 winner is…
Heather – Commercial Loan Officer – Sauk Rapids

Every individual has their own passions and how you engage yourself with them allows you to expand your self-awareness and fulfillment with those activities. Heather personally finds that smaller community involvement and support are where she discovers the most value. She takes pride in her role as a leader of the youth baseball organization, Clear Lake Area Youth Baseball Association (CLAYBA).

Through CLAYBA, she promotes the opportunity for young individuals to experience the sport of baseball, learn the fundamentals and skills that enable them to develop their natural abilities, and instill values of teamwork and accountability.

For her, the opportunity to serve her community by sharing her time and energy is intrinsically rewarding. That’s why she is also an active member of the Clearwater Lions Club. In this role, she not only builds meaningful relationships but also contributes to the betterment of the community in which families work, live, and enjoy life.

While Heather finds immense fulfillment in empowering youth and supporting local communities, she doesn’t stop there. She seeks to connect all these individual pieces in a meaningful way and has taken on the role of a part-time volunteer student teacher as part of the Junior Achievement Program. Junior Achievement provides essential knowledge to young people in the areas of financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. This program not only resonates with Heather’s core values but also aligns with her profession, allowing her to witness how students learn in the classroom, apply their knowledge to everyday life, and contribute to community growth through their entrepreneurial endeavors.

Thank you, Heather, for the hard work that you do for our community. 


More About Heather

What do you enjoy most about being a volunteer?
The opportunity to work with others from different backgrounds, learning their story and hearing their perspective has been rewarding. As it has provided me with insight, allowed me to develop a stronger sense of self-awareness and it has opened my mind to focus on what I can do for others. I feel that volunteering is an authentic way to create a positive change in the community.

Why is volunteering important to you?
As I am sure many can relate, there have been times in my life where I was in a position where the compassion and kindness of another carried me through the days the light didn’t shine as bright. Their selfless acts made a difference in my life then and still have, all these years later. Taking the initiative to carry forward and share those same selfless acts with others today aligns with my core values and allows me to serve in ways some cannot.

Besides volunteering, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
You will often find me on the sidelines or in the bleachers supporting one of my five incredible children, who are all active in various programs. Personally, I am an adventure seeker and enjoy spine-tingling activities, so in the short stints between seasons starting and ending we do manage to find time together, where we pack up and head off on an adventure exploring and making memories together.

See how Great River Gives Back!