SWIF bestows Raymo with awardWORTHINGTON — On Monday, Greg Raymo’s office at First State Bank Southwest was filled with black balloons, streamers and confetti — decorated by bank staff for his 50th birthday.
By: Beth Rickers, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — On Monday, Greg Raymo’s office at First State Bank Southwest was filled with black balloons, streamers and confetti — decorated by bank staff for his 50th birthday.
But that natal milestone was just the most recent cause for celebration in the Raymo family. There have also been two engagements, the birth of a first grandchild — and Greg being named as the recipient of the Southwest Initiative Foundation Award.
The SWIF Award has been presented annually since 2000 to individuals, businesses or organizations that personify the foundation’s mission. Headquartered in Hutchinson, SWIF is a regional community foundation dedicated to leadership, relationship building, program development and philanthropy in southwest Minnesota. More than $43 million has been contributed to southwest Minnesota through SWIF grant and loan programs.
Greg first became involved with SWIF when he and wife Barb and their family lived in their hometown of Madison, and he continued with SWIF-related activities when they moved to Worthington 12 years ago. As executive vice president and a shareholder at First State Bank Southwest, Greg feels SWIF plays a key role in facilitating economic and social growth throughout the region.
“Barb and I have given to the foundation for many years, just because of the impact.” Greg noted, “… Of all the organizations I’ve worked with over the years, I feel that this is the organization that’s had the biggest impact on southwest Minnesota as a region.”
as as chairman of the SWIF Loan Advisory Committee. He has also served on the Designated Fund Board, participated in the Community Experience Partnership, is a charter member of the Worthington Early Childhood Initiative Coalition and is currently a SWIF Ambassador. As a banker, Greg works with SWIF’s economic advancement and loan programs to provide services to area business owners.
He is particularly passionate about the importance of early childhood education.
“That’s our future customers here at the bank,” he explained, “and it’s been shown that an investment early in the lives of children pays huge dividends down the road. We sow the seeds for the future of our businesses.”
In addition to his SWIF involvements, Greg volunteers his time for many other community and regional organizations: Blandin Community Leadership Program, Community Advantage Leadership Program, Minnesota Bankers Association, Junior Achievement, Worthington High School business department, Worthington Regional Economic Development Corp., Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce, Nobles County HRA/EDA, the Center of Rural Economics, Sanford Regional Hospital Worthington Advisory Board and his church.
All of Greg’s accomplishments and activities — along with glowing tributes — were highlighted in a professionally produced pamphlet that was inside a sealed envelope marked “Do not open until told” at each table during the SWIF annual banquet on April 23 at Jackpot Junction in Morton. Greg admits to being flabbergasted and highly emotional when he realized that it was his bio being read as the recipient of the Southwest Initiative Foundation Award. The Raymos’ three children and his extended family were waiting in the wings for the announcement, and their sudden appearance heightened his emotional state.
“I don’t even know what I said,” recalled Greg, who recovered quickly enough to relate a story about when he moved to Worthington and became involved in local organizations. “I realized that we were having the same conversations that we had back in Madison. We all live in Southwest Minnesota, and we’re all dealing with fairly the same issues. How do we band together and fight this together? We need to come together, as a region, and the foundation helps to do that.”
In his impromptu speech, Greg managed some words of praise for his family, and wife Barb in particular.
“In order to be successful in your career, you’ve got to have a spouse who supports you. I called her ‘my rock,’” he related.
Greg also acknowledged his co-workers at First State Bank Southwest.
“This is really a tribute to all of us who work here,” Greg credited. “I can’t be active in these regional efforts without a lot of help from the people I work with.”
That appreciation is reciprocated by his colleagues.
“We’re very proud of him,” said First State Bank Southwest President Alvin Kooiman, “not just for the bank , but for the community. It’s a real honor. He’s been an extremely good employee — not just an employee, but he’s part of the senior management team. He’s just done a good job for the bank, for the whole region. Whatever he does, Greg does a great job.”
The SWIF Award includes a commissioned photographic print by Jim Brandenburg and $2,000 to be granted to the program or project of Greg’s choosing for the benefit of southwest Minnesota.