It is this "all over the place," helping the community wherever she
can, that makes her this week's personality.
Born in Fruitland,
Mo., which is near Jackson, Marty was the only child of Joe Robert
and Marie Hoffmeister. A graduate of Jackson High School in 1989,
Marty went on to earn degrees in ag journalism and ag economics from
the University of Missouri.
A farm girl, Marty was very active in 4-H, directing a lot of her
early activities to public speaking. While in college, she was the
state's national 4-H ambassador. An experience back in 1994 is one
that Marty enthusiastically wanted to share. Backpacking across
Germany, she lived with seven
different families during a visit across the ocean. She said it was a great growth experience:
constantly meeting new people, learning new schedules and new foods
as well. Ahrends had a chance to view wind farms long before they
became a source of debate and fruition in Logan County, having a
chance while in Germany to climb up into one of the country's wind
turbines to get a sense of how large they are.
After graduating from college, Marty worked for a time for Dow
AgroSciences in Bloomington. It was while living in Bloomington
that she met her husband, Les, who now works for Spraying Systems
Inc. Marty laughs when she says she met her husband at the Fairbury
Fair. She and Les now have two children; Joe is in fifth grade and
Caroline in kindergarten at Zion Lutheran School.
In December of 2002, Ahrends took a position at ALMH and
currently is the executive director of community development for the
Abraham Lincoln Healthcare Foundation. Explaining her job in a few
sentences, Ahrends said: "I help people turn their philanthropic
dreams into a reality. I match a person's visions with the right
When word spread around ALMH that Marty was going to be our
Personality of the Week, Dolan Dalpoas, president and chief executive officer of ALMH,
wanted to comment on Marty's efforts. "Abraham Lincoln Memorial
Hospital and the Abraham Lincoln Healthcare Foundation are fortunate
to have someone as talented as Marty Ahrends helping them to fulfill
their mission," he said.
Although Ahrends keeps herself busy with her job, she still makes
time to get involved in several other community organizations.
Several people offered the comment about Marty on how highly
organized she is and thus she can accomplish more than most others.
It is this organizational skill, coupled with communication skills
and a passion for whatever she does that had many community
individuals offering up their praise for Marty.
Besides using her talents at ALMH and ALHF, Ahrends helps several
other worthy endeavors. She is active with Zion Lutheran School and
church fundraisers. But she has also taken time to help the school's
speech team students learn the passion for public speaking that she
learned growing up. Ahrends understands how speaking skills
developed at an early age can help a young person throughout their
life. "When you give them a script and something clicks, you can
just see them blossom," she said.
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Ahrends is an active, involved member of Rotary and received kudos
from Michelle Bauer on behalf of the membership: "Marty is a strong
member of this community because she is passionate about what makes
Lincoln great: strong family, great education, compassionate health
care and service above self."
If Ahrends didn't have enough to do, she recently became involved
in local politics, and she said she thoroughly enjoyed being a
co-chair of the Keith Snyder mayoral campaign. "I walked through the
neighborhoods of Lincoln during the campaign, and it gave me a much
better feel for the community," she said.
And, having a feel for this community is something Ahrends
appreciates as she works to help create economic growth in Lincoln.
Ahrends, like many community-involved leaders, is active in the
Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce. A member of the executive
board, Marty is bullish on the future of Lincoln and Logan
County. "We have a great human resource potential here. We need to
try new things and take risks. With no risks we can't win big,"
Although Ahrends is quick to volunteer to help wherever needed,
she laughed about how she became co-chair of the Lincoln Art Fair
associated with the balloon fest. "Rick Hamm and I went to a meeting
and we both had several suggestions, and so they made us co-chairs
of the event," she said.
Hamm agreed with Marty on how they came to work together on the
art fair, but he had more high praise to place on his co-chair's
efforts than just being drafted for the job. "I have never seen
anyone more organized than Marty," he said. "She can have more balls
in the air than anyone I know, and she never gets frustrated or
flustered. She has a real calm spirit that makes everyone
comfortable around her. Marty is so involved in the community and
her family, her two kids. I don't know how she has managed that
We are not sure either. But Marty Ahrends, devoted to family,
church, school as well as her job, brings that calm, passionate
balance to everything she does every day of the year. That's what
makes her LDN's choice for this week's Personality of the Week.