Hepler receives Eagles’ humanitarian award

Published 7:04 am Friday, December 16, 2011

Todd Hepler, center, receives the Austin Eagles’ first humanitarian award from former Eagles President Doug Bathke, left, and current Eagles President Craig Byram. Byram and Bathke surprised Hepler while he was on his break at Hy-Vee Thursday afternoon. -- Matt Peterson/matt.peterson@austindailyherald.com

Every day, people in Austin are doing good things without giving a second thought — people like Todd Hepler, manager of Hy-Vee.

That’s why he was taken by surprise when he discovered he was paged to the front of the store on Thursday, only to find out he was receiving a humanitarian award from the Austin Eagles Club. It’s the first year the club has given such an award, of which former Eagles president and current member Doug Bathke thought would be a good idea because the club’s motto is “people helping people.”

“It’s kind of a year-round thing that Hy-Vee and Todd has started,” Bathke said about the store giving back to the community. “And that’s why we’re acknowledging him as the first recipient of the award.”

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Because of Hepler’s efforts like donating food and time, educating the public and now running the feed-a-family program, Bathke and current Eagles President Craig Byram presented Hepler with a plaque to hang in the store Thursday afternoon.

“I’m not used to people telling me what to do in my own store,” Hepler jokingly said about being urgently paged to the front.

But he accepted the award graciously, giving more credit to the roughly 400 Hy-Vee employees.

After sharing a few words with the Eagles members, Hepler said “It just makes me want to do more now.”

Hepler was just speaking with his employees about the feed-a-family program on Wednesday, when it raised $1,300. That program will provide 717 Christmas dinners for locals. The dinners will be distributed next Wednesday.