Kiwanis Club vice president Allan Utecht (left) served as presenter of the Kiel Kiwanis 2008 Citizen of the  Year Award to recipient Mark Manz.
Kiwanis Club vice president Allan Utecht (left) served as presenter of the Kiel Kiwanis 2008 Citizen of the Year Award to recipient Mark Manz.
The city of Kiel has been on the Wisconsin map for quite a number of years but the lives of certain people who live in it highlight its standing among other communities in the state.

One of those people is Mark Manz who was honored last week by the Kiel Kiwanis Club naming him the 2008 Citizen of the Year.

Most folks know Manz as an outstanding runner who has garnered plenty of medals and accolades showcased in his dresser drawers and scrapbooks, and more yet to be earned.

Others know him because of his leadership as scoutmaster for Kiel Cub Scout Pack 3833.

Still others may know him as the store manager at K&M Piggly-Wiggly in Kiel.

That the Kiel Kiwanis Club decided to name him as its 2008 Citizen of the Year shows that the community does not have to wait for someone to grow old to receive recognition for one's contribution to the community. That younger people are being named to this distinction was alluded to at the 46th annual Kiel Kiwanis Club Citizen of the Year banquet held Oct. 28 at Millhome Supper Club where Manz was pleasantly surprised with the honor bestowed on him. He came to the event having been asked to give a talk to the Kiwanians on his role as Scoutmaster. Instead, he was joined by a number of family and friends who appeared from "nowhere."

Even though they appeared from nowhere, some of them came armed with things to say about Manz, chiding and complimenting him.

That Manz maintains a fast pace in life as well as in running is perceived by those acquainted with him. "He does nothing slowly, always spending a lot of energy; he even talks fast," said Mark Beitzel, Manz' boss at K&M Piggly-Wiggly, Kiel.

While customers note Manz' rapid speech and often remark, "What did he say?" The friendly store manager is often observed by very early risers such as sales and delivery people consistently running on surrounding roads in all sorts of nasty weather conditions. "Is that your store manager out there running?" is a question often heard by Beitzel who said they remark, "Is he nuts!?"

A man of trust

On a serious note, Beitzel said he and his wife Kay entrust their business to Manz because he is a person to be trusted. "It is a trust similar to that practiced by parents who entrust their kids to the care of Manz as a scout leader," he said. "He takes that trust and uses it in a positive way, helping young people succeed."

Manz' running coach Tony Grybush who has known Manz since 1989 when as a freshman at Kiel High School he went out for football kidded Manz for not having a football player's body. Many realized this soon enough and switched his interest to running. Grybush said Manz has achieved what he has because of his dedication to hard work and ability to focus. Grybush credited much of that success and strength as a runner to Manz' parents and brother Gary. Grybush traced Manz story of success from high school to the present which included running 120 miles a week in preparation for marathons. Manz ran his first marathon as a junior college student at the University of Wisconsin-Sheboygan and his second one, the Lake County Marathon in Illinois. Manz has run competitively in 15 states, and Australia through the Youth Sport Exchange. Qualifying for the Olympic trials placed Manz in a whole new level of dedication making him a role model to others. When Manz sustained an injury preparing for the trials, he sought the help of Grybush who praised him for doing so because runners often need someone on the outside looking in to critique them. Grybush confided that as Manz' coach even he looked up to him as a role model, asking himself, 'What can I do better as a coach?'

A leader guides, teaches and inspires many other people and Manz has done all that, said Eugene Loose who first became acquainted with Manz 12 years ago through the Kiel Scouting program. "Through scouting, running and his participation in the community he has affected people in so many ways," Loose said.

Manz and his brother Gary earned the rank of Eagle at a time when there was a 20 year gap when no Kiel Scouts went beyond Life Scout. "Reaching this milestone, has been a pacesetter in that area," Loose said.

Manz was active in several scouting adventures such as a Colorado high adventure trip, canoe and camping trips into the Minnesota boundary waters, and two national Jamborees.

Loose recounted how Manz is the 2006 recipient of the District Scout award for volunteerism named American Badge.

He applauded Manz' work in the Scouting program where he makes leaders of both parents and their children and how he makes the Scouting program attractive throughout the whole year by organizing a multitude of sequential activities, never permitting the program to become dormant. Manz lives the ingredients of the Scout Law exhibiting trustworthiness, loyalty, helpfulness, courtesy, kindness, obedience, cheerfulness, thriftiness, courage and reverence.