Helping community, neighbors just ‘the right thing to do’

Published 8:11 am Thursday, December 7, 2017

By Roger Boughton


Today, I share with you the story of Belita Schindler.

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She and her late husband Richard moved to Austin 45 years ago. They had four children.  Her first position upon arriving in Austin was at Robbins Furniture and Design Store where she worked for six years.

Later she ran her own interior design business for 25 years while her husband practiced medicine at the Austin Clinic.

Belita often says that we are a product of our parents which in her case her mother was a stay-at-home mom and her dad worked in a dental lab. Her father was exceptional at building things and always looking around the corner to create something new.

While growing up in Fargo, North Dakota, far from the ocean, her dad built a submarine in their garage and tried it out in a lake in northern Minnesota. It was a success!

After each success he got bored and moved on to a new challenge. Her parents raised five daughters three of whom make their home in Austin.  Belita was born with a knack for art which led her to creating and opening an interior decorating business in their home. From her parents she obtained the bent for risk-taking and an entrepreneur spirit for trying new experiences.

Belita Schindler of Austin is excited about the future of the Paramount Theatre. Photo provided

She also inherited from her parents the spirit that said let’s dig in and get the job done whether it is in her home or in the community helping others.  Through the years she has been heavily involved with the Hormel Historic Home, the Riverland Community College Foundation as a board member, the Austin Area Foundation, Austin Rotary and the Austin Area Commission for the Arts.

Belita also sings in the choir and plays the organ at St. Augustine Catholic Church. When winter approaches and the snow begins to fall she has a special place in her heart for those in the community who like to cross country ski at the Nature Center.  She and her late husband are responsible for the program for affordable family cross country skiing at the Nature Center.

However, her passion is for the Paramount Theater and what it can become in the future.  Her eyes light up as she shares her vision for a larger theater that includes elevators to transport people from the ground floor to the second floor, a green room for the actors and entertainers and bathrooms to accommodate the many people that will enjoy the wonderful entertainment that comes to the community.

I asked Belita what drives her to work so hard for others?  She readily responds that it is the right thing to do.

She goes on to say that we who live in Austin care about our neighbors!  We care if they are OK or need a helping hand. Belita is one of those “special” people that give of themselves to the community so that the rest of us can enjoy Austin, Minnesota and call Austin our home!

An unsung hero is Belita.

Unsung heroes are those who make a difference in the shadows of the community.  They are those “special” heroes who make the non-profits hum, the charities flourish and the small businesses prosper. I’ll be sharing with you some stories from those heroes that will inspire you.