Krodel honored as distinguished citizen


HUNTINGBURG — Tom Krodel explained what winning the Lincoln Heritage District Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizen Award meant to him.


“You know when you’re younger, you dream, you set goals, you go to work, and you accomplish things,” he told a crowd of 370 people at Wednesday night’s award ceremony at the Huntingburg Event Center. “I have to admit, this was nowhere on this ol’ boy’s radar screen. I’m very, very humbled to receive this.”

A lifelong resident of Dubois County, Krodel is a graduate of Jasper High School, St. Joseph College in Rensselaer, and Northwestern University’s National Graduate Trust School. He has worked at Old National Bank for the past 37 years, now serving as president of the Jasper region, which includes Dubois County, Orange County and surrounding area.

Krodel is the 27th recipient of the award. As he sat on the stage next to his wife, Phyllis, he was saluted with personal stories and words of congratulations from his daughters Brooke Higginbotham, Erin Huther and Meredith Krodel; Jim Sandgren, president and chief operating officer for Old National Bank; and his friend, Andy Welsh.

His daughters praised him and their mom for the life lessons they were taught, and how they lovingly dote on their three grandchildren: Evelyn, Caroline and Carter. Meredith shared one of the life lessons Krodel learned from his parents.

“For instance, when dad was little, he learned a very important life lesson from our grandma. When dad was in a grumpy mood, Grandma would make him either flush Mr. Grouch down the toilet or lock Mr. Grouch up in the bookcase.” The room laughed and clapped while Krodel put his head in his hands in embarrassment. “By doing this, Grandma taught Dad that he is in control of not only his mood, but his mindset,” Meredith said.

Welsh said he asked Krodel what he thought about getting this award. “He looked at me and said, ‘I don’t deserve it,’” Welsh recalled. “That’s exactly why, ladies and gentlemen, he does deserve the award.” Welsh then listed some of the many groups and organizations Krodel serves and has served.

Krodel is active with the Dubois County Community Foundation, American Red Cross Southwest Indiana Charter, Leadership Council 7 of Southwest Chapter American Red Cross, French Lick CDE Governing Board, Indiana Statewide CDC Southern Loan Committee and Mid-State Corridor. He serves as the Memorial Hospital Foundation Board’s treasurer, Regional Impact Fund vice chairman, Riley Children Hospital Foundation’s county coordinator and Deerwood Club Inc. Board’s president. Krodel has served as president of the Dubois County 4-H Council and the Jasper Optimist Club; he has also coached youth sports teams in the area.

“We can live our lives serving ourselves,” Welsh said, “or we can live our lives serving others. That’s what Tom has chosen to do.”

Sandgren said Krodel is very passionate about his work associates and the people he serves through Old National and in the Dubois County Community.

“And I got to know early on about this ‘passion,’ we’ll call it. If he felt the company was making a decision that had maybe a negative impact on one of his associates or one of his clients, he would get ‘passionate,’” Sandgren said, chuckling. “Translated: loud, vocal and borderline belligerent. We now affectionately call those Tom’s rants or mini rants.”

Sandgren mentioned that Krodel deep fries turkeys and makes a Thanksgiving dinner he shares with all of his associates in his region.

“That’s the kind of guy Tom is,” he said. “He cares deeply about his associates, his clients.”

Both Sandgren and Welsh mentioned the 100 Men Who Cook fundraiser Krodel started in Dubois County. The three events held so far — in 2014, 2016 and 2018 — have netted more than $600,000 for local organizations.

“If you really want to show your appreciation to him and honor him, each and every one of you, please, pick a charitable organization” to help, Welsh said. “If you don’t have the money, donate your time. Do something. Get involved.”

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, the evening’s keynote speaker, emphasized in his talk the importance of faith, family and community in a person’s life.

“If you’re guided by a great community with individuals that set the stage, organizations like the Boy Scouts, you develop that inherent ability to navigate through life,” he said. “Kudos to the Boy Scouts; wonderful organization. Kudos to Tom Krodel and all those who preceded him. And kudos to the community that makes it all worth while.”

Krodel thanked many people in his community for teaching him the values he cherishes and follows throughout his life.

“I consider this an award that may have been won by one man, but it’s earned and shared with many of you sitting in this room tonight,” he said. “Because no man is an island. It takes a village, and you people are it.”

Krodel also encouraged the Scouts who were present to pursue Eagle Scout status, which is something he regrets that he didn’t go after.

“To this day, that bothers me,” he said. “So my advice to you, young men, is go for it. The worst thing you can do is not get it, but at least try. Don’t do nothing, because that’s not the answer.

“One thing a mentor told me early in my life, and I’ve kept this one close to my heart,” Krodel said, “if you’re afraid to fail, you will never succeed.”

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