Sarah Stultz: Chamber director’s kindness will live on 

Published 10:00 pm Monday, November 27, 2017

Nose for News, By Sarah Stultz

I think it’s safe to say that people across Albert Lea were as shocked and saddened as I was Thursday to learn that Randy Kehr, Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce’s executive director, had died after battling cancer since July.

Randy was one of those people who seemed invincible in my eyes, after already beating previous bouts with cancer. I never once heard him complain; instead, he always wanted to look for ways to give. Even in the middle of the  weeks of chemotherapy he endured, I remember his wife, Ellen, telling me their goal was to get back where they belonged — working for the community. How many of us can say when we’re sick or down that our main goal is to get back to serving the community?

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But that’s who the Kehrs have been.

When I think of the meaning of compassion, their faces come to mind. I have seen them involved in many different efforts in the time I’ve lived in the community.

Randy taught many people many things — both during his time at work in Albert Lea and during his battle with cancer.

He was a person who wasn’t afraid to give a compliment and who, in my opinion, went out of his way to cheer others’ spirits.

I was privileged to work with Randy many times over the years, most recently on the chamber directory that the Tribune designed and laid out for the chamber in September.

This was before he went on an indefinite medical leave and was still working — sometimes from home and sometimes from his office. 

I was elated to hear after a scan in the first half of October that Randy’s cancer was gone and he was preparing for a stem cell transplant.

Though I recognized the transplant process would be tough, things seemed so hopeful.

Though I am one of hundreds  and probably even thousands who wish the outcome would have been different, I, for one, am grateful for the lessons I have learned from his journey.

I know I have been motivated, and I hope others who knew Randy will be motivated to action by his example. Whether that is to get involved in public office, a leadership opportunity or simply as a volunteer, help to strengthen the community in whatever way you can. Many small deeds combined can make a big impact.

And as Randy did, always put forth your best effort in whatever you do.

His legacy will continue on through your service.

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Tuesday.