July 16, 2007

Rieckenberg honored with Minneapolis Aquatennial award

By Karrah Anderson
Staff Writer

People aspire to do many different things in their lives that take them down different avenues and through various experiences.

When you pull back the layers of each of these journeys, you will find passion motivating each step – passion to become a doctor, passion to paint a masterpiece, and in Cathy Rieckenberg’s life – a passion to volunteer.

Captain Bob Cook of the Minneapolis Aquatennial presented the Commodore award to Rieckenberg for her outstanding volunteerism exhibited throughout her lifetime, especially within the community of Delano.

“I had no idea,” Rieckenberg said, “I heard them say ‘she has four children and has been very active in the Dollars for Scholars,’ and then they said my name. It is quite an honor.”

To receive this award, you must be nominated by a member of the community.

Rieckenberg was nominated by Bernie Kittock, due to her admiration for Rieckenberg’s participation in so many events and organizations in Delano.

Rieckenberg and her husband, Bob, raised their four children in Delano, and have been involved in many things over the years.

When her children were in school, Rieckenberg worked with Dollars for Scholars to raise money and awareness for the organizations. She also helped organize the all-night grad parties for each of her children. She worked closely with Ted May while he was principal.

Her church community has also been an arena where Rieckenberg has put a lot of time and energy. She started the first high school youth group at Light of Christ Church. Rieckenberg serves on different committees within her church and has taught Sunday school for many years.

Her accomplishments do not stop there. She served on the public health board for two years, where she helped raise awareness on specific health concerns by educating people within her community.

One of her most important and notable volunteer roles was her position on the Delano Royalty Organization. Rieckenberg served as head of the committee for more than 12 years and still offers her time to help out when it is needed.

“I really believe in the program,” Rieckenberg stated, “It’s a great opportunity for young women.”

Rieckenberg is very excited about the transformation of the program, and that it is continuing to exist in Delano.

During her time on the committee Rieckenberg transformed and updated the program as well, by creating a scholarship and also encouraging more family involvement.

Two of Rieckenberg’s daughters participated in the program. Her daughter, Stacey, was crowned Miss Delano in 1991 and her daughter, Amy, was a princess in 1993.

“Life is so fast-paced and busy,” Rieckenberg commented, “this program gave me the opportunity to be with my daughters.”

Rieckenberg is a strong advocate of the program through its installation of leadership skills, and its encouragement of females to be confident in who they are.

On top of her many volunteer roles, Rieckenberg works full time as an RN at a boutique called, “Underneath it All.”

This business specializes in creating female prosthetics, and helps women who have undergone mastectomies and other reconstructive surgeries.

Rieckenberg and her business partner, Lorraine Dressel, work hard to help women feel comfortable in their clothing, allowing them to build their confidence after going through such hard times.

“I want these women to feel good and have the opportunity to excel,” Rieckenberg explained. “They should be able to do their thing.”

Kittock received a mastectomy fitting from Rieckenberg, and also great advice.

When Kittock was feeling down due to her struggles with breast cancer, Rieckenberg encouraged her, telling her to spend time with the royalty girls – and it turned out to be the best medicine.

Kittock has since overcome cancer, and is now a member of the royalty committee. Rieckenberg touched Kittock’s life in many ways and multiple times, making Rieckenberg a perfect recipient for the Commodore’s award.

Rieckenberg remains active, working full time, while also spending time with her grandchild, and caring for a special needs boy in the evenings.

“I feel busier now than when my kids were at home,” she said with a laugh.

Her selfless giving has enriched her life – along with the lives of others she’s met along the way. Rieckenberg has allowed many women to feel strong, confident, and beautiful – a gift that cannot be bought for any price.

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