Pete Lemmer is a man of many hats. By day, he serves as GreenStone Farm Credit Services' senior vice president and chief legal counsel, a position he has held since 2008. In his spare time, Lemmer can be found in the greater Lansing area helping area youths. It is his volunteer work in the community that earned him the distinct honor of being named a 2013 Phelps-Martin Award for Community Service winner by the Farm Credit Council (FCC).
"I am truly honored and humbled to accept this award," says Lemmer. "I have learned a tremendous amount about just how amazing the human spirit is when you give it a chance from these children, and I am grateful to all of the other volunteer coaches, and my family, who have helped make an impact in the lives of these young people."
"GreenStone encourages employees to get involved within their local area, and Pete is the epitome of an employee who engages with their local community," says GreenStone President and CEO, Dave Armstrong. "Pete's attitude and spirit are contagious, and they have driven other GreenStone employees to join him in his quest to impact the lives of area children and refugees."
Known simply as "coach" by many Lansing-area youths, Lemmer has been a mainstay in many area youth sports programs. After relocating to the capital region in the late 1990s, the former college athlete became involved with coaching several different youth teams including boys and girls basketball. The success of those programs led to his involvement with the Lansing Catholic School System where he helped start a track program for middle school aged kids.
Eventually, Lemmer began working with the refugee population in Lansing. He formed a team of refugee children from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe to participate side by side with American youth from local communities in a regular travel basketball program. Although many times there were several languages being spoken in the gym at any one time, the children were all able communicate through a smile and high-five.
In addition to interaction through sport, Lemmer has also introduced these children to Michigan agriculture. He has organized trips to various Breakfast on the Farm events around the state and has setup farm visits and tours where the groups have been given an up-close look at modern agriculture operations.
"I am fortunate to work for an organization that is committed to community service," Lemmer says. "In 2012, GreenStone employees completed more than 3,000 hours of volunteer work amongst a diverse group of organizations throughout Michigan and northeast Wisconsin, so thanks to all who serve."
Presented at the FCC's annual meeting in San Diego, California, Lemmer was one of three recipients of the Phelps-Martin Award for Community Service. As part of the award, he will also receive $1,000 to donate to the charity of his choosing.
The FCC board of directors created the Phelps-Martin Awards for Community Service in honor of two Farm Credit System (FCS) employees, the late Steve Phelps and Marsha Pyle Martin, and their lifetime contributions to the system and the communities they served. The awards honor their legacies by recognizing the FCS institutions and individuals who exemplify their commitment to community service.