With 29 years of experience working in education around Lodi, Lyle Hendrickson has been involved in a number of educational organizations, programs as well as staying actively involved in community events.
His track record of community involvement has made him this year’s candidate for the Lodi and Lake Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year Award. He’ll be honored Saturday, May 18 at the Lake Wisconsin Country Club.
“Very thankful to be in such a great community,” Hendrickson said. “It’s hard to put into words because there’s so many wonderful people in Lodi that do so much service and do so much for Lodi.”
Hendrickson has lived in Lodi for the last 30 years and worked as a seventh-grade math teacher for 19 years in the Lodi School District. He worked his way up to principal at Lodi Primary School, and most recently Lodi Elementary School. Hendrickson officially retired last year but that didn’t slow him down for long as he still works as a substitute teacher and is a member of the Lodi Parent Teacher Organization.
“I just love working with kids and being in a classroom is so much fun,” he said. “Free to help mold kids and help them be better academically but better people, too.”
As a member of the Lodi PTO, he runs the annual holiday gift shop, science fair and works to stay connects with the students every day.
Outside the school, Hendrickson participates in the Helen and Lyle Bohlman Daffodil and Community Beautification Fund planting, which dedicates the planting of 10 bulbs in memory of each individual member of the community who has died in the last year. He is also seen around participating in Susie the Duck Days, the Lodi Ag Fair, National Night Out and the Lodi Public Library’s annual Run Walk event.
While not an official member of all the organization that make these events happen, Hendrickson said he enjoys just volunteering for them and being a part of the community.
“I just like giving back to the community and making a positive difference in not only children’s lives but the community.”
He is also a founding member of the Lodi School District’s Blessings in a Backpack program, a program that’s a national nonprofit and works to get food to students in need over the weekend. Members of the district and volunteers supply over 50 students with bags of easy-to-make food so they will not go hungry.
Hendrickson said the bag they take home could be anything from soup to macaroni and cheese, pudding, cheese sticks and other food kid can eat through the weekend because they don’t get a hot lunch or a hot breakfast.
The program picked up a significant amount of interest in its first few months of its existence back in 2017, receiving thousands of dollars in donations from Big Gain Wisconsin, Lodi Optimist Club, Lodi Utilities and others.
“Blessings in a Backpack has really been great to know you’re providing the basic needs for kids and families,” Hendrickson said.
The program has recently partnered with Dekorra Lutheran Church and Hendrickson said he’s looking forward to building their relationship and volunteer opportunities.
As Hendrickson prepares to accept his award, he said he is grateful for the support he has received from his wife Chris, as well as his children Ahna and Grant Hendrickson. He said he’s thankful for all the support they have given him as well as from people around Lodi.
“I’m just very honored to receive this award and thankful to live in such a supportive community,” he said.