Detroit Lakes' LeRoy Squires is named 2011-12 Rotarian of the Year
"Service above self" is a motto espoused by Rotarians around the world -- and it's one that the Detroit Lakes Noon Rotary Club's 2011-12 Rotarian of the Year truly lives by.
From his days as a rescue firefighter with the United States Air Force, to recent efforts such as volunteering with the Rotary Club's annual blood screening program, LeRoy Squires has always been someone who innately understood the concept of giving back.
"The Lord has truly blessed me," Squires says by way of explanation for his enthusiasm when it comes to volunteering.
Even the produce that comes from his vegetable and flower gardens, apple orchard and vineyard is gladly shared with friends, family and fellow church members at Lund Lutheran in rural Detroit Lakes, where he has served as president of the church council for many years.
Though he was actually born in Mahnomen, Squires has lived much of his life in the Detroit Lakes area.
From running his own body shop -- first in partnership with his father, and then on his own -- to raising pigs, Arabian horses, cattle and chickens on two farms in the lakes area, Squires has worked hard for his success.
"We did everything ourselves," Squires said of the farm operation.
In fact, Squires, who at one point also operated a construction company, actually built his own custom-designed log home on an 80-acre spread just east of Detroit Lakes. He has lived in that home since completing it in 1997.
"I can just look down the hill outside my window in the morning and see turkeys, grouse, black squirrels, pileated woodpeckers," he said. "Last week I had some people from Emmanuel come out to see my field of wildflowers."
Besides gardening, Squires' other hobbies include making maple syrup, woodworking, restoring cars, deer hunting and fishing.
"I have a meat shop," he said, adding that much of the sausage, jerky, venison patties and other products he makes from deer meat are given away to friends and family as well.
A devoted Rotarian, Squires was the recipient of the local club's Distinguished Service Award in 1973. He went on to represent Detroit Lakes in the statewide competition, and was named one of Minnesota's "Ten Outstanding Young Men."
In addition to his work with Rotary, Squires is also a life member of the Detroit Lakes Jaycees, and served for 24 years as a volunteer firefighter with the Detroit Lakes Fire Department and on its Dive Rescue Team.
"Somebody's got to be there to help," he said simply, adding that he also served as president of the Detroit Lakes Fire Department Relief Association.
His service with the Jaycees also included a term as president of the Minnesota Jaycees (1974-75), and being a Jaycee statesman.
During his years with the Jaycees, Squires traveled all over the U.S., educating others on financial matters. He also developed the Family Life Program.
In addition, he has been a board member of the Friends of the Wetlands and chaired the Detroit Lakes city planning commission, Becker County planning commission, and the Industrial Development Commission (IDC).
While he was serving on the IDC, Squires was one of those who worked together to purchase the 640 acres that formed Detroit Lakes' first industrial park.
"Now, that park is almost full," he said proudly.
Being named as Rotarian of the Year was just the latest of several accolades that have come Squires' way for his service to others -- but it may have been the biggest surprise.
"They even brought my kids over to the Holiday Inn (for the ceremony) and kept them in one of the back rooms," Squires said.
Then, when his award was announced, sons David and Alan, and daughter Ann all came out to congratulate him.
"It was a real surprise," he said -- but a nice one.
Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.