Don Sanderson was enjoying a quick lunch his wife Suzanne had brought to his office on Friday when several members of the New Ulm Farm City Hub Club interrupted him.
They âas members of the club’s Service to Ag selection committeeâ came to surprise Don by announcing that he is this year’s recipient of the club’s Service to Agriculture award.
Don protested that there are others more worthy âbut the members of the club did not hear him. They told him he could help find them and honor them next year, when he will be a member of the selection committee as the recipient of the award.
Don has worked hard for the club since joining, shortly after moving to New Ulm from Iowa.
Don will be recognized at a club summer / social picnic on Tuesday July 27 at Hermann Heights Park in New Ulm. The Service to Ag recipient is usually honored at the club’s annual meeting in January, but that had to be canceled this year.
Sanderson remembers attending his first club meeting, when the club was in crisis and the remaining members were considering disbanding. While Don spoke to these members, he explained how he turned a financially troubled town party in Story City, Iowa.
The next day, club member Jim Thomas asked Sanderson to consider becoming club president.
âI didn’t want to take this road anymore. I thought I had the capacity, but I had just started a new agency here and I was new to the community. I negotiated with Jim, I asked him to be president for a year, to find a first vice-president and I would be second vice-president â. Sanderson remembers. “I told him if the club wasn’t dead in two years I would take it over.”
Sanderson became president of the Hub Club in January 2011 and has installed an organizational structure with event managers and public relations and events directors.
Don’s biggest contribution to the club, however, has been as chairman of the club’s annual Farm Show. After serving on the committee, Don assumed leadership in 2015 and has built the show every year through hard work, excellent communication, and close collaboration with the show committee.
With his involvement in the Hub Club, Don has chosen not to join other community organizations. He explained, âIn Story City, I was in everything – Lions, House, and more. I found that most of the time I was not doing my own business. When I got here I said I would do one thing I am passionate about and do it right. This is the Hub Club. They understood everything, rightly or wrongly.
Fortunately for the New Ulm Farm City Hub Club, Don’s passion has been an asset to the organization and, in particular, its agricultural show. He has managed to reconcile his work as a State Farm agent with his passion for farming and the club. In his agency, Don works with many farmers, helping them protect their farms, homes, cars and more.
When not working or helping the Hub Club, Don enjoys fishing in both winter and summer.
Don and Suzanne travel a lot, both on State Farm trips, as well as to see their children and grandchildren who are scattered around. Jason and his wife Carrie live in Story City, Iowa; Aaron and his wife Donna in Jasper, Georgia; Ty in New Ulm, and John and Trisha in Roland, Iowa. Staying with five grandchildren and two great grandchildren keeps the Sandersons busy.
Don grew up in Council Bluffs, Iowa, graduated from the University of Iowa, served in the Navy in Viet Nam, and held several jobs before joining State Farm Insurance in 1977 in Story City. After taking over the management of State Farm in Des Moines, Iowa, in 2000, Don came to New Ulm and established his own agency in 2006.