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Meet Andrew Sternke
Human Resources Administration Representative, Sanford Health
Although he’s a busy father of five, Andrew Sternke has made it his goal to focus on others in the community. He’s working toward volunteering 10% of his time to benefit those around him.
“We are stewards of everything God has given us, and I have come to believe this also means our time,” says Andrew.
A little over 10 years ago, Andrew was putting in long hours as a retail manager, which took up most of his time.
“I wanted to be more others-focused and I didn’t feel like I had time to with the position I had,” Andrew says.
When the market took a downturn and Andrew lost his job, he realized it was his chance to start serving. His first opportunity to do so came when a tornado damaged the area where he lived in Minneapolis. With his two young children in tow, he went to help chop down branches while the kids picked up sticks.
“It was kind of a life change,” says Andrew. “The ability to help others lit a fire.”
He and his family moved to Sioux Falls in 2016 and soon got involved at their church. He leads the guest services team and he and his wife, Audra, lead a life group.
Their group of seven families volunteers throughout the year. They’ve helped clean up Camp Leif Erikson, delivered turkeys to families, prepared food at Kids Against Hunger, written thank you notes to teachers and nurses, and made beds for Sleep in Heavenly Peace.
Andrew and Audra are also marriage mentors. They’ve mentored seven engaged couples over the past three years.
“It takes being open and being vulnerable,” Andrew says. “It’s been a good experience for us.”
Some of Andrew’s favorite volunteer experiences involve cleaning up the grounds at local cemeteries and Camp Leif Erikson. He also likes being able to get his children involved in various service opportunities around the community.
Even though his schedule is busy, Andrew makes time to volunteer at his children’s school with the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), where he’s helped with science fairs, movie night and bingo.
“The whole thing is about inspiring community,” says Andrew. “Parents can meet and grow that community.”
Andrew began working for Sanford Health last fall as an employee service center representative. It was a rewarding position for him because he answered employee questions about benefits or payroll. He recently moved to the role of human resources administration representative.
The pandemic made it more challenging for his family to volunteer, but the Sternkes found creative ways to reach out.
“We took long walks and visited from across the driveway, and it bolstered peoples’ hearts to see the kids,” says Andrew. “We decorated our sidewalk and went to the school and did positive messages on the sidewalks there.”
Andrew is also a Kiwanis Club member and has served with the organization for many years, helping meet the needs of children in the community.
“So many organizations are looking for people who have a desire outside of self to do something for the community, and there’s so many different places you can go,” Andrew says. “You can be as busy as you want.”