Bert Lentz accepts her husband Mitch's Wall of Honor award from family friend Red Essig, as Mitch could not attend the award ceremony.  GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
Bert Lentz accepts her husband Mitch's Wall of Honor award from family friend Red Essig, as Mitch could not attend the award ceremony. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
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"We appreciate the service of past graduates and recognize the opportunities they made available to current students. The Wall of Honor is a connection to the past and represents the future," said Kingsland Superintendent John McDonald, addressing the audience gathered at the 2013 homecoming Wall of Honor ceremony, this year honoring former Kingsland School Board member Mitch Lentz, who could not be at the ceremony to accept his award.

McDonald listed the alumni of the district who had been honored in years past, beginning with Home Federal founder John Osterud in 2008, followed by educator Irene Warren, Terry Therneau, Dr. Henry Plummer, federal judge Donovan Frank, and this year, Lentz.

"Mitch has been a school board member for 16 years, and he was chair during his time on the board. There's no more important role in a school district than the school board - he served the educational community for well over 16 years, and he always did what was best for the kids," said McDonald. "He never lost sight of what was important."

The superintendent read a quote from Southeast Service Cooperative (SSC) Director Suzanne Riley, with whom Lentz worked as a SSC board member. "Suzanne Riley wrote, 'He is one of the greatest individuals I've had the opportunity to work with.' Mitch is always looking to serve, and he's never looking for recognition. He just does what's best for the kids. The names on the wall by the entrance...it will be a pleasure to stand and have him be a part of their company. He has moved mountains for our students and communities, and then he stands aside so that someone else's light can shine."

Red and Linda Essig shared how Lentz influenced their sons as they were growing up since Mitch was often a babysitter at the Essig household. Red first shared Lentz's community and career achievements, after which Linda stated, "You just heard about all his community involvement...but there's more to him. Our boys thought there was nothing he couldn't do. They thought that Mitch was Superman, and not only could he leap tall buildings, but he could carry them on his back. In fact, when our younger son got engaged, he went to Mitch's farm first to tell him that he'd found the girl he wanted to marry. Now, our son, Jason, is a mentor and good friend to one of Mitch's sons. It's said that it takes a village to raise a child, and Mitch has been a big part of our village."

McDonald then presented Lentz's wife, Bert, with his plaque and thanked her for accepting it in his stead, then read a statement that Mitch sent while away on business for IBM. "I'm very sorry I can't be with you. I'm very grateful and humbled. I'd like to thank the Kingsland Public Schools for the nomination and for allowing me to be part of a great school and community."

Lastly, McDonald thanked the audience for sharing in the 2013 Wall of Honor ceremony and encouraged them to go out and enjoy the homecoming festivities, including the football game and music.