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The recipients of the 2012 Spirit of MVL Award, held Nov. 17, at Turner Hall in New Ulm, were Mrs. Pat Meyer, Mr. Eric Woller, and Mr. Jerry Bentz.
Mr. Jerry Bentz has lived his entire life in southern Minnesota, earlier years in Gibbon and then relocating to New Ulm in 1973. He received his education from St. Peter Lutheran Grade school, Martin Luther High School, New Ulm, Dr. Martin Luther College, New Ulm, and Mankato Commercial College. He served our country for 31 years in the U.S. Army, including Active Duty, Army National Guard, and U.S. Army Reserves.Jerry has served on many Boards and committees for his church, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, and WELS Kingdom Workers, in addition to his work with MVL and the MVL Foundation. He served as MVL treasure for 5 years, Chairman of the MVL Foundation for 10 years, and Treasurer of the MVL Foundation for 13 years. He has shown guidance and direction to the annual MVL Veterans Recognition Program and been a guiding force to the leadership of MVL.
Eric Woller, a 1990 MVL Alumnus, spent most of his youth in Fairfax, where his father was Pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church. During his time at MVL, Eric served as class president and student body president, and participated in choir, Chargeliers, basketball and track and field. He still holds the school high jump record.
After graduation from MVL, Eric attended Bethany Lutheran College, and then attended Hamline to finish his Bachelors degree. Eric was inspired by his MVL chemistry teacher, Mr. Paul Willems, and elected to attend graduate school to study chemistry. He earned a Masters degree in chemisty from the University of Nebraska and returned to Bethany College to replace Cynthia Weberg, his college chemistry mentor. He finished his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Montana State University, and returned to Bethany to serve on the faculty and help develop a chemistry major. He has since served as chair of the faculty assembly, as chair of the chemistry department, and as chair of the Math and Science division at Bethany. Most recently he has served the college as Dean of Academic Affairs. President Dan Bruss, Bethany College, said about Eric, “He certainly has brought both his education, skills and spiritual-mindedness to the work he does for us.”
Pat Meyer began her teaching career at MVL in 1979, just as MVL was opening. She had prior business experience from her work at a local bank, and combined with her BA degree from Dr. Martin Luther College, she became the developer and designer of the business curriculum for MVL. And once it was determined which business classes MVL would be teaching the students, she became that teacher. She navigated the transition from IBM typewriters to Apple computers at a time when few schools were doing so, and even less teachers had the knowledge and skill set to do so. It has been said that she was “instrumental in making MVL a cutting edge school”.
There are many who have chosen to serve their Lord at Minnesota Valley Lutheran High School since its inception in 1979. These individuals represent just a few, but are true examples of service above self for the mission of MVL, to the glory of God.
Consider nominating a worthy recipient by completing the Spirit of MVL Nomination Form