Since 1970, the Telegraph Herald First Citizen Award has honored and celebrated men and women who have given of themselves to serve their community and make the Dubuque area a better place in which to live, work and play.
Recipients have been philanthropists, volunteers and servant leaders. The 2022 First Citizen Award recipient, John Schmidt, is all three.
Anyone who has ever been involved with a fundraiser alongside Schmidt knows he brings to the table a wealth of skills, thoughtful contemplation and an all-in attitude.
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When we talk about outstanding leaders in the area of philanthropy, it often is boiled down to the giving of time, talent and treasure. Again, Schmidt fills the bill with all three.
Giving money is one thing, but Schmidt uses his humble approach and his ability to speak passionately about the issues he cares about to compel others to support those efforts, raising money and awareness for local nonprofit organizations. The beneficiaries have included Holy Family Catholic Schools, Loras College, Stonehill Franciscan Services, Steeple Square, Greater Dubuque Development Corp., Dubuque Racing Association, Optimists Club, Dubuque Community Y and Dubuque Museum of Art.
Talk with those who have worked with Schmidt in business or on nonprofit boards, and they will tell you that he knows how to get things done. You will hear words like “humility” and “insight” come up. As one nominator described him: “He is direct and concise at implementing systems that provide clear direction and substantial impact. He is consistent and calm, leading from behind and allowing others to shine.”
Talk to Schmidt about his body of work, and the word that comes up most is “community.” He believes fervently in doing his part to make the greater Dubuque community the best it can be and encouraging others to step up and do their part as well.
It was nearly two years ago that we mourned the passing of another First Citizen Award recipient: Sister Helen Huewe. As a staunch supporter of the Steeple Square project, Sister Helen became an inspiration to many — including 2020 First Citizen Award recipient Judy Wolf, and Schmidt as well. No doubt Sister Helen would be proud to see others continuing to carry the torch she ignited and to see this honor bestowed on Schmidt today.
For his tireless efforts on behalf of the community, we are proud to add John Schmidt to the sterling honor roll of Telegraph Herald First Citizen Award recipients.
Editorials reflect the consensus of the Telegraph Herald Editorial Board.
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