By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN Derek Schansberg of Delano is the type of person everyone loves to have around.
“He’s a guy you can call and he’ll help out,” said Jeff Vanderlinde, who has known Derek for 30 years.
“Derek’s been a friend of mine for a long time,” Vanderlinde said. “We grew up together.”
Derek, who graduated from Delano High School, is happy to be living in his hometown.
“It’s a good community with good schools,” Derek said. “Everybody knows your name.”
Name recognition is especially true in Derek’s case, partly due to his extensive involvement in local activities.
The Lions Club, Citizen Emergency Response Team (CERT), Ducks Unlimited, and a professional barbecuing team called “Shiggin & Grinnin” are a few of the groups Derek enjoys.
He’s also a member of the Delano Tiger Athletic Booster Club, which has its annual Texas Hold’em tournament Friday, Feb. 26 at the Delano American Legion.
“He does a lot of volunteering,” Vanderlinde said.
Derek also coaches hockey for his son, Cole, and daughter, Julia. In the fall, he coaches Cole’s third and fourth grade football team, plus a fifth and sixth grade team.
Cole, 10, and Julia, 12, also like to play baseball and softball, so Derek has coached those teams, as well.
Julia recently tried lacrosse, but her father hasn’t tried coaching that sport yet.
“If she keeps going, maybe I’ll start that, too,” he said.
When Derek was in school, he participated in as many sports as he could, so he wanted to give his children the same opportunity.
“It’s good exercise, and it teaches leadership skills,” Derek explained.
In high school, Derek was in wrestling, football, and track. He also ran track in college at St. Thomas.
Running isn’t his favorite pastime, however.
“I did a marathon six years ago and I hated it,” Derek said. He ran the 26.2-mile Twin Cities marathon to “cross it off his list,” but isn’t eager to try it again.
“It wasn’t that fun,” he said.
Instead, Derek has taken up triathlons. For training, he wakes up at 5:15 a.m. to swim at the indoor pool in Delano. During the day, Derek works as a mortgage officer at PHH Home Loans in Plymouth.
Getting up early to swim keeps Derek’s evenings free to spend with his family.
“We try to eat dinner together at least four or five times a week,” he said.
Derek has been married to his wife, Sandy, for 16 years. Sandy grew up in Loretto and went to college in Mankato. She now works for Kraft Foods in Eden Prairie as a CCM coordinator.
When she’s not working, Sandy enjoys making creative memory books for her children and nephews.
Sandy and Derek both have one brother and one sister. With the exception of Sandy’s brother, who lives in St. Paul, all of their siblings live in Delano.
One benefit of living in Delano is the friendliness of the people, Derek said.
“On summer evenings, people leave their garage doors open and you can go over and have a beer together and talk,” he said.