Red Wing High School recently honored two men for their contributions to the growth and development of student-athletes within the community. Dave Grunzke and Dave Glover were the 2009 recipients of the "Winger Pride" Distinguished Service Award.
Grunzke symbolized the YMCA to many in his 29 years of service, while Glover has worked extensively with Special Olympics programs.
Glover began working with the Special Olympics program in 1978. He's since coached basketball, poly hockey, swimming, bowling, track and field, cross-country skiing and speed skating.
That foundation set the stage for more prestigious work within the Special Olympic community. He coached at the 1987 Internation Summer Games at Notre Dame. Glover served as a mentor for a Red Wing athlete in the Global Messenger Program in 1996. He was also one of five adults from Minnesota to attend the Athlete Leadership Training Programs in Atlanta, Ga., in 2002.
"The thing about Dave's involvement is he gives us such a high standard of excellence and insight," said Pam Bergeson, the Vice President of Special Olympics Minnesota. "He's committed to quality programs for our athletes, and is not only an extraordinary volunteer, but also a person who is respected and considered a friend by many volunteers, athletes and staff. We're lucky he's chosen Special Olympics as his passion."
Glover has spent the last 15 years in charge of the staging are at the Special Olympics State Summer Games, training 400 volunteers a year. He's served on the Special Olympics Minnesota Distinguished Service Awards Selection Committee for more than 10 years, chairing that group for eight years. He also started the Local Sports Management Team in Red Wing to oversee the Special Olympics programs within the community.
"As a parent of a Special Olympian, I want to say thanks for the gift of your time and your energy put in on behalf of my athlete and for all of the Red Wing athletes you have encouraged throughout the years," Steve Nelson said.
Grunzke joined the Red Wing YMCA in 1965 as Camp Program Director, a position he held until he retired in 1994. His focus was primarily on water activities, though he was also in charge of youth and adult basketball programs.
"Dave's title ... was Aquatics Director. That title didn't do justice to what he really did," Red Wing YMCA Associate Executive Director David Anderson said. "Not only was he responsible for all of the aquatics programs, he was responsible for the entire facility, building maintenance staff, the men's basketball league, snow removal, the annual facility maintenance week and assisted everyone else with all their programs and projects."
Grunzke founded the YMCA Swim Team and Parents Club, along with organizing and teaching swimming lessons to youth and adults. He was a water safety instructor, as well as a certified PADI scuba diver. He served as meet director for YMCA swim meets, YMCA Southwest Sectional swim meets and YMCA state swim meets. He also assisted in writing the rules and regulations for the state YMCA swim league.
Since retiring in 1994, Grunzke has driven the Red Wing boys and girls swim teams to numerous meets, including a handful of state appearances.
He's also involved in two golf leagues, raquetball, deer and turkey hunting, camping, and traveling.
"As if the demands of his job were not enough, he also always found time to give back to the community, and especially the swim community," said Mark Hennessy, former executive director at the Red Wing YMCA, " ... I know that if we could all be just a little bit more like Dave, this world would be a much better place."