• 70°

Albert Lea Hy-Vee recognized by Special Olympics

Athletes, coaches, families, sponsors and volunteers of Special Olympics Minnesota have been revealed as Special Olympics Minnesota’s 2016 champions and were honored at the organization’s annual Distinguished Service Awards.

According to a press release, the Distinguished Service Awards recognized people and organizations who have demonstrated incredible support, enthusiasm and time commitment to the organization.

Among those honored was Albert Lea Hy-Vee, which was named the Champion of the Outstanding Local Business category.

“I am honored to accept this award for the 276 Albert Lea Hy-Vee Employee owners.  One of which Kellen Kaasa has been an employee owner for more than 15 years,” Peter Streit of Hy-Vee said. “I would like to thank his parents, Tim and Dawn, for their part in his employment with Hy-Vee, they have dropped him off and picked him up before and after every shift for 15 years. They have always made sure he was ready for work and Kellen has come in every day with a smile and an attitude that brightens everyone’s day.  As a company embedded in the Albert Lea community for 38 years, I feel that it is important for our employees to represent the diversity of our community. Through inclusion and teamwork we are able to focus on people’s strengths and abilities to help to serve our customers the best way that we can. The Special Olympics is a wonderful opportunity to see different abilities and not focus on disabilities and is an inspiration to me and my team. I would like to thank everyone who volunteers their time, energy and financial resources to the Special Olympics.”

“I remember the day Kellen came in for an interview, he was one hour early and he was ready for his interview,” Steve Shahan said. “I knew less than minute into the interview I wanted to hire him. His personality and attitude was exactly what Hy-Vee is looking for. Kellen has become an ambassador for Hy-Vee and the Special Olympics and is one of the best hires I have made in my career. Kellen has become a friend and was even an usher in my wedding. Kellen has a positive outlook and has never had a bad day, making everyone he comes into contact with smile and have a better day.”