Give back to your community and your community will give back to you. This is a life lesson that Brian Kuhnly learned as a student at Minnetonka High School and it has served him well.
Brian graduated from MHS in 1978 with some lasting memories from his time there. He credits Dick Fuller, his DECA teacher, with instilling a strong work ethic. "Mr. Fuller promoted the virtues of being dedicated and devoted. His advice has held true," explains Brian.
Brian has dedicated much of his career to the Cub Foods on Highway 7 and 101–more than 30 years! He also worked with the Excelsior Fire Department for 35 years. Both positions have allowed Brian the opportunity to serve the community, which is truly his passion.
Principal Larry Smith also had a lasting impact on Brian. Dr. Smith mailed two hand-written notes home to Brian's parents. The first commended Brian on his perfect attendance throughout his high school career. The second thanked him for putting out a "suspicious fire" that broke out in a girls' bathroom. Brian was studying nearby and grabbed a fire extinguisher to quickly douse the flames–perhaps igniting his interest in later serving as a fire fighter?
Brian is still inspired by Dr. Smith taking the time to reach out and to recognize him in a very meaningful way. "People need to take time to recognize others," says Brian, "and thank them for a job well done. It keeps them motivated and has a lasting impact."
In his role at Cub Foods, Brian has helped support countless community events and programs. These include: the brat stand, car washes, bagging groceries for tips, as well as donations to local fundraisers and events. He continues to support the Excelsior Fire Department as a reserve and as a member of the Excelsior Fire Fighter Relief Association where he has been a member for 35 years and treasurer for 30 years. Brian also serves on the boards for ICA Food Shelf and the Minnetonka Diamond Club.
Brian is motivated by the thanks and heartfelt appreciation he receives from people. "It's inspiring to see what people accomplish with our help. We have helped groups fundraise for mission trips, new school uniforms, feed the hungry and so much more. It's always something new, and I'm proud to be part of it," Brian adds.
This year, Brian is being honored by the Minnetonka Alumni Association with the Distinguished Service Award. The award recognizes significant volunteer service benefiting the greater good, philanthropic leadership or service to the Minnetonka Alumni Association.
When told of the award, Brian was speechless and a bit overwhelmed. "It's a thrill to know I've had an impact," he said. "It's great to be appreciated and this will be a lifelong memory."
What's next for Brian? He plans to stay involved in the community for as long as he is able, which is also his advice to other Minnetonka grads: "Wherever your life takes you, get involved in your community. Be part of others' lives and your community. If you invest in your community, it will invest in you."