Longtime community volunteers and supporters of higher education, Kent and Karen Handel, were the recipients of the 2019 Viterbo University Saint John XXIII Award for Distinguished Service. They were recognized at a banquet and ceremony held at Viterbo University. The Saint John XXIII Award is the highest non-academic award bestowed by Viterbo University. Recipients are chosen on the basis of contributions in one or several of the following categories: education, business, philanthropy, peace and justice, and religious life.
Kent and Karen Handel believe it is very important for everyone to use their time, talents, and financial resources to better their communities. They have lived this mantra through extensive volunteer service with numerous community organizations including Aptiv (formerly Riverfront), Riverland Girl Scouts, the La Crosse County Historical Society, the La Crosse Club, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater La Crosse, and Chileda. As President and CEO of Trust Point, Inc. Kent has implemented a culture of community service throughout the company. Trust Point employees have registered 4,000 volunteer hours with 90 organizations in La Crosse, Eau Claire, and the Twin Cities area. He believes this helps participants become better people and employees. The Handels are also supporters of higher education. Kent served as chair of the board of trustees at Viterbo University and Briar Cliff University. He remains an active member of the Viterbo board of trustees. He says higher education is about much more than academics. It is crucial to the development of the whole person.